the miniaturist

Growing Up, Getting Less Than What You Expected, and Canned Food: More Than This by Patrick Ness Book Review

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Tea and Paperbacks, posting every Monday. In this post, I would like to share with you my thoughts on an amazing book, More Than This by Patrick Ness. This review is spoiler free!

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Patrick Ness, oh man, where do I begin? This is my fifth Patrick Ness book, and I am still begging for more. I bought this book at Book Depository last year because I just knew I would love it. The story starts with our main character Seth dying, and then waking up in his old house he hasn’t set foot in years. He discovers he’s alive, but couldn’t find any other human being in the neighbourhood. It’s hard to define the genre of this novel: its a mix of young adult, dystopian, but also has a deeper meaning and content inside.

Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher:Walker Books Ltd
Date Published: May 2014
Num of Pages: 480
Date Read: 9th March, 2017
Goodreads Link
Book Depository Link

This story was very different from what I expected. Well firstly, I didn’t really expect much from this book, I didn’t even read the premise other than what was written on the back of the book. I just knew that it was Patrick Ness, and that I’m pretty sure I would love it, just as I had loved all his other books. I mean, literally ALL. This is a young adult novel, and it has aspects of a dystopian novel that I would probably dislike if someone else had written it. Lately I’ve been in the mood for something more on the adult fiction side, more literary and developed than an action-packed, romance-packed book like the ones I used to love 5 years ago. Yet this book was able to just captivate me and make me not want to stop reading it.

Throughout the first part of the book, the character we find is only Seth. However even with reading about Seth exploring the new world he’s in, we also get glimpses of his past, we got to know him really really well and it made us feel like we don’t really need to have other characters. I will not discuss what happens in the last parts of the book, but I can assure you that it gets even better after that.

“I don’t believe in guardian angels,” Regine says seriously. “Just people who are there for you and people who aren’t.” (p.446)

The plot of the book moves slowly at first, but then picks up quickly by the middle. At the end, it’s so filled with twists and turns and there was almost never any time for the characters to actually have some time to rest. It has the The Knife of Never Letting Go aspects, in which it’s so filled with so many experiences back to back, that it’s both thrilling and also tiring. For some people it might not be their type of stories, but I loved it! Sure sometimes it got a little tiring to read, but most of the time, I just couldn’t take my eyes off the pages, wanting to read more.

You said we all want there to be more than this! Well, there’s always more than this. There’s always something you didn’t know. Maybe your parents didn’t love you enough, and that sucks, yes, it does, but maybe it wasn’t because you were bad. Maybe it was just because the worst thing in the world had happened to them and they weren’t able to deal with it. (p.368)

There are so many different themes that were explored in this book that were perfectly portrayed. From internal problems with the characters, like feelings of regret and sadness, to self-hatred and depression. Also relationships between the characters with others, like familial relationships, discovering your sexuality, your love for your parents but also your dislike towards them. It’s all so complicated and in the end as you read it in this book, nobody is really the “good guy” or the “bad guy”, the “villain” or the “hero”. Everyone is just human, with their own issues and insecurities, and everyone makes mistakes. Parents do the best they can, teenagers have problems that they think are huge but might not be that important compared to others. There also that feeling everyone gets, that hope for our lives to have something more than we already have, something more than this. It was all discussed in this book, and it’s educational and eye-opening but at the same time entertaining. On the other hand, there’s also the underlying knowledge of the possibility of escaping reality, a touch of science fiction on top of the realistic obstacles the characters faced, the possibility that in the future, such a technology exists where you can create a whole new world of your own.

It’s amazing how Patrick Ness can cram all these up into a single book, a young adult book that contains a lot of action, great dialogue and writing style, plus excellent characters (and character development). It has an amazing premise and the whole idea was executed brilliantly. I enjoyed every second I spent reading this book.

4 stars

What do you think of More Than This? Are you a fan of Patrick Ness? Let me know in the comments! Until the next post, see you!

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Bookaholics Anonymous Tag

Hey everyone and welcome back to my blog, Tea and Paperbacks! I’m Ayunda, and today I realized that over a month has passed since the last time I posted a book tag, which is quite interesting! I feel like it’s both a conscious decision to try and post more original content on the blog, but also unconscious because who doesn’t love book tags? Anyway, I was recently tagged by Rose @ Rose Read for this book tag, and I’m just gonna jump straight into the questions.

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1. What do you like about buying new books?

The smell, the feel of the smooth unopened pages, and the fact that I actually own that book is basically enough for me to be happy after buying a new book.

2. How often do you buy new books?

I try to order two or less per month, but sometimes I’d go to Amsterdam and explore the secondhand bookstores there, or find an amazing buy and I’d immediately buy it.

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3. Bookstore or online book shopping – which do you prefer?

Bookstore, although most of the time nowadays I’d browse through an online bookstore first and decide what I really wanna buy, then go to the bookstore to buy it. But for the whole vibe of it, I’d say bookstores.

