I highly recommend you read this book, and I highly recommend you stop reading this review.
Why, might you ask, would a book reviewer ask you to stop reading their review? The reason is twofold: because a) I just finished reading literally 2 minutes ago and I’m kind of speechless and because b) to say anything at all might give it all away.
Recently, I read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and I loved it. More Than This was on my long list of books-to-read and I realized oh, hey, same author. Let’s give this a go. My sister, whose favourite book is A Monster Calls, told me she didn’t really like More Than This. I, on the other hand, absolutely adore it. Here’s why:
Reason Number One: Seth as a character. I love this kid. In fact, I love all of the characters introduced, but Seth is definitely my favourite. It is his guilt that fuels the story, which is similar to the guilt in A Monster Calls, but it’s used in a very different way. I felt what Seth felt the entire story. I felt his guilt and I felt his shame and I felt his love and I felt his confusion. Oh boy, did I feel his confusion. When writing a story like this, I think it’s extremely important that the readers and characters are equal confused, and try to understand this world together. I’m still confused, but in a way that is wholly satisfying because I feel like knowing ruins the purpose of this story. Which brings me to Reason Number Two: the themes. I won’t say anything about them, because I think it’s something you need to discover for yourself, but this book made me feel so much that it made me numb (these books tend to be my favourites– I like feeling empty after reading because I’m so full of emotion I can’t process anything). This book got me, and made me feel, just for a moment, that maybe life is worth all the pain.
Yes, okay, this book does come across as very similar, in some ways, to a popular franchise from the early 2000s (if you really want to know, it’s The Matrix) but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think Ness does enough to make this novel his own and I think the similarities just strengthen the importance of the story. Maybe it’s just because I’m into that kind of story and that kind of world, or maybe it’s because the book is good enough for it to not matter. Either way, I still found the novel to be unique, important, and refreshing.
Reason Number Three: Reading this is reading two novels in one. There are two stories going on, the “before” and “after” so to speak. These stories belong to two different genres, but they are woven together in a way that makes the entire book feel whole. Personally, I preferred one story above the other (it’s the before story) and would have loved just a novel about that, but I think without it, the after story would have been lacking. Both parts need each other, and both contribute to the overall theme of the work: it’s worth it. It’s always worth it.
So I love this book. Maybe I’m the only one, or maybe I’m a voice among thousands. Either way, pick it up, experience it for yourselves, and let its words and meaning seep into your soul. Maybe, if you’re lucky, it will impact you like it impacted me.
5 dreams out of 5.
(also, can I get a HELL YEAH for a gay protagonist in a story that isn’t entirely about the fact that he’s gay?)