Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
After ‘A Monster Calls’ completely shattered my heart, I was eager (albeit slightly hesitant) to dip back in to more of Ness’ works. So when at the Hay Festival, I came across this one, I debated only for a fraction of a second before scooping it up off the shelf.
The premise is as follows –
A boy drowns, alone in his last moments and dies.
He then wakes up in a strange place – thirsty, bruised and naked but alive.
As he struggles to understand where he is and what’s happening, the boy dares to hope. What if this isn’t the end? What if there’s more than this life?
The whole premise of the book was intriguing and imaginative. To be honest, the book did start off at rather a slow pace. Not much happened in the first few chapters, which would have caused me to eventually put the book down after rolling my eyes and sighing heavily multiple times. However, this was not the case. I felt the slowness of the book worked really well as it gave it a more realistic touch. I mean the boy has just woken up after presumably dying – so of course he’s going to take time to explore and get acquainted with this new place that he’s in.
“Real life is only ever just real life. Messy. What it means depends on how you look at it. The only thing you’ve got to do is find a way to live there.”
The mystery of this new place was very gripping. Whilst reading, I had several questions and theories buzzing around my head. Ness had written it brilliantly, with details of both Seth’s past and present being revealed gradually. The writing style itself was written in the present tense from a third person perspective which needed a little bit of time getting used to. Ness had captured Seth’s confused state. Yet having said that, at times it felt as if Seth’s character was a little wooden – his feelings weren’t really explored through the writing, which was a tad disappointing. Furthermore, there seemed to be character development only towards the end of the book rather than throughout.
At times it did feel like the story was dragging and somewhat drifting, as if Ness hadn’t quite decided which way he wanted he go with it. Yet, thankfully this didn’t last too long, nor was it frequent. Once everything had been set out, the novel picked up and was heading in a clear direction as opposed to floating aimlessly.
The ending was just amazing! The way the whole novel comes together was just unbelievable. The way the story was left open ended, with still that bit of wonder and mystery was incredible. I also absolutely loved the message that Ness was trying to convey through his writing. The way that this book offers so many questions yet so little answers was in a way quite unconventional and therefore rather delightful.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t by any means perfect, but that’s okay. I didn’t find it as emotional as ‘A Monster Calls’, but that doesn’t by any means take anything away from this book. This was such a deep story with a beautiful message. I honestly think everyone should pick this book up at some point.
“You said we all want there to be more than this! Well, there’s always more than this. There’s always something you don’t know.”