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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When we first meet 17 year old Seth Wearing he's not in a good place, in fact he's drowning in a freezing, raging sea, his head and shoulder smashed on jagged rocks. But then Seth wakes up ....

And what a world he wakes up in. Despite moving to America with his family eight years earlier, Seth finds himself back in his childhood home in England. However, the familiarity ends there; he is alone in a barren, desolate landscape where everything is encased in dust and weeds and he has to forage for food and supplies in deserted shops. Seth's waking nightmare soon turns into a battle for survival and on the way he meets two fellow young travellers, Regine and Tomasz, who are equally scared and damaged, but also brave and determined in their fight for survival.

The story of how they came to be in this twilight world is gradually revealed and it's an inventive and pretty complex one. As you would expect in a modern YA novel there are topical themes such as race, immigration and sexuality, and Ness weaves these into his poetic narrative seamlessly, with no hint of banner waving or political correctness. Despite their tragic backgrounds, Regine and Tomasz bring some much needed light, humour and friendship into Seth's life, and Seth himself is a very endearing and sympathetic figure, carrying a burden of guilt which no-one his age should have to bear and still wrestling with the demons and broken heart which led to him to his watery grave.

Although I'm not much of a YA or Sci-Fi reader, I love a good post-apolcolyptic, dystopian story and this is certainly one of the better ones I've read recently . Of course Patrick Ness has form - his Chaos Walking trilogy (which I haven't read yet, though I loved The Crane Wife) has won many awards and I think he may be onto a winner with this one too. The ending is very ambiguous and open (almost frustratingly so), but if, as I hope, there's a sequel and perhaps also further instalments on the way, then this beguiling and thought-provoking novel has certainly whetted my appetite.
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VINE VOICEon 18 November 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Imagine waking up in a world you sort of remember, but is not yours. Seth is drowning. He dies. He wakes. And he lies, on the pavement, outside a house he lived in until he was eight. Everything around him is covered in a thick layer of dust; he is naked apart from a few bandage type things wrapped around his trunk and legs, the house looks sort of familiar, but he knows his family emigrated to the US some years previously, so why are things that should be in America in this house? There is no electricity, nothing is working, the tap does not run and he is oh so thirsty - and outside all is silent.

This is the start of Seth's adventure, and the start of a book that hooked me in from the very beginning, for I was as desparate as Seth to find out who? where? why? I felt much empathy towards this 16 year old, alone in a very strange place, with no human contact. It must be what people who are shipwrecked feel like, but with a difference, for there are clothes shops to pilfer, and some food is still available if you can use a tin opener (for it is obvious that whenever this is happening, its been happening for several years).

To say more about the story itself would give away too much, but imagine what is wrong with the world, imagine things you do every day being the cause of his loneliness, imagine ... well, just imagine what you might think, what you might do.

I first came across Patrick Ness when I read A Monster Calls, a book he finished from the notes of the late Siobhan O'Dowd; a different style to my usual reads, and a clever way of dealing with a tricky subject. What an imagination Ness has. I know, in another book of his (The Knife of Never Letting Go) that there is a talking dog - got to read that one very very soon!

But back to More Than This. First, the cover. My copy is hardback, but I do hope they keep the doorway when this is published in paperback. Yes, there is a doorway cut into the actual cover of this book, which is opening onto the title page. And this should give a new reader a clue, as it is all about opening doorways that might lead you to the answers. The style has good, shocking, stops and starts which make you gasp, make you fearful of turning a page, but definitely make you want to read on. And reading on, you find yourself thinking aloud "oh! yes!.... that is already happening"; and "oh! my goodness that could happen now and if it did....." It's a clever concept, and dystopia is one of those subjects that can conjure up a new world so easily but will not necessarily make a good read. More Than This is more than a good read, it's a scary read but with no zombies or vampire or werwolves; it's a thoughtful read, with the future not the one we expect, and above all it's an exciting read because really, you do want Seth to come out of this OK and above all alive! The ending is open and in this case that's not a bad thing at all. I think that this was aimed at Young Adults - say from 12 onwards, but if you like dystopian tales, your age will not matter a bit.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 13 October 2013
Seth drowns in the sea. He dies. And then he wakes up.

To discuss the plot in much detail would spoil the book for a reader. Seth wakes up in a world he knows, but not the one he died in. Why is he there? Is he alone? Is he really dead?

I found this intriguing. The revelations, as they come, are shocking and well played. The twists are unexpected (or they were to me!), despite the ideas being seen before in film and literature.

The writing is tense, descriptive, playful. We see snippets from Seth's life interspersed with his new surroundings, seeing his back story and reasons for his drowning. The secondary characters are well drawn, rounded and at times funny.

The ending is open enough to allow a sequel, and I certainly plan to look out for one.

Even the cover is delightfully put together, teasing and tasteful.

I was never going to say no to this, having been thoroughly impressed with A Monster Calls and the Chaos Walking trilogy. I believe Patrick Ness really is one of our most talented writers for Young Adults writing today.
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on 9 October 2013
I adored `More Than This'. If ever there was a book to make you think, this is it.

You are immediately thrust into `More Than This', Ness escaping that awkward getting to know what's going on phase and plunging the reader straight into the action. I loved how anonymous `the boy' was, the possibility that it could be anyone. The realisation that it didn't matter who he was. I was amazed that even though I knew almost nothing about the boy, I could still care about him as a character.

