Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
More Than This: Patrick Ness, March 3—6, 2016
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
Seth is a 16-year-old boy who dies at the very beginning of the novel, then wakes up in a seemingly unpopulated version of his childhood neighbourhood.
It’s hard to say more than this about More Than This without spoiling anything. Your questions are Seth’s: where is he? is he dead? is he alone?
Ness’ reputation precedes him, and it’s deserved. A considerable chunk of More involves one character and no dialogue, yet it remains tense and compelling.
Through flashback, we learn more about Seth’s past and the circumstances leading up to his death. Ness tackles a variety of topics, some of which remain taboo in YA literature. It is a credit to them that the book is not about these things, but simply features them.
Much else would be only a spoiler, but suffice to say characterisation and plotting remains tight throughout the book.
The ending is deliberately, and powerfully, ambiguous. Questions of life and existence are rife, and the climax is a challenge to the reader. It doesn’t disappoint. Neat, contrived answers would be wrong for More Than This. I don’t wish to reuse the awful pun, but the title makes it clear that the unexpected is all you can anticipate.