Sunday, 29 December 2013

More Than This by Patrick Ness

I have something terrible to confess. I didn't actually like the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness. Everyone thought it was brilliant (the blurb of his current book, More Than This tells us that he has won every major prize in children's fiction, including the Carnegie Medal twice), but it didn't grab me. I kept trying his books though, because surely, SURELY at some point I was going to get what everyone was carrying on about.

And it finally happened. With More Than This. It's very  hard to review this book without giving things away, and the delight of this book is that it is so very unpredictable and I don't want to take that away from you. Suffice to say it starts with a death, and then gets weirder from then on in.

The More Than This of the title refers to the idea of an afterlife - that there must be 'more than this', more than life, more than our physical bodies, that something else must exist. Whether or not you subscribe to this belief, the concept itself is intriguing, and in the hands of Ness, horrible and beautiful at the same time.

What would your hell look like? Your heaven? Are we punished for our sins on this earth? Is there anything out there, or are we bound by the confines of our brains - our imaginations? Written as a kind of thriller this book kept me turning pages, holding important plot points back, only to release them at the perfect time to drag you in again.

A warning for those who like a neat and tidy ending. You wont get one. Ness warns us throughout the book that he would not provide one, but I didn't stop hoping! It is an ending or sorts, but does not answer all the questions we have. But sometimes I think that is what makes a truly good ending. Ness knows well enough when to leave things open.

One of the very few disappointments I felt with this book was a plot twist that appeared to mirror a very popular movie from a few years ago. I'm not going to spoil it, but I did feel a little cheated. He explores the concept in a slightly new way, however, so I got over it.

On the whole, a great book. Patrick Ness, I finally get you.

- Celia


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