The scattering of memories across the novel is extremely effective as it allows us to never know too much or too little. Not to mention that the memories are always relevant and always add something to the story immediately. But what more had I expected from the creator of the phenomenal `Chaos Walking' trilogy?

As the novel continued, I read at any given opportunity just so I could find out more about the boy and this place he'd woken up in. I had to know more. There's an air of mystery surrounding `More Than This' which just further adds to the feeling that you need to keep turning the pages and ask `What's next? What's next?'. This makes it near impossible to put down.
Ness creates an unnerving atmosphere that made me huddle close to the pages and fully immerse myself there. At times I was blown away by the beautiful description and the way he phrases certain things to really make you stop and think. Interesting observations of human thoughts and behaviours grow deeper and deeper as you read the novel until you feel cleansed by its conclusion.

As always, I was awestruck by Ness's pace. I know of no other writer who uses a dash to such monumental effect. The chapters are short, making it so easy to pick up and yet impossible to put down. At times I felt my heart pounding as I was reading as though I was there. The pace was perfect.

The only possible criticism I could have for `More Than This' is that I felt one too many adverbs were used. This is because they jump out at me on the page because of my hatred for them and I didn't think they were all needed.

Patrick Ness truly is the master of his craft.
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on 12 October 2013
Great story, hooks you from the start. The first part of the book really grabs you and the mystery of the circumstances the main character finds himself in are brilliantly described. I just couldn't put it down until I'd found out what was going on, which happens much later in the book and keeps the mystery going beautifully. When you do find out, stay with it and don't dismiss it as a rip off from a famous movie, it's not. The story is different in so many ways and the tension in every page will keep you wanting more.

I'd heard the author being interviewed on the Simon Mayo show on Radio 2 and was sufficiently intrigued to want to read it. I deliberately didn't read any reviews before I read the book because the essence of the first several chapters is in the mystery and I'm so glad I went into it with no knowledge of the key plot line. Loved the gradual unfolding of the main character's situation and all the twists and turns and surprises that hit you along the way.

The ending is wide open for a sequel and I really hope Patrick Ness builds on this brilliant story line and gives us more of the same.
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on 1 May 2014
Unfortunately I was left with a feeling of disappointment upon finishing this book..

For me it started really well, then seemed to wander off course to its unoriginal twist and never really found its way back. Then was padding to the cop out, slightly preachy non-ending…

Not a bad book but for me didn’t live up to the promising beginning…
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on 3 November 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In the 'Chaos Walking' trilogy, Ness dealt with some big issues, asking some interesting ethical and philosophical questions and exploring a variety of complex personal relationships. This is a return to the same territory: a sci-fi rumination on the nature of love and reality, with a slight Cartesian feel.

As a teacher, I am always looking for books that teenagers will both find enjoyable and, at the same time, challenging. This is such a book. There is enough in here to entertain: a dystopian world peopled by children and devoid of adults that must be navigated carefully and requires a variety of survival skills - a bit like the 'Gone' books by Michael Grant, or the much better 'The Enemy' books by Charlie Higson. In terms of challenging, there are some serious and testing issues here: sexuality, suicide, domestic abuse. Ness deals with the difficult stuff with great humanity, and drives the entertaining stuff forwards with pace and punch.

In my opinion, there is no better writer for the more mature teenage reader writing today. This comes highly recommended.
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on 24 May 2015
This is very compelling. It feels a bit odd at first, and it's not a pleasant scenario, very much a dystopia, like so many young adult books. However it did draw me in and keep me intrigued. Then the plot plays out in a way which is a bit disappointing. Alluded to by the other reviews, it's a story that's been told before, and is quite derivative.

However that can be fine, most stories have been told before, some great books are just reworking some old tropes, in fact I'm sure a lot of the current YA dystopias wouldn't be here if it weren't for George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. The problem here is that it needs more exposition, the film with a similar theme has a great explanation for what happens. This doesn't, and it just didn't make sense. I can't really say more without spoilers.

Still I would recommend this book, it's not as great as the Chaos Walking books, but maybe if there's a sequel it can be, and I would love a sequel just to see if it all makes a bit more sense.
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on 16 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This novel opens with its main character drowning. A seemingly odd way to start things as it will tend to mean there's not much he can do to justify the remaining pages. However, he wakes up in a familiar, yet surprising place to be.

I know some people aren't too keen on spoilers, so I'll avoid those,which does make this a little difficult. What I can say is that Seth, the main character, unpacks what has happened to him leading to his death. This is combined with a meditation on what existence and consciousness really are. It's surprisingly nuanced in this way, heartening considering that I think the intended audience isn't an adult one.

Ness writes well, making this a pleasure to read and it's satisfying in the way he handles his themes.

I don't particularly gravitate towards YA stuff, but this doesn't particularly talk down to you, so it is perfectly readable as an adult.

Recommended.
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on 4 November 2015
I don't quite know where to start with this book. First, let me say thank you to Amazon for being able to find it! Why was it so difficult? Because I happened to come across a digital billboard advert on the underground when it was released and could only remember two things. The book had a door on its cover and there was a boy drowning!

After some very meticulous Google searches, I managed to find this and bought this book immediately. Let me tell you, it was one of the most emotional, refreshing and gripping reads I've had of late, and I've not been able to find a book quite like this since.

The plot tugs at your heart so much but you feel for the characters you encounter. Suffice to say, you won't be able to put the book down the moment you pick it up!

Thank you Patrick Ness for a book that quite possibly blows Adult literature out the water, Young Adult fiction FTW.
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