I wasn’t really expecting that much from Patrick Ness’s More Than This despite being thoroughly impressed by A Monster Calls last October. I don’t know what it was, I just assumed it wouldn’t meet those standards, due to the fact that I hadn’t heard that much about it. But I was happy to read it, anyway, and I soon discovered that it was a book beyond anything I expected from it, at all. I don’t know about anyone else, but I love it when a book proves to be something way beyond your expectations. It’s a great feeling!
I’d seen this book advertised several times in my local bookshop, each time, intrigued by it’s unusual synopsis about a boy who dies and then wakes back up in strangely familiar surroundings – and eventually, I took the opportunity to actually read it, already feeling very curious as to what the outcome would be.
Admittedly, it took me a while to really get into it. In fact, it was only really when I got to Part 2 that I felt really hooked and excited to read the rest of the book, but all the way through, Patrick Ness has a very effective compelling way of making the reader read on. He tantalizes the reader by introducing a new mystery at the end of several chapters. I was up late reading some nights, eager to satisfy myself by getting some answers from the story. Who said that reading was relaxing?! 😉
So the format of the book is quite simple. It is told in third person and split into chapters – some set in the present day, and some set in the past. The story follows a boy named Seth, who in the prologue of the book dies. He drowns because he hits his head on some rocks or something. But then, in the actual book, we follow his journey in a world which he presumes to be hell. Because, after all, he died didn’t he? Or did he…?
The place that Seth assumes is hell is strange because, it is instantly recognisable to him as his old town where he lived in England for many years as a child. A town which is now completely deserted, apart from Seth… He seems to be the only remaining soul left in the neglected town.
Seth begins to discover things that sends a chill through the pages of this book. He finds that he awoke in a coffin and he discovers that most of the outskirts of the town are nothing more than ash.
In Part 2, Seth finds that there is more danger in this world than he anticipated. He comes across two other children, Tomasz and Regine, who know more about his situation than he himself does, and he also encounters a strange van and a driver who seems intent on killing all the creatures it comes across. I thought that this was a really eerie aspect of the book, and by Part 2, this was exactly the sort of thing the reader is anticipating at this point. Part 1 was quite rambling in my opinion, so I’d definitely recommend you persevere with it. The story definitely picks up.
I was impressed, yet again, by Patrick Ness’ writing abilities. He has the capability of immediately capturing a reader’s attention and whisking them away into an unpredictable, thoughtful world. And his writing is so full of deep meaning and morality. I LOVE his writing style, I really do. He uses a lot of short sentences which create a lot of tension and make his writing unique and often fast-paced and simple.
In all honesty, I do think that this book dragged a bit. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was about 100 pages shorter. Parts of the book just seemed to repeat itself a little for me, which was a shame. It took me a while to read this book – like more than two weeks, which is a long time for me, and I think if it was 100 pages shorter, it would have been consistently compelling, but I went through fazes of being bored of More Than This – which was undoubtedly a shame because it’s such a great story. I think it just needed to be shortened a little.
But otherwise, flawless. I don’t usually read this sort of thing, but I was really impressed. Thank you Patrick Ness for another GREAT read. Taking into account all of the points I raised, I would give this book a well-deserved 4.5 star rating. 🙂 A stunning piece of work, and it has really encouraged me to seek out more Patrick Ness books, and also it has given me a new perspective on things in general really.