Sunday, April 19, 2015

More Than This by Patrick Ness Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Walker Books Ltd
Publication date: May 1, 2014
Pages: 480
Rating: 5/5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.

Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.

How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?

As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

OK, I thought this was going to be a Lovely Bones-like novel with heavenly explorations and all that, but after reading this... I'm not quite sure I can come up with a conclusion to what it exactly is. It's like I should believe in what the story wants me to believe, but then it could just be that - a story. A story of that certain situation that doesn't have to explain everything, but just sums up what is happening as of that moment.

Does that sound confusing? Well, for most of the book, I was confused, but wonderfully confused.

More Than This follows Seth, a boy who has just died from drowning, and is now living in what he thinks is hell built just for him. He is alone and distraught in the empty neighborhood where he grew up in, dead but still able to feel, sleep and dream. He doesn't know what he's supposed to do until he meets two companions, Tomasz and Regine, youths who've also died from similar causes. They seem to know more about the place more than Seth, theorizing that real life isn't real life, and this hell that they're in is the real real life.

Say WHAT?!

In their theory, people have chosen to live in an alternate reality online, where they are connected to wires and tubes that sustain them as they live inside coffins. They've done it to escape real life, but once they have entered the Lethe, the difference between real life and online becomes nonexistent.

Now I've gotta say, this theory seemed too impossible and unsupported for me, and Seth had some suspicions about it, too. How can everyone in real life possibly live online, when no one is left to care for them in real life, except for the Driver, a menacing, deathly and inhuman thing that travels in a black van. This is the part where it gets interesting

You won't know if what's being narrated is really the explanation, or if it's just what Seth is seeing in this version of the afterlife. You could believe that Seth's just telling his story while in hell. You could also believe that people have chosen the Lethe. However, it is constantly stressed in the book that Seth has suspicions about their theory and that Seth thinks it's all too convenient. At one point, he even thinks that he can think up what happens next. So it is possible that this is all just occuring in Seth's hell as he has died. 

It really makes you think hard.

But enough about that. I could go on for ages thinking about this book and still not come up with a conclusion. It's so confusing and terrifying, I love it. 

The story is out of the ordinary. I am amazed at the idea of worlds within worlds and worlds made of words (you'll know what I'm talking about if you read it). Twists are everywhere and revelations keep coming right and left. Typically, I'd be gripped by a fictional book about death and the afterlife, but More Than This exceeded my expectations. I am still gasping at how brilliantly crafted this book is. 

It's the kind of book you will not put down, and you will not stop thinking about it for a very long time. Trust me.

I quickly fell in love with the characters, especially with Tomasz, but Regine and Seth were equally a pleasure to read. The book gives a lot of narrations of Seth's life before he died, giving you glimpses of who he was and is, and at perfect timing. I felt like the slow release of Seth's story made it more intense. Your heart will break for Seth and for the other characters.

And the writing. GOSH, I am in love with Patrick Ness's writing in More Than This. I haven't read any of his other works but now I am planning to. It definitely adds to the overall essence of the story, and his writing style just fits in smoothly with the fast-paced, action-packed plot.

Words will never be enough to express how much I adore this book. Seriously, I am not worthy of you, More Than This. Go on, sit on your throne.

A bit frustrating and confusing, but unquestionably a beautiful, profound book. Thanks, John Green, for telling the world to read this.


  1. It seems like all of Patrick Ness' books are really wonderfully crafted and written. I have this one on my shelf with the beautiful hardcover but I have to get to reading it. At first I thought the plot sounded very confusing so I'd been reluctant to pick it up. I can't wait to get started on this one! Love ur blog :D

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

    1. Hello Alex! I haven't read any other Patrick Ness books, but I'm planning on reading A Monster Calls next. I've heard great things about it. You should read More Than This. It's confusing for sure, but I think it depends on how you interpret the story. The book is literally MORE than what it is.

      Thank you! :)