Wednesday, August 6, 2014
More Than This
More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Info: Walker Books Ltd. , copyright 2014, 480 pages
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?
Seth is dead. Until he's not. Until he wakes up outside of his old home. Until he starts to relive dreams and horrifying memories. Until he realizes he is all alone in a world that has been destroyed. Seth is alive. Until he's not. Until he learns the truth of where he is and discovers that he is not the only one. Seth is there, and he's not. And somewhere in the in between, he must find his courage and accept his reality.
Patrick Ness knows how to set the mood. The story is dark, and mysterious, and lonely. He creates a sense of despair and hope with ease, all the while leaving you desperate for more information and terrified of what you mind find. He's a word smith, a lover of phrases and a master of dialogue. Each character has a unique voice, a personality that is all there own.
The Not So Awesome
What in the world is going on? Too much is going on. Or not enough, I could never really tell. Ness leaves you wanting answers, but they don't come smoothly or completely. The story telling is a bit jumbled, and like many books, I felt like the author was on the verge of something great, but fell short. He tried to be too big and just couldn't pull it off.
It's a hard book to describe. Much of what happens, if you understand it, has to be discovered. So plot summaries are vague. But maybe think of it like this: I Am Legend meets The Matrix. The last man on the planet must learn to survive, but then realizes he has taken the wrong pill and things are really not what they seem.
I read a lot of reviews after I finished the book, hoping for some enlightenment. To me, that's not really a good sign if I have to go looking for answers after the fact. What it really boils down to, however, is that somehow I missed the Patrick Ness bandwagon. He's a skilled writer. He creates unique stories. But he's just not my author. These aren't my stories. I didn't really like any of the characters except for Tomasz, the spunky, brave, quick-witted Polish kid with a big heart and equally big mouth. He was interesting. While the other characters were unique, they didn't really stir up any emotions that had me truly worried about them along the way.
Would I recommend his books? Absolutely. He has an audience, an enthusiastic audience. Will I read another Patrick Ness book? Probably. He's an author worth keeping an eye on, and maybe I'll eventually catch on.