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?
Um. Possibly a borderline spoiler review. You have been warned.
So. Patrick Ness. I loved his adult short story collection, “Topics About Which I Know Nothing” and his latest YA “The Rest of Us Just Live Here” was a bit of a meh for me. This? This was weird, complicated, confusing and frustrating. At least the writing was nice.
The blurb didn’t give me much information at all, so I went in a little blind. I was expecting something “deep” and “philosophical” and “life after death” etc. And then. BAM. It’s sci-fi dystopian.
I would have rathered the “deep philosophical” discussion. SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GIVE ME SO LITTLE ON THE BLURB? I GET DIFFERENT EXPECTATIONS FOR WHAT I THINK I’LL READ AND THEN I GET ALL CONFUSED AND FLAIL.
It’s so hard to review this book without spoiling it because of the goddamn scanty blurb.
But I will try to review it without saying much about the blurb at all.
The ending ends abruptly and almost seems unfinished. Loose ends will be left swaying still-loose in the metaphorical wind and you will feel so frustrated that you will want to grab one of those metaphorical loose ends and hang yourself. The problem with this book is it’s too abstract. It’s like a puddle of gloop just lying on the ground, and you’re meant to figure out how to pick it up with only your hands but it keeps slipping through your fingers.
I wish that there was something concrete about this book. I would have forgiven it if the plot was the expected “life after death” “deep” “philosophical” theme that the blurb suggested. But Ness has gone for the dystopian sci-fi style, and so you would expect that he’d go completely for the dystopian sci-fi style, and not still include elements of philosophy and “what is the meaning of life”. But NOOOOOOOOO it’s like he’s using the dystopian style as a springboard to project his philosophical ideas on us. I’d rather he just went completely philosophical.
Plus. There are heaps of info dumps. All throughout pages 200-300, there are so many info dumps trying to justify the sudden swerve from “life after death” to “PEW PEW DYSTOPIAN WASTELAND”. Doesn’t work. Ends up being confusing.
However, the writing is really beautiful. It’s descriptive, vivid, and completely immersive. It’s probably the only thing dragging me back to Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls, which I’m reading next.
Also, I do recommend you read the first 90-100 pages which are amazing, until it all goes down the drain with dystopian mashed with philosophical.
Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ 4/10
More Than This is out now. Buy at your local bookstore.
- Title: More Than This
- Author: Patrick Ness
- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Walker Books (September 1st, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN10: 1406350486
- URL: Goodreads