More Than This by Patrick Ness

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas/ holiday if you don’t celebrate Christmas. I received some lovely new books, and used the time off to read as much as possible.
More Than This has been on my TBR pile for around 6 months… I wanted to read the but 480 pages was quite a time investment.

From the blurb:

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?

I wish I could say that this book was as good as I thought it would be, but it really wasn’t.  I feel like I’ve wasted 5 hours of my time.  

The book starts off really well, the premise of an afterlife was really interesting, but alas, around page 250 it all started to go a bit Pete Tong. 

I’m getting ahead of myself… 

The novel starts with a boy drowning in the ocean. He is thrown onto a rock, hits his head and dies. 

The boy wakes up in his old house, across an ocean. He is alone. The house is covered in dust. All the food is rotting. There is no animal life. The boy assumes he is in hell. 

As the boy tries to come to terms with his death, he remembers key moments from his life. Overcome with loneliness, the boy tries to understand what led him to this place… he wasn’t sure what would happen after he died, but he always thought there would be more than this. 

It sounds really interesting, and I usually love a book that tries to answer the big questions, but this book just tries to do too much. I can’t really explain what I didn’t like without spoilers. For those of you who don’t want spoilers, I will just say that this book isn’t about what it seems to be about. If you want to know more, continue reading.

This book is a rip off of The Matrix. The boy, Seth, meets two more kids Regine and Tomasz. They all got hit in the head in the same spot. They woke up in weird black coffins, with tubes, power connections and covered in conductive bandages. They are running from a creepy, black suited and helmeted man called The Driver. He drives around in a black van, looking for the 3 kids. 

Seth starts to remember the things that led to his death. Seth’s brother Owen was kidnapped by an escaped convict when he was 4. Seth believe that his brother was returned, with psychological and physical damage, and that his parents blamed him for what happened.

Owen was actually murdered. His parents couldn’t cope with his death, and agreed to move into an online community, as long as they didn’t remember Owen’s  death. The world was falling apart, there weren’t enough resources, and life was just better online. As people started to spend more time online, they didn’t really see the point in coming back to the real world. 

When Seth dies, hitting his head where the nodule connecting him to the online world, he is disconnected, waking up in the real world where his body is stored. They find the place where all the other bodies are kept, including Seth’s parents, and manage to stop The Driver, who is set on reconnecting the 3 kids…or do they? Is this just a story Seth is telling himself? No? Yes? No?

Urgh.

I just completely lost interest, but made myself finish the book, since I’d already invest 3 hours reading it. This is a Patrick Ness book, and I hated it!!

I found the hell, purgatory parts of the beginning so interesting. I assumed the conductive bandages were from when they tried to resuscitate him in life. The Matrix- online world angle seemed like such a cop out.

The book tries to be too many things at once – young adult, contemporary, existential, science fiction… none of the elements seem to gel. It’s just a big mess of ideas with no coherent theme. Lots of science fiction and action clichés, which the book even mentions (!) but it just doesn’t do up to a decent story. Sorry. 

Let me know if you’ve read this book, and what you thought in the comments below.

Cheerio!

Stephani Xxx 


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