More Than This is a YA/Teen novel by acclaimed author, Patrick Ness.
I have previously read The Knife of Never Letting Go, a teen series by Ness set in a dystopian future world, and his first novel for adults, The Crane Wife, a sort of magical, realist poetic fantasy about love and sacrifice and what it means to be connected to other people.
This is nothing like any of those.
Firstly, this is definitely a novel for teenagers. Minimum age thirteen. I recommend it to boys and girls alike, but it is disturbing, and graphic and powerful and not something you would give to a child lightly.
The book tells the story of Seth.
Seth dies in the first few pages of the book. We first meet him, drowning and helpless as Ness describes his last few sentient moments as a human on earth.
Then Seth wakes up.
We do not know where he is, Seth’s bewilderment is our own. He knew, in the first chapter that he was dying, but when he wakes up he doesn’t appear to be in any version of heaven he understands, and he does not feel dead.
Things look familiar, but he is not sure why.
It’s all a big mystery that Seth, and some companions set out to unravel.
It is not clear at the end of the novel that anything is any more resolved than it was at the beginning, which is a little frustrating.
By then you have begun to care deeply for the characters, and your all too human need for a sensible, well finished ending is almost overwhelming, but live in mystery it seems we must.
Ness is a superbly skilled writer and story teller. His descriptions are gripping and inclusive, always taking you, the reader, along for the ride. He is a master craftsman of his art, and I cannot wait to see what he will come up with next.