More than This by Patrick Ness | Book Review (May Contain Spoilers)

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Publishing Date: May 1st 2014
Pages:  480 pages
Goodreads Link: x
Book Depository Link: x

This is the first of Patrick Ness’ books I have been able to really get in to. I attempted to read The Knife of Never Letting Go and just couldn’t get into it. However, the way More Than This is written is intelligent and I enjoyed it.

My favourite aspect about the writing of the story is that it is a journey, not only for the protagonist but for the reader as well. It begins with a description of a boy (who is unnamed at this point) dying in the ocean. The reader is not aware of the nature of his death or anything about the boy at all, other than he is dead. By the end of the novel, I felt as if I had learnt about the boy and the events which lead him to his death. By writing in this style, Ness is allowing himself to drop little bits of information in throughout the story, from the character’s name (Seth) to the facts about his life (his relationships with various people etc.)

Seth wakes up in the English street he grew up in (before moving to America) and he comes the conclusion that this is his own personal hell. He is aware that he has died but is still a little confused. After struggling with survival (and somewhat traumatic/torturing dreams of his life) he means Regine and Tomasz – another two who have died and are in this so called ‘hell.’ They explained that they are constantly running from and hiding from The Driver – who will take their bodies to keep them alive. A lot of the book is these three characters being attacked or attacking The Driver before he reappears, not dead. In a nutshell, that is the book but there is a lot of character building in it. 

Unsurprisingly, I also liked the LGBT representation in the book, especially as Seth was gay yet it wasn’t his main character feature (something I feel needs to happened more in novels.) I am unable to recall whether Seth explicitly refers to Gudmund as his boyfriend, the relationship they have is there and it’s good to see.

I also love the other representation this book has with characters from a variety of countries and cultures. We have Regine, who is a girl of colour and feisty, although to begin with I didn’t like her attitude, when I found out her story and background, I knew she was completely justified in acting in the way she did. There is also Tomasz who is a young Polish boy, who is completely adorable. His English in the book is very good yet still a little broken, which adds a sense of realism to the story. Both of these characters have both died in unfair and arguably brutal ways. 

The only notable problem I had was that at one point in the book. Regine, a female character who I had thought was able to handle herself, needed saving by the other characters in the novel, who happened to be guys. I understand that this is a little minor detail but I need to find more novels with young ladies handling their own problems.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. I was not overwhelmed nor underwhelmed with it, but nonetheless I enjoyed it. Through this book, Ness is able to alert the reader to real life topics such as the treatment of LGBT people, the abuse of young people and the views of immigrants. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs to read something that is chilling yet can warm your heart as well.


My Top 5: Showtunes

If you know me then you’ll know that I am a big fan of musicals. I thoroughly enjoy theatre trips with my friend and then listening to cast recording for weeks on end. I have been very fortunate in the last couple of years and have seen a good collection of shows in the West End but other than that I do like listening to other Broadway Musicals at home in the comfort of my room. If I see any musicals or plays this year (I am seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in February) I will most likely write a review.

Anyway let’s get on with the list and see how hard this is:
(I have made sure each song is from a different musical )

Step One from Kinky Boots
As a musical, Kinky Boots is way up there in my favourites. I brought my girlfriend and myself tickets for her birthday and I was thoroughly blown away by everything (as I often am when I see a show) but I love this song. Killian Donnelly (who played Charlie when I saw the show) did an incredible job in the role. This song is an extremely great feel good song and I often find myself singing it in my room or the shower.  The whole sound of this song just makes me happy and uplifts me. I highly recommend that you listen to it.

Right Hand Man from Something Rotten
OH MY GOODNESS THIS SONG. I feel like I could live my feelings about this song here but this song is sung by one of the most strong women in musical theatre, Bea Bottom. This character has also been described as the first feminist and that makes me giggle. On the cast album this is sung by Heidi Blickenstaff and I have no shame in admitting that I love that woman. Her voice is incredible and I love listening to her sing. I love it.

Astonishing from Little Women
This is such a feel good song for me and I love it. It’s incredibly powerful and I cannot even begin to imagine what it’s like to see the song performed live. I’m blown away by Sutton Foster on the cast recording, she’s got such a strong voice, it’s incredible. Again, this song holds a lot emotion and I just love it!

Thank Goodness from Wicked
This song is beautiful as the opening of Act 2 of Wicked. The thing I love about this song is that it truly shows emotion. It is probably the first time the audience (or listener) see Glinda struggling. She’s loved and appears to be enjoying where her life stands but as the song progresses she begins to reveal the truth and how she feels about the situation with Elphaba. Not only Glinda’s development but we learn more about Fiyero and the community that surrounds them. Again, it’s another good song to belt.

Secondary Characters from [title of show]
Unsurprisingly this contains another appearance from Heidi Blickenstaff (I told you, I love that woman) and Susan Blackwell. This song is just a whole load of fun and again, I can imagine it being better when performed live. I just adore the fun this song provides and I recently discovered this song and, yes, another good belter.


"Any New Year’s Resolutions?"

So, we’re 8 days into the new year and I have been asked, as I’m sure many of you have, the above question…

“Any New Years Resolutions?”

Usually, I don’t bother; as in previous years, I didn’t really get the excitement of changing a number when I write the date down. Whilst I still somewhat hold that view on New Years, I decided this year that changing the number at the end of the year was actually a good time to try and improve my lifestyle and set a few goals.

Before I go into the list, I’m going to say that none of these are to ‘be happier’ or anything like that because firstly, that kind of statement relatively broad and vague and it can take a lot to actually be happier for some people, thus making it harder.

So, here we go:

  1. Drink more water and cut the amount of sugary drinks in my life – A couple of year ago, I went through a drinking more water stage and I felt better and it improved my lifestyle. It’s one of the little things that I can change to make my life healthier. People who know me personally will know that there is a certain brand of sugary drink which I’m partial to and my family have encouraged me to cut it out for January – which I think I shall attempt to do.
  2. Read 25 books – Last year, according to my Goodreads I read 18 books, and although 25 may seem a little ambitious in comparison to that figure but in the summer I intend to read many many books, including more non-fiction because I love it at the moment. Any suggestions? Please let me know!
  3. Post a blog post every week –  I am determined to keep this blog running as much as I can. So, depending on circumstances, I will be posting something every week, whether it is a chatty post, my writing or reviews. I will post!
I’m sure there are other smaller goals that I wish to achieve this year but those are a few starting points. I hope you all have had a good start to the new year and have a successful and happy 2017!