I just finished what is either one of the coolest books, or the most frustrating books ever. What is this book that inspires such conflicting feelings? More Than This by Patrick Ness is a book that has been sitting in my e-reader tbr pile for a long time, along with a bunch of other books by this author. I have heard lots of good things about this guy, and the yellow door on the cover of this book made it the one I picked up. As always SPOILERS AHEAD, and by spoilers I mean ALL the SPOILERS so if you ever plan on reading this book, read it first and then read this post, because a huge part of this book is the not knowing so again, you are warned SPOILERS AHEAD!
Prologue - We start the book with a boy drowning. He is in a cold sea and though he struggles to stay alive, in the end the ocean wins and after slamming the boy against the rocks he dies.
Part 1 - The boy, who's name is Seth wakes up confused, scared and in pain. He stumbles around trying to make sense of the fact that he is seemingly alive, even though he can remember drowning. After finally getting his bearings, he realizes he is in his old childhood home in England, even though he and his family moved to America years before. He discovers that his house and the whole town have been completely abandon for at least a couple of years. There is no signs of life anywhere and everything is falling apart. He falls asleep and has super vivid dreams of his past, both childhood and recent. This happens through out this part of the book and we find out two major events in his life. The first being when he was about 8 and living in this home, his mother left him and 4 year old brother home alone for a few minutes. While she was gone, an escaped prisoner from the prison behind their home convinced Seth to let him in. The prisoner kidnaps his little brother Owen and though he is finally recovered, he needs a lot of therapy. This results in the family moving to Washington state and Seth feeling like they blame him for Owen's issues. The other big event is after he and his friend Gudmund fall in love, a picture of the two of them is leaked and they are forced apart by Gudmund's parents. Seth becomes a pariah at school and it is all too much for him. In between these vivid dreams, Seth finds all the supplies he needs to survive. He also discovers a weird dusty coffin in his old room with tubes and stuff inside. At this point Seth decides that this is his own personal Hell and that it is his punishment. He goes a bit crazy and starts running through the ruined town and sees a black van driving around.
Part 3 - Seth runs to a church where he finds a graveyard and his brothers grave. Turns out his brother was not recovered, but instead he was murdered by the escaped convict. After being told this, an official type person tells his parents about Lethe, a program that lets you forget your former life and restart in the online world. Unfortunately their is only so much they can do to alter the brain so while they can get Owen "back" they cannot erase all the events, thus the story of his kidnapping and recovery. The official tells them eventually everybody will be forced online because the state of the world is in such bad shape. They agree and are put online. This seems to confirm the theory that Regine and Tomasz came up with, but something is still bugging Seth. He feels like everything is unfolding like a story, that he keeps getting rescued, just in time, or he finds just the supplies he needs, he is having a hard time completely accepting the present reality. He theorizes that while the online reality may be true, this might also be a way for his mind to deal with death, or maybe an alien experiment, or, well who knows.
Part 4 - Seth decides that now that he has the truth, he is going to go back into the coffin before his death, not die, and tell all the onliners the truth. Regine and Tomasz are against it at first, but end up supporting him. On their way back to Seth's house to use his coffin, he has a feeling that even though they have defeated the Driver, if this was a story, he would appear one last time. Sure enough, the melted, twisted body of the Driver appears and essentially all but kills Seth and then brings him back to life before being disintegrated by Tomasz in one more miraculous save. Seth decides it doesn't matter if this is real or not, he has to do something and to try and live the best he can. He gets into the coffin saying to his friends "I'm ready".
How do you feel about ambiguous endings? What ending do you think is the real one? Is this finally a way to give me an ending I don't have a huge problem with?