Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Date Read: 07/01/2016 – 09/01/2016
This is a hugely philosophical book in the guise of YA sci-fi. If you have a picky brain, you will need to actively hand-wave some of the science, but I think it’s worth it for the ideas it brings up and makes you think about.
In the book’s prologue, we get a very graphic description of a boy drowning. I actually read this much of the book on my Kindle last year, but it was immediately after finishing Ness’ Chaos Walking series, and I realised very quickly I needed a break from the emotional trauma he had just put me through and was likely to again. I got the hardcover from the library this year and skipped reading the prologue again; I still had some rather vivid images in my head.
The boy dies, and then he wakes up again, covered in strange bandages, in front of a home he hasn’t lived in in years. And the place is deserted. As he tries to figure out what is going on, he meets Tomasz, a Polish boy who claims he was struck by lightning, and Regine, who supposedly fell down the stairs. We gradually learn about all three characters, and discover that even though it’s only the three of them in a vast, empty world, there are plenty of secrets they are hiding from each other. The secrets come out, though, as they try to figure out their situation.
As you can see, I’m trying to be pretty vague here, because the characters and the plot are all tied up together really well and this book will lose all impact if you are spoiled for it. The plot is definitely interested, though there was one repeat-event that was on par with Aaron showing up at the end of every chapter in The Knife of Never Letting Go. I had a bit of warning about that from some of the reviews I’d read, so I quickly learned not to assume anything was done and dusted.
The three primary characters are all diverse and unique. Tomasz and Regine both have walls that they’ve put up but as they come down, you realise how much they’ve been through. The three main characters all had very different traumas that they had been through, and Ness presents them all realistically.
The strongest part of this book is the philosophical questions it raises. What is reality? How do we know we’re not dreaming all the time? And does it really matter either way? If there was a way to exorcise the horrible parts of your life, would you? These questions aren’t strictly answered, but they are explored very well.
Overall, while this book isn’t as good as the Chaos Walking series or A Monster Calls, I think Patrick Ness fans should definitely still check it out.