More Than This by Patrick Ness – book review

More Than This || Patrick Ness || Science Fiction || 472 pages || Candlewick Press || 4.04 on Goodreads

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?

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

After 50 pages in, what struck me the most was the pace. It was incredibly slow for my liking. There’s a lot of questions, a lot of the unknown throughout the whole of the novel but part 1 is where there are so much of that it can get confusing and/or frustrating if you don’t have the patience to get through that part of the book. There’s also not a lot of action. Instead, there’s a lot of contemplating and getting to know the world. I therefore thought it was too slow and it took an awfully long time to get through part 1.

THE HIGHS

Let me start off by saying how original this story is. It’s so refreshing to read something so different. It’s so unique I wasn’t quite sure what genre it would go in at first. I can’t say too much without giving it away but I can definitely say I’ve never read anything like this before.

This story does mystery really well. Patrick Ness just drops in questions really subtly. Rush and you’ll miss them. It’s also the way he builds up the reader’s understanding so it avoids the dreaded ‘information dump’ that many books with alternate worlds have. Throughout the novel, you get this cycle of thinking you know something, that you’ve finally figure it out, followed by finding out that’s not it at all or there’s something more. For some people it might be frustrating, for some it would be what drives them forward to read more. I was in the middle of those two.

Something else that Patrick Ness is amazing at? Creating fear. There is a person/creature in this novel that, for the first 100 pages of it’s introduction, every time their name was mentioned my heart would skip two beats. At one point I had to physically stop reading because I was that scared which is something I’m not used to. Typically, I’d be worried for the characters but this novel does something different and generates fear within the reader too which, of course, is more difficult.

THE LOWS

The main problem with this book for me: the ending. I just wanted more than that (ba dum tiss). Just one more chapter. An epilogue of some kind. I wasn’t satisfied and a little disappointed because I spent more time than I normally would reading this book. We never were told what happens to the characters. We never were told how the whole discovery of this new world changed the planet or if it didn’t whatsoever. I’m fine with leaving a few loose ends for the imagination, for the theorising. But the book just ends. I didn’t get any closure.

From the answers that were provided though, about the world mainly but about the characters too, I wanted a little more sense and understanding. And you might think that this is the same as the point above, but this is more to the world that Patrick Ness created. There were only a few but some answers left me raising an eyebrow, but I had faith that the author was going to give more of an explanation later because, by that time, I’ve seen the pattern of later information happen. And for the most part, that’s what happened. But not quite.

Overall, there were two things that let me down: the beginning and the ending. But the originality of the plot is what makes it a 4/5 instead of a 3/5.

Favourite quote

“I don’t believe in guardian angels,” Regine said seriously, “Just people who are there for you and people who aren’t.”

RATING: 4/5

RECOMMEND TO: Anyone who wants something fresh and original as well as has some patience and likes to theorise.

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