4. Do you have a favorite bookshop?

There are three bookshops near my area, which is amazing, but two of them sell a majority of Dutch books so my favourite is probably the one that sells most English books. The name of the bookstore is the American Book Center, which is a famous bookstore in the Netherlands. I also could spend hours in their secondhand area upstairs.

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5. Do you preorder books?

Not that often, I didn’t preorder a single book for the last two years and only ordered one this year.

6. Do you have a monthly book buying limit?

I try to not buy more than 3 books a month, but some months I won’t buy a single books and other months I’d buy 5 books but they’d all be good bargains so no, I don’t have a specific limit.

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7. Book buying bans – Are they something for you?

Nope. It feels a little like a diet, that moment when you’d eat healthy or less for a whole month and then have a “cheat day” where you can eat basically anything for a day. Which makes me feel like you’re basically just keeping all your urge to buy books pent up inside and in the end it will burst out and give horrible effects to you. I just believe in self preservation and the penniless situation of uni students lol.

8. How big is your wishlist?

Huuuuugeeee. My TBR shelf isn’t that big, but my Book Depository wishlist is considered large for me. I recently did a TBR Unhaul post though, where I browse through my wishlists and remove books that I feel like I don’t wanna read or buy anymore.

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9. Which three books from your wishlist do you wish to own NOW?

  1. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
  2. Night Film by Marisha Pessl
  3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated Edition by JK Rowling

10. Tagging?

I’m not in the mood to tag anyone, so I’ll just tag YOU if you want to do this tag!

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Header image by Helga McL @ Etsy

Books Around the World Tag

This was originally a tag called Around the World in YA Books but I’d like to twist it a little bit and change it into general books around the world! I was tagged by The Orangutan Librarian and Book Snacks!

The rules are to list a country and show which of your favourite books are set in that country. For this tag I don’t just include books I’ve read and loved but also books that I really want to read.

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cover1Alaska, USA

I don’t mention this book often – in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this book at all in this blog – and I don’t think anyone in the book blog community has ever mentioned this book but a particular book that is set in Alaska and really stuck to my mind is Caribou Island by Davin Vann. I had the opportunity to see him talk in a Reader’s Festival in Ubud several years ago and he was super fun! The novel itself is about a man’s journey to finding himself with his family and living in Alaska.

Beijing, China

This is probably not a surprise for you guys and you’ve probably heard me talking about this book many times but a book set in China (at least future China) is Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

cover3Venice, Italy

Ever since I read The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke when I was young, it has been my dream to visit Venice. In the book it was told to be such a beautiful place, and I still want to go there.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Yay! I’m living in The Netherlands but I’m so ashamed to say that I haven’t read a single book set in the country. One of the books on my TBR is The Miniaturist by Jesse Burton, I’ve heard it’s set in Amsterdam and is supposed to be really good.

cover4Stockholm, Sweden

You probably know what I’m talking about here, and it is the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first book of the Millenium series written by Stieg Larsson, a Swedish writer. It’s a crime novel consisting of some excellent characters and fantastic plot, I’ve only read the first two books but I’m planning on completing the series someday.

Kyoto, Japan

A quite recent read, Memoirs of a Geisha is a historical fiction novel written by William Golding about the life of a geisha from her early life to her rise to fame as a geisha living in Kyoto during the war. It’s written beautifully and you can really feel the vibe of the different parts of the city in this novel.

cover5Edinburgh, England

Another book I’ve only recently read, and I know there are tons of novels set in England, but I’d just like to highlight this particular book because this has stuck in my mind as a very memorable book ever since I read it a couple of months ago. And that book is The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. Lovely book, it has time travel, it has great characters and the writing is wonderful.

Pthia, Greece

The Song of Achilles is a novel written by Madeline Miller and it’s a retelling of a famous Greek story. It involves some famous Greek heroes and the setting feels very Greece to me. It makes me want to go there even more. And the story itself is just beautiful, and I actually made a review about the novel.

cover6Vienna

I read this book a long, long time ago so I don’t remember exactly which city in Vienna it is set in but I remember getting really lovely vibes from this book and loving it. It’s a children’s novel titled The Star of Kazan and written by Eva Ibbotson, it’s a gorgeous book and it is somewhat very memorable to me until now, even though I haven’t read this book in ages. When I think about Vienna, I think about this novel to be honest.

Vermont, USA

Again, there are dozens and dozens of books in my radar that are set in America. But this particular book is a really recent read, and is probably one of my favourite books I read in 2015. It is The Secret History by Donna Tartt, and it is set in a university in Vermont. Amazing book, you should all check it out if you haven’t.

Kabul, Afghanistan

The Kite Runner is probably one of the most beautifully touching books I’ve ever read in my life. It’s such a wonderful story about friendship and family during the war in Afghanistan