Oh Patrick.. By now, I know what to expect from you. I have the feeling that, if he should release the phone book, I would still be moved by the way he wrote the names and aligned the numbers..
Still, I was a bit hesitant when picking up More Than This cause for one, I didn’t know jack about it and second, prior to reading it I had read some mixed reviews concerning the twists and turns it takes. But faith is a beautiful thing, cause when it comes to Patrick Ness, faith gets rewarded.
A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place?
It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him?
Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this…
I will have to stay vague about most of this book, cause honestly, the not knowing is the best part. Structurally, you can say that the plot can be divided into two big parts. The first part starts off really strong and stands out. Along with Seth, you as a reader are confused, disoriented and frankly have no clue about what’s going on. Discovering things alongside Seth creates a closeness, a kinship and I couldn’t help but feel and fear for him. A first twist takes the book slightly in a different direction and a feeling of being h(a)unted takes you as a reader. In the end, as the possibility of a resolution becomes apparent, you end up reading a completely different book from which you thought you started with.
“the possibility of a resolution
You read it well, possibility of a resolution, because More Than This has an ending that’s as open as the door on the cover. This was as fitting as it was frustrating. This is a book that makes you question things, is there more than this? And the way the book pans out in the end, an open ending was the only fitting resolution to it all. It allows for there to be more than there is, for Seth to reach limits beyond our wildest dreams. At the same time, it was frustrating, cause I wanted to know. Throughout the book, Seth dreams of his life before his drowning and those dreams were painful, tender, horrible and beautiful. His longing and desire was so clear I couldn’t help but hope he reached his destination. But I’ll never know..
Seth was also the perfect character for this novel. Being a teen, struggling with himself and his surroundings, he’s the one who’s obviously longing for more than this. He’s the kind of character that reminds us all of a former self, one who was also wondering if there ever would be more. And while he’s reminding me of a younger me, he’s strong enough to still be Seth.
“limits beyond our wildest dreams
If you’ve read Patrick Ness before, you know what you’ll get, cause More Than This is no different than his other works when it comes to the writing. It’s captivating and moving, eloquent and on point when needed. It’s something personal, I guess, but Patrick Ness never fails to impress me, as a writer as well as a human being.
I got this book fairly quick after its release, but with so many of my books, they tend to get sidelined for no apparent reason. It’s clear by now that he is a read-asap author, More Than This only confirmed this status. It’s something different from his other books, but by no means is it less. It’s an experience like no other, which begs the question if there is, actually, more than this…
★ ★ ★ ★
Find out if there is more than this.