Well I promised to tell you about the latest book I've been reading and believe me it's been well worth the time spent. MORE THAN THIS is an earlier work by Patrick Ness, an amazing writer who has won multiple awards including...
The Carnegie Prize for Childrens' Literature. Its start is a virtuoso description of a boy drowning in an icy sea, his head ultimately smashed on rocks which fracture his skull and sever his cerebral artery and spinal cord. It is quite plain he is dead. But he wakes, naked apart from some strange bindings, bruised and thirsty in a strange, deserted place. His exploration of this new world (the afterlife?) is intriguing in its detail, a landscape which is practically a deserted war zone, houses abandoned and decaying, a Marie Celeste scenario. It has for the young hero Seth, however, an odd familiarity. The few people he meets and ultimately befriends, are sympathetically drawn, one called Thomas in particular providing a strong vein of humour. He has constant flashbacks to his life before he drowned, remembering ultimately his little brother who had been abducted. He finally remembers why he tried to commit suicide, and begins to wonder, no hope that this afterlife is not all there is, that this might not be the end.
As well as his friends there are, of course, villains in this new world, the worst of them The Driver owing much to the Terminator, I would think. The final explanation and the denouement were, for me, a little disappointing, being now a fairly familiar sci-fi trope but undoubtedly ahead of its time at initial publication. The tale is heart-breaking, emotional and dark, and Seth’s feelings are beautifully drawn. It’s a story about forgiveness, friendship, hope and the unbelievable and with chapter endings so surprising you're scared to look ahead and spoil the reveal. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
About the Author
Patrick Ness was born in the USA, lived in London from 1999, and now lives in Los Angeles. He writes both novels and short stories for adults and children, but is best known for his books for young adults. His first books for teenagers make up the Chaos Walking trilogy, of which the first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize, followed by The Ask and the Answer, which won the Costa Award. All three titles in the trilogy were shortlisted for the prestigious Carnegie Medal, an unprecedented event, and in 2011 the third title, Monsters of Men, won the award. Patrick’s sixth book, A Monster Calls, was based on an original idea by Siobhan Dowd and illustrated by Jim Kay. It won every major prize in children’s fiction, including the Galaxy National Book Award, the UKLA Book Award and the Red House Children’s Book Award. In 2012 it became the first book ever to win both the Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal. Patrick has also written the screenplay for the film of A Monster Calls. The first film in the Chaos Walking series was released in 2021. Patrick Ness's critically-acclaimed novels include More Than This, The Rest of Just Live Here, Release, And the Ocean Was Our Sky and the latest, Burn, about a dragon who helps out on the family farm.