Top positive review
16 people found this helpful
Here is the boy, drowning
on 20 October 2013
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.