Purchase on: Amazon, iBooks,
Add to: Goodreads
Here is the boy, drowning.
A story built around false truths and a misinterpretation of life, we start this story not knowing where our main character is or where he will end up. We don’t know if he’s truly dead or truly alive, inbetween life and death or in Hell. But we saw him die….didn’t we?
“I wanted so badly for there to be more. I ached for there to be more than my crappy little life.”
I’m no beginner to Ness’s dark style of writing, so I was fully prepared when I started this one. Not quite sure what to expect, I went in with an open mind and a hopeful attitude that I would fall in love with another of his stories.
While I didn’t add another to my favorites shelf like his Chaos Walking trilogy, I did get to experience another expertly written novel that had me on my toes the entire time.
He really is alone in whatever hell this is.
Completely and utterly alone.
Solitude. Solitude shapes the entire story. I can’t even begin to explain the depression our main character feels because of this common thread, and I won’t try. Why? There is literally no way to give anyone a synopsis without either giving something away or confusing them more. But I CAN focus on themes and other areas, so I will attempt to talk about those areas instead.
But then he thinks, No. Because you can die before you’re dead, too.
As Seth starts trying to figure things out and move forward with whatever he is supposed to be doing, we start to see his demeanor slowly become unhinged. Seeing flashbacks everytime he falls asleep (or is he really in the moment, reliving it because of it’s vital importance?) we start to see how he was in that freezing ocean in the first place.
The loneliness. In his accumulating exhaustion, the terrible loneliness of this place swamps him, just like the waves he drowned in.
No one here. No one at all besides him. No one.
Getting darker as the story progresses, we wonder how anything good can possibly come from anything that can possibly happen. But, even within the darkest of the dark moments, Ness has a heart-you can see it in everything he writes, see it in every ink-stained page he has produced-his characters always have such big hearts and always burst with so much passion, and even though he’s the reason for many harsh events within his novels, you can’t help but see how strong the characters become because of these events and why Ness chose to do these things in the first place. We see the effects of carrying a burden and how it influences our most important life decisions, making this another story where we learn a lesson while we’re being entertained.
Billions and billions of stars. Billions and billions of worlds. All of them, all those seemingly endless possibilities, not fictional, but real, out there, existing, right now. There is so much more out there than just the world he knows, so much more than his tiny Washington town, so much more than even London. Or England. Or Hell for that matter.
I undoubtedly loved the story and all the mystery surrounding every page. I was pulled in and fell hard once again for the obvious breaks and abrupt cuts at the end of sentences that purposely leave us in the dark and wondering what the character was going to say, adding more to the mystery. It’s like one of those movies that keeps adding layers that confuse you and keep you asking, ‘where does he come up with this shit?!’. It’s amazing and unbelievable at the same time, but he never makes you feel like you can’t or won’t ever understand-he never makes you feel unintelligent. We are all just a part of the game.
A book… it’s a world all on its own too. A world made of words, where you live for a while.
Overall I really enjoyed this story. I do feel it was a little over the top at times, making it hard to guess what was behind the next cornerat every turn. It eventually started making since, but was a little too much before we got to that point. I still laughed, teared up, felt deeply, and enjoyed characters who I won’t name immensely, even if things were stagnant at times. The action gradually escalated, making for a fantastic finale that had me on the edge of my seat and begging for more. I will continue to watch for new work from Ness, and I will always be wowed by the intricately layered worlds and characters he creates. If you haven’t read a novel by him, I encourage you to do so-you’re missing out.