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January 24, 2016

Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Publication date: May 1, 2014
Genre(s): Young adult, science fiction, dystopia 
Source: Bought

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?

From multi-award-winning Patrick Ness comes one of the most provocative and moving novels of our time.

We got off to a rocky start, More Than This and I. This book had an air of mystery around it that extended well into the first their of the story, which frustrated me. I very nearly DNF’d this book, but in retrospect, I’m very glad I didn’t. I suspect my low rating is because I’ve been in a reading slump for a while now, and I was really looking for an easy, simple read.

More Than This is anything but.

In a good way, of course. It’s hard to talk about this book without going into even mild spoilers, and I think it’s best to start this book having read only the synopsis (if anything). This is my second and half (I’m currently reading A Monster Calls at present) book by Ness, and I’ve genuinely come to appreciate his unique storytelling style. The lack of directness in the first third of the book that had me ready to give up eventually won me over. He makes every chapter interesting. He makes every scene feel like something more without any flowery prose or metaphors. All along, I felt like he was gently nudging me to search for the answers to questions. What is justice? What is grief? What is pain? What is friendship, loyalty, love?

This book is chock full of grey areas, and Ness leaves judgement completely up to the reader, and that’s ultimately what I came to love about this book (all his books, really).

I was a little bothered by was the antagonist of the book. Subplots involving the antagonist (notice how I’m keeping it gender ambitious muahaha) felt very repetitive to me, and when things got resolved, I was mostly confused and not sure what exactly happened. The book ends beautifully, but there were definitely some loose threads that I wish Ness tied up.

This book is best read with no assumptions or expectations. The first (of four) part of the book had me, and I suspect, many other readers, frustrated and restless, but yearning to know more. On it’s surface, the book spans maybe a week of a few events. But it’s brilliance lies in the questions Ness poses without the reader realizing it and the complexity he deftly weaves into the plot.

The mystery felt unnecessarily contrived during the first third of the book, and I had some issues with the pacing as well. That being said, I highly recommend this book for a unique, roller coaster read. It has Ness’s signature prose, carefully crafted characters, and lessons that will stick with you long after you’ve put the book down.


  1. Great review! More Than This is a very unique book. Like you said, this book is full of grey areas but I loved the mystery. More Than This is one of my favorite books. Thanks for sharing this great review!

    anna | annaish

    1. Exactly! I found it hard to accept that Ness was going to take his time revealing answers, but once I did, I had a wonderful time with it :)

  2. I actually picked this up at my library but never got around to reading it! I've read 3 Patrick Ness books and I've loved all of them so I must definitely give this a go! :)

    1. Ooh you must! Especially if you like standalones :)

  3. This sounds really interesting and I like the sound of leaving the judgement up to the readers- that's truly nice. I'm glad you were able to enjoy this book. Great review, Arshia!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

    1. Yeah, I like it when the author just lets the characters and plot run their course, it feel so much more organic and real. I'm just really impatient with mysteries and the long wait for the answer sort of took some of the fun away, but otherwise, I highly recommend this book :)