Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Page count: 478
Rating: 5/5 stars
*minor spoilers inside
If you haven`t read the book but you`re reading this review: don`t. Just save the link, and come back when you`ve read the book. It`s okay, I`ll be here, waiting for you to return so we can all discuss this book in proper while sharing some biscuits.
If you have read the book: welcome, friend! Did you enjoy the madness?
It has to be said: Patrick Ness is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. Having already read the entire Chaos Walking trilogy (which I absolutely recommend reading, by the way), I found More Than This yesterday in Utrecht – and finished it within 24 hours of buying it. And that`s while having a meeting for volunteer work, meeting up with friends, getting food and sleep, doing sports, and job applications within those 24 hours as well. Suffice to say I did not “read” it as much as I just kind of devoured it whole. Plus I just got less sleep than usual, but this book was absolutely worth it.
Do I have any criticisms before ranting off into how great this book is? Well, yes, of course. Nothing`s ever perfect. Even if the only thing I can think of right now is “this book isn`t long enough”, which is really more of a compliment anyway.
I`ve seen this book described as “a bundle of WTF” and I wholeheartedly agree. Ness had me stuck in this world, this mystery world of which I still don`t know what it was (is this the real life? Is it just fantasy?) and that`s okay. The story twists and turns and regularly stops making sense just to turn another corner and have everything make sort-of-sense again, even if only temporarily. It`s sci-fi and mystery and dystopia and everything rolled into one, indefinable.
Don`t get me wrong – this is a strangely serious book, and it`s not for everyone (even if I will recommend it to anyone who asks). For large parts of the book I felt sad, uncomfortable even. These characters went through a lot and are still going through a lot, and Ness is not afraid to show every part of it, to shove it all in your face and make you deal with it yourself. There`s neglect, abuse, LGBT discrimination, depression, suicide, murder, loneliness, all these ugly parts of real life that people do really deal with. And Ness turned it into, well, what exactly? Is it a dream? A coma? A matrix-esque dystopia? The afterlife? We`ll never know, and I like that ambiguity.
What this book did very well is the message that I took from it. Despite – or maybe because of – all the things mentioned before, the abuse and suicide and murder, there was a very clear message to go live your life. There`s more than this life you`re leading – or think you`re leading. There`s always more, even if you don`t see it. People have a tendency to see their world as very small and limited, and often think that a certain situation is the be-all end-all and ignore signs that it might be different, but as Seth also learns (and has literally pointed out to him), is that there are second chances, that things aren`t always as bad as you think they are if you`ll only the take time to look around (“beauty is everywhere”). There`s a very clear anti-suicide theme, something I very much appreciate.
These books by Patrick Ness are dangerous, they will suck you in and not let go even after the story is over, and you won`t even mind it one bit.
(Currently reading: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas)