“More Than This” by Patrick Ness
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
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. . . .
This title is scheduled to be released September 10, 2013.
I was so looking forward to this because I’ve really enjoyed everything else I’ve read by Patrick Ness. While I did enjoy this story, I was disappointed that I didn’t love it like I was expecting to. I was going to read this book pretty much no matter what simply for the author but I was excited that the premise to the story actually interested me.
Seth dies and then wakes up in his old English neighborhood. This prompts the question of whether the afterlife is just a repeat of our real life. Is it a form of purgatory where you’re stuck in your old life without all the people? The story does explore those ideas but unfortunately it gets to them a bit slowly. We spend at least 1/3 (but probably more) of the book was Seth hanging out by himself. He’s trying to get used to the ‘afterlife’. He has no idea what’s going on. He just kind of hangs out and tries to figure out how to survive. I know that needs to be done but it’s a bit boring for me. Things to pick up when he meets some other people but even then it still felt a bit slow for me. I was really expecting to be kept on the edge of my seat and wanting to neglect my other duties. Instead I got an okay story but one that I was okay with putting down to do other things.
The story kept jumping back and forth between now and then. I really found the flashbacks are jarring. The flashbacks do give us vital information but it was still lacking. There was still a lot of stuff that wasn’t resolved for me about Seth’s past life. Not to mention the fact that the flashbacks weren’t really in any order. It was hard to me to really see the big picture when all I had were a bunch of small pieces in no order.
I’m of very mixed feelings about the storyline. On one hand, it was a really interesting idea. Living your life online could potentially be a cool idea. It really reminded me of The Reality Bug which I really liked. On the other hand, there were so, so, so many unanswered questions. The world was so bad that people went online to live? Really? I could understand how a few people might see this as a good option but everyone see this as the best option? How would you afford this? How are things still functioning? Is the whole world like this?
The bottom line? While I do have quite a few annoyances with the story, I still liked it and definitely recommend it especially to Patrick Ness fans.