December 1st, 2013

Book with cat 5

Book #48: More Than This

More Than This by Patrick Ness.

After finishing Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy, I wanted to read more by him. More Than This is his latest book (released last month), so I bought a copy.

Based on the prologue, I thought I'd love it even more than I did Walking. You can go to the Amazon page and click the "Click to look inside!" cover image on the left to read it. (Warning: Character death. It's a description of the main character dying.) It was so intense and realistic, and the main character died! How exciting!

Unfortunately the rest of the book in no way held up to that start. It seemed like such a good idea for a story (what happens to the boy after he dies? Or did he really die? Or what was happening just his memories as he died?). The first 50% was so slow and pointless. It could have all been told in one chapter, maybe stretched to two. Nothing came out in it other than some backstory for the main character. Nothing plottish at all.

Then suddenly at the 60% point there was a major twist. [Twist might not be the right word for it. Suddenly the whole entire world was different. Spoiler.]Out of the blue, with no warning or build up, it came out that in fact there was no world, everyone basically retreated online and lived their whole life there, their bodies left in giant coffins. I say 'out of the blue', but in fact one of the other characters somehow figured it out. No rhyme or reason to her knowing, she just did even though no one could have known about it.

There was also a subplot about a character chasing the kids, popping up out of the blue nearly on top of them over and over. Kind of ironic, since there was an Amazon comment criticizing that happening in the Chaos Walking trilogy. Since it was done in this book, maybe it was done in those books as well and I just missed it.

I got to the 75% point before I gave up. The "twist" felt so cheap and annoying, no lead up to it, no possible way to guess it, it felt dishonest. I didn't like the characters and didn't buy any of them as real. I even less bought the world as real. The whole book just didn't work for me, no matter how much I wanted to like it.

Second best version of Little Drummer Boy

I'm not big on Christmas. Long story, holidays were bad when I was a child, blah blah blah. As a side effect of that, I really, really dislike most Christmas music. I try not to be grumpy about it, but it still bothers me deep down. There are only two songs I like: Little Drummer Boy and Gloria in Excelsis Deo.

This version of Little Drummer Boy is beautiful! I can't believe their voices.

Related question: Does anyone know how you can tell if something has been autotuned? Their voices are so perfect and beautiful, I wonder how real that is. (Edit: Apparently this group, Pentatonix, won The Sing-Off on NBC, so they're probably real.)

Gloria in excelsis Deo is such a beautiful sounding phrase, it makes me wish I knew Latin.

Added bonus! Tonight only! In Excelsis Deo is the title of an episode of West Wing. Here's a video of President Bartlet from it ranting in Latin. (Latin starts at 1:12, but it's really worth watching the whole thing.)

His character was such an intelligent president. Oh how I wish he were real.