Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Review of "More Than This" by Patrick Ness - A Young Man's Search for Understanding and A Second Chance

I truly enjoyed reading this book - from start to finish.  Patrick Ness has written in  "More Than This" what I will call a page-turner, in the best sense of that phrase.  I could not wait to find out what would happen next to Seth, the young protagonist who finds himself in a strange world.

The book is written in a very cinematic style.  I could envision each of the episodes playing out in my mind like a film that had elements that reminded me of "Coma," "The Matrix" and "Brazil."  I will not talk much about plot for fear of spilling the beans.  The story begins with young Seth walking into the unforgiving waves of the angry ocean in the Pacific Northwest, life appearing hopeless in the wake of love gone wrong.  His drowning body is smashed against rocks, dislocating his shoulder and shattering his skull.  The dead Seth wakes up to find himself - where?  In hell?  In a dream?  In some state of altered consciousness?  He is back in what looks like the home where he grew up as a young boy in England, but the place appears to be deserted and covered in dust and weeds - in a state of advanced desuetude.  He gradually becomes aware of the presence a few other life forms.  And the plot thickens.

Using this literary device of Seth living an alternate life, the author explores themes common to young adults - loneliness, love that defies social conventions, forgiveness, identity, second chances, selflessness.  His relationships with his family and friends before his death are recounted in what appear to be dream sequences, which alternate with his real time (maybe) struggles to survive in the world where he has landed.  He meets Regine and Tomasz who become his fellow travelers on his journey of survival and discovery.  The plot is rife with cliff hangers - including one that involves an actual cliff!  Every time Seth and his cohorts find answers to their questions, more questions are raised.  Where are they, and what is the meaning of the experiences they are sharing?

While the novel is written primarily for young adult readers, it holds enough intrigue to keep even the most sophisticated literary fan engaged.



No comments: