Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

August 15, 2013 Book Review, YA, Young Adult 35 ★★★★★

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

More Than ThisMore Than This by Patrick Ness
Published by Candlewick Press on September 10th 2013
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy the Book
From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life — or perhaps afterlife — of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

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. . . .


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More Than This can be classified as one of those books that was so amazing and so thought-provoking that I don’t even know exactly how to review it. Here is my attempt.

Here is the boy, drowning.

The very first line and it is exactly how we start out, with our main character Seth as he drowns. But then in the next chapter he wakes up and discovers he is in the dusty and deserted house where he grew up in an English suburb before a tragedy rocked his family. This house is also across the world from where he died in the Pacific Northwest. And he is very much alone.

Seth immediately assumes this must be hell. I mean, he died, right? His dreams are filled with memories that get him lost in the moment, feeling so real and a breath away, like he is reliving them. Can that be part of hell too? He struggles to find the necessary tools of survival as he explores his surroundings, afraid of any hidden dangers that may spring out at him, and trust me, they do!

I honestly had no idea what to expect when I opened this book with a synopsis that was somewhat vague and of course the author took it beyond my wildest dreams. The book is split into four parts and each drastically changed the dynamic of the story, unraveling more layers and making my jaw drop and my head spin, in the best of ways of course. There is so much mystery and heart and then it becomes somewhat philosophical and wow, when I got to that point I realized just how incredibly amazing this story really was.

Of course it wouldn’t be Patrick Ness without a sense of adventure and action… and a character that once again reminded me of Michael Myers who just doesn’t die! (Remember Aaron from The Knife of Never Letting Go, anyone?) But above anything else, this book is about life. It’s about realizing your worth, to get as much out of life as you can. It’s about self-discovery, confidence and going out there and grabbing onto your dreams. It’s about discovering just what the title says, that there IS more than this.

I thank the author for writing a YA novel that isn’t just filled with excitement and intrigue, but also makes you appreciate life and what you can get out of it. It’s a story that stays with you and I’m so thankful to have read it.

“Haven’t you ever felt like there has to be more? Like there’s more out there somewhere, just beyond your grasp, and if you could only get to it?”

About Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness, an award-winning novelist, has written for England’s Radio 4 and Sunday Telegraph and is a literary critic for The Guardian. He has written many books, including the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Crash of Hennington, Topics About Which I Know Nothing, and A Monster Calls.

He has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Costa Children’s Book Award. Born in Virginia, he currently lives in London.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

35 Responses to “Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness”

  1. Little Miss Becky

    I have this on my shelves and I am so excited to read it. I’ve never read a Patrick Ness book before. The story just sounds so amazing, and I’m glad to hear that it lives up to that! Great review!

  2. Tanja - Tanychy

    My copies of the other series by this author are still waiting for me on my Kindle, I really must get to them. The first line seems really intriguing. Great review Sara 🙂

  3. The Readdicts

    Unfortunately I haven’t read anything by Patrick Ness yet but More Than This sounds really amazing! Thanks for your review Sara 🙂

    Janhvi @ The Readdicts

  4. Jasprit

    Sara you did such an amazing job reviewing this, just how much of an impression this book left with you clearly comes through your review. I had initially thought this book wouldn’t be for me, but I think you have encouraged me in giving this book a try! Lovely review! 🙂

  5. Shooting Stars Mag

    Wow, this sounds fantastic. I love books that have emotional layers that make you think about life, death, and everything in-between. I’ll be honest, I have yet to read anything by this author but I know I need too and I really, really do want too!


  6. starryeyedjen

    Lovely review, Sara! This will be my first Patrick Ness novel — when I get to it — but I’m already super-excited for it. And I really want to read The Knife of Never Letting Go, as well. I actually own it already. 🙁

  7. Joyous Reads

    If there’s anything we can expect from Mr. Ness, it’s his ability to whisk you away in a world beyond anything you’ve ever read before. He doesn’t do anything half-ass. That’s why this author is a cut above.

    I’m adding this to my pile. Thanks for the heads up, Sara. 🙂

  8. Traci @ The Reading Geek

    Great review! I actually haven’t heard of this one yet, but wow it sounds so good and that is some opening line. I really like what you said about this book being more and making you apprectiate life. I love books that stay with you!

  9. yaescapefromreality

    I haven’t ever read Patrick Ness but I keep hearing such great things. The premise definitely intrigues me and your review makes me want to read this book, it sounds phenomenal! ~Pam

  10. Nick

    Wow. This is the first time I’m hearing about this book, but the synopsis is so interesting.
    I’m so glad that you enjoyed this, Sara. It sounds like it’s a great book. I love it when a book not only entertains me, but also teaches me a lesson about life. More Than This seems to do exactly that.
    Just that first sentence of the book grabbed me. I’m definitely adding this to my tbr list.
    Lovely review, Sara. 🙂

  11. Leigh @ Little Book Star

    Hiyessssss! I knew this book was going to be awesomesauce!!!! I heard so many good things about The Chaos Walking trilogy so I had a feeling Patrick Ness will also do justice with More Than This. I love it when the summary is vague because the whole story and plot line will be a mystery and everything will be unexpected. I’m glad you loved it and this one is FOR SURE a must read for me!

    Little Book Star

  12. Lisa (Lost in Literature)

    Yeah!! So happy you loved this. I hope to read it soon. I’m beginning to see more and more lately that it appears as though we have very similar taste in books! 🙂 Thus I love seeing 5 stars for a book I want to read myself. Great review!

  13. Sunny Duvall

    Whoa! Not only am I thrilled you loved it, but your review makes me excited because it sounds AMAZING. I thought “eh” when I read the synopsis and was intrigued, but it was too vague for me. But I love thought-provoking and books that might give off a hangover of sorts. Love it!

  14. Hannah

    Am I a horrible person for having NOT read anything by Patrick Ness? Yes? Probably? In my defense I have the Chaos Walking trio on my kindle…yet to be read. Okay that’s a horrible defense. Point is, this book sounds AMAZING. I’m so glad to hear you love it!! I sounds phenomenal and I’m totally going to be putting this one my TBR. Love the review Sara!

    <333 Inky

  15. Amanda

    Ooh I’m definitely interested in reading a more philosophical YA book! And I’m interested in reading something written by Patrick Ness eventually. While I don’t think this will be the first book I read by him, I can see myself reading this one eventually. The blurb and even your review are so tantalizingly vague that I’m so curious as to what actually happens in the story. I’m glad you ended up enjoying this one, Sara!

  16. MåїÐ»-(¯`v´¯)-»

    This sounds brilliant! And that first sentence is powerful. I remember reading a short story in school that had the drowning concept, and it really sticks with you even after you move on to the next chapter. I am very much looking forward to meeting Seth. He sounds like an in-depth character and one readers can easily relate to. Plus, I like that this book has adventure and action, even though it is a story with a string moral message. I can’t wait to get around to this. I’m glad to see that this one will stay with you, Sara! 😀 Brilliant review! 😀

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

  17. Sydney

    I am so excited to get my hands on this book! I love The Knife of Never Letting Go series, and this one sounds amazing too!

  18. Vivien

    OMG I am SO bloody eager to read this book. I absolutely loved the Chaos Walking trilogy and Monster Calls. Yes he is genius!

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