Gr 10 Up—Seth remembers dying. His remembers splitting his head on the rocks and drowning. But now he is awake again, naked and lost in his old home in England. Seth wanders the empty, desolate streets of town, eating spoiled food, looking for any signs of life, finally considering he may very well be in his own personal hell. When he attempts to sleep, his dreams are filled with vivid memories of despair. The memories are so terrible, in fact, that he begins to prefer this new world over the dreams, awful as it is. He's thinking about trying to end it all when he hears a car engine roar to life. Nick Podehl's expert narration portrays the characters' voices believably and with emotion. A few sexual situations and mild language make this appropriate for slightly older teens. Purchase where demand for dystopian fiction is high and Ness ("Chaos Walking" series) has a following. Listeners will be clamoring for a sequel.—Amanda Schiavulli, Finger Lakes Library System, NY
School Library Journal - Audio
Seth Wearing, age 16, dies in the opening pages of this complex, ambitious novel from Ness (A Monster Calls) and, arguably, that isn’t the worst thing that happens to him. After drowning, Seth awakens in the suburban London neighborhood where he lived before his family relocated to the Pacific Northwest. The old neighborhood is now a dust-covered ruin; there is no noise, no electricity, and, at first, not another soul around. Is this hell? A tortured dream? Seth’s search for understanding requires Ness to move between the unsettling present and Seth’s past, slowly revealing his sad childhood, his awful mother, and the bright spot in his young life—his relationship with schoolmate Gudmund. When even that romance ended in sorrow, Seth grasped for a reason to live. The Matrix-like science fiction elements of the story are somewhat fuzzy, and even the characters continually question the logic of the circumstances they are stuck in. But Ness’s exploration of big questions—specifically Seth’s yearning to find out if life will ever offer more than the rotten hand he’s been dealt—will provide solace for the right readers. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
This haunting and consistently surprising novel raises deep questions about what it means to be alive, but it doesn’t try to console readers with easy or pat answers. ... . A delicate balance between dystopian survival and philosophical grappling means that many different kinds of readers should appreciate the story.
—School Library Journal (starred review) Ness brilliantly plays with contrasts: life and death, privacy and exposure, guilt and innocence. In characteristic style, the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy delves into the stuff of nightmares for an existential exploration of the human psyche. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Compulsively readable... It is a very compelling, multidimensional story. —Library Media Connection Ness’ knack for cliff-hangers, honed in the Chaos Walking series, remains strong, while the spare, gradual, anytime, anyplace quality of the story recalls A Monster Calls ... Ness has crafted something stark and uncompromising. —Booklist This complex, genrebending book opens with Seth’s violent drowning death at sea, described in such spare but devastating detail that readers may feel themselves gasping for a breath as Seth draws his last. ... Ness subverts familiar sci-fi/survival tropes and storytelling conventions, leaving readers with an ambiguous ending... The thematic explorations of the nature of reality and the afterlife offer some heady discussion fodder, while the nail-biting tension and high-stakes action sequences make this an easy sell to the legions of dystopia fans as well. —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Ness leads readers on an adventure into a world that astounds and amazes. ... Ness captures the mind of a teenager perfectly. It is a fast-paced journey that even reluctant readers will pursue... —VOYA Ness is not only a good storyteller but an interesting prose stylist, and his latest effort is as provocative as ever. —The Horn Book Books are often described as ‘mind-blowing,’ but this is one of the few books in which, while reading it, I have exclaimed aloud, ‘Oh. My. God.’ on multiple occasions. I won’t tell you anything else about it. Just read it. —John Green It is a gorgeous story with masterful pacing and unforgettable passages. —The Boston Globe At times, More Than This is like a literary experiment that only by the grace and dedication of its creator resulted in a novel proper, but in the hands of a poised, perfectionist prose-smith like Patrick Ness, it’s rarely less than life-affirming. ... The author’s newest novel is riveting, edge-of-your-reading-seat stuff from beginning to end. —Tor.com Artsy, creepy, and full of psychological suspense... Ness specializes in writing post-apocalyptic worlds where things are rarely as they seem. ... The dizzying ending brings the characters to the narrow edge between inevitable outcomes and hope for second chances — and challenges readers to form their own conclusions. —BookPage [A] YA game-changer. It's provocative and philosophical, sweet and darkly funny, and destined to be discussed and debated. And there's not a vampire or a zombie lurking anywhere in its dystopian landscape. —Minneapolis Star Tribune
Gr 9 Up—This haunting and consistently surprising novel raises deep questions about what it means to be alive, but it doesn't try to console readers with easy or pat answers. As the story opens, teenage Seth is experiencing his own death in painful detail. In the next chapter, he wakes up physically weak, covered in bandages and strange wounds, and wonders if he is in Hell or the future or somewhere else entirely. As he tries to survive in and make sense of his strange yet familiar surroundings, he is plagued by intense flashbacks of his life before he died: his guilt over the tragedy that befell his little brother, his burgeoning romance with another boy in his small town, and the events that led to his (dubious) death. Upon discovering two other young people in the blighted place he's landed, Seth begins to learn the Matrix-like truth about what has happened to the rest of humanity, how he can escape, and whether he even wants to. The intense themes in this novel make it more appropriate for older teens, but the language and sexual scenarios are clear, relevant, and neither graphic or gratuitous. A delicate balance between dystopian survival and philosophical grappling means that many different kinds of readers should appreciate the story.—Kyle Lukoff, Corlears School, New York City
Seth, not yet 17, walks into the Pacific Ocean and ends his life. Or does he? He wakes, groggy, in front of the house in England where he spent his childhood, before his little brother, Owen, was kidnapped and the family moved to America. He spends days in a dust-covered, desolate landscape scavenging for food in empty stores, imagining that he's in a "hell built exactly for him." His dreams are filled with vivid memories of his life: his romance with a boy named Gudmund, a photo that's gone viral, and farther back, his inability to keep Owen safe. Seth is rescued by a girl named Regine and Tomasz, a younger, Polish boy, from pursuit by a silent, helmeted figure they call the Driver. Past and present collide as Seth struggles to determine what's real and what isn't, whether circumstances are all of his own doing. He faces doorways everywhere, with genuine death seemingly just beyond, but there are hints of something even more sinister going on. There are no easy answers either for Seth or readers. With a nod to Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Ness brilliantly plays with contrasts: life and death, privacy and exposure, guilt and innocence. In characteristic style, the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy delves into the stuff of nightmares for an existential exploration of the human psyche. (Fiction. 14 & up)