More Than This was introduced to me as being a dystopia. As I started reading, I was puzzled. It wasn't a dystopia until past halfway into the book. All along the way I was asking myself, "Well then, how would you describe it?" I couldn't answer my own question. Because More Than This is precisely that unique. There's no other book like it. And that alone makes it a book worth reading.
From the first page, More Than This draws you in. Seth drowns and then... wakes up. All alone in an abandoned world. The beginning is a bit slow, because through flashbacks, you gradually find out what happened to Seth before his death and who he is. Meanwhile, he... eats and sleeps. Yeah, the first part of the book wasn't exactly the best. While I did feel some strange pull to keep reading, to find out exactly what happened and desperate for clues as to where he was, I did think it was rather annoying that there were so many flashbacks. It really toed the acceptable line for me, because at a certain point I just want to move FORWARD and not keep looking back. However, what those flashbacks revealed was truly heartbreaking, so I didn't mind as much as I otherwise would. I just had so much sympathy for Seth.
Seth's previous life was truly interesting, and I want to give props in particular to the romance. Okay, I debated whether or not to write this, because it's not like a massive spoiler, but it surprised me and that made me quite happy. But others have not been regarding at a spoiler, so whatever. Seth is actually gay. And he had a boyfriend, and... it was all so normal. Like, it wasn't a big thing. It was just a part of his life. And it wasn't a major plot point. It didn't define his character. This, authors, this is how I want to see LGBT representation in books. It made me so freaking happy. I was practically jumping for joy.
Anyway, at a certain point, the flashbacks mostly end and the action kicks in. Damn the mindfuckery and high paced action of this book. It became a pageturner. I was desperate for answers, and it was all just so awesome. I read the last 100 pages or so in the 1.5 hour commute on the way home. I'm a pretty slow reader, so that is massive for me. Anyway, Seth gets some sidekicks in Tomasz and Regine and even though these secondary characters arrive late in the game, they are awesome and well-developed. I particularly fell for Tomasz. That little boy... so adorable.
More Than This is a book that you'll definitely not want to read alone. Because when you're done, it's the kind of book you want to discuss. It doesn't spell everything out for you, and certain elements are entirely up to your own interpretation. Plus, the uniqueness begs for discussion. In that case, I was very happy that this sort of by accident became the first read of my book club. Of course, when we met up, all of like 10 minutes was spent actually discussing the book, but it was nice to get some other ideas from other people, particularly regarding the ending. That ending, man. I felt it coming, to be honest. While reading, I picked up hints of similarities to The Matrix and Inception, and I just knew what we would end up with. I was right. And that would probably be my other disappointment with the book. I mean, it fit the story, but I like an ending with... a bit more substance. But I did like that it would initiate such discussions. Um. Yeah, I'm torn. Can you tell?
While I wouldn't label this book as an absolute favorite, it was an absolutely great reading experience. I had no idea where the story was going, there were a ton of twists, and I was desperate to get to the ending. It was a wild ride. For representing LGBT so well, Patrick Ness gets massive props from me. And after knowing how engrossing his writing style can be, how his characters can touch my heart, and how unpredictable and unique his stories can be, I went out and bought The Knife of Never Letting Go. Finally giving into that. Yes, Daph. You're proud of me. I know. But yeah, this book has convinced me of his greatness for sure.
Anyone in the mood for something different, intense, and loaded with mindfuckery.