More Than This by Patrick Ness, reviewed by Tony Bradman
GuardianPatrick Ness is very, very good at beginnings. I thought it would be hard to match the opening line of The Knife of Never Letting Go: “The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs dont got nothing much to say.” But he managed it in the second and third books of the Chaos Walking trilogy, as well as in the multi-award-winning A Monster Calls. Now hes outdone himself. His latest novel for teenagers starts with a sentence that had me instantly hooked: “Here is the boy, drowning.”
I have a feeling More Than This might cause a few collywobbles among some grown-ups because it features a gay relationship, so I suppose that puts it firmly in Young Adult territory. There’s nothing explicit, though, just Ness’s trademark tenderness for his characters, good and bad. It does have a couple of flaws – it’s a bit long and the characters talk a lot, especially in the second half. That’s OK, though, because what they say is interesting even when it slows things down.
And yes, Ness is very, very good at endings, too – this one has a corker. I might just have to start a collection of his last lines, as well as his first.