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Book Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

More Than ThisTitle: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Series:   Standalone
Pages:  479
Publisher: Walker Books
Date of Publication: 5th September, 2013
Source: Gifted*
Synopsis from Goodreads: A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.

Then he wakes, naked, 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.

My Thoughts:
First off I just want to say that this book is really strange. Don't get me wrong, I really liked it, but there are lots of moments in it that make you stop and think, "WHAT." when you read them.  I'm not entirely sure how to review it because of this, but I'm gonna do my best.  Bear with me!

When this first came out in September last year, there was a huge amount of hype.  Almost every blogger and reader was reviewing or tweeting about it, and it felt like everyone on the planet loved it.  Since I've had some bad experiences with super hyped books that have let me down big time recently, and because I tried to read Ness' Knife of Never Letting Go several years ago and didn't like it much (although after reading More Than This I may give it another try), I avoided More Than This. However, I caved (obviously my will power is very weak!) and put it on my wishlist.

I really don't know how to categorise this book, or which genre to put it into.  It's probably science fiction but it doesn't really read like a science fiction novel.  I've seen it labelled as post-apocalyptic, but it seems too subtle to be called an apocalypse.  I don't really know, and I don't want to spoil anything in it by labelling it too specifically.  The synopsis on Goodreads and on the back of the book itself give very little away, and I liked that aspect of not having a clue what was going to happen or even vaguely what it was all about.  The mystery made it exciting and really gripping.

The book is split into four parts, each one bringing something new to the story.  The first part is two hundred pages long and is therefore the longest, and most of it is Seth, the main character, trying to figure out what on earth is going on and what is happening to him.  From the reviews I've read on blogs and on Goodreads, most people thought this was the best bit of the book, however I must admit that by the end of the part I was getting a little bored.  For two hundred pages there is just one character at war with himself over what is happening and whether it's real or whether he's dead and what he's going to do and it does get a little tedious, to tell the truth.

The following parts however are really great.  As I said, each part brings a new aspect to the story, and I'm not gonna lie - they're strange.  I don't really know why it seemed so strange to me but there were a lot of moments where I had to take a moment to really process what I'd just read.  I constantly was questioning what they were thinking, and I guess that is, in essence, what the novel is about.  It makes you question the purpose of life, what we're doing here, is everything real, etc.  It's all of that philosophical existentialist stuff that I usually dismiss with a roll of my eyes because I'm lazy and thinking about it hurts my brain and just leads to even more unanswerable questions.  However, it was pretty interesting and (on the whole) I enjoyed reading it.

I don't want to say much more for fearing of spoiling the novel, so I'll wrap up.  More Than This was a very original and compelling read, one that I won't forget anytime soon.  Ness' writing style makes it very quick and easy to read despite the potentially difficult-to-stomach subject matter and its 500 page length - a definite must read!  I definitely recommend if you're looking for an interesting read that will cause you to think and to consider life's bigger questions, but in a readable and engaging way.  I'm now looking forward to reading more from Patrick Ness!

*Huge thanks to Rhys from ThirstForFiction :) 


  1. I still haven't yet read this yet. I really should. Every time I read another review of it I feel really bad that I've had a copy since forever...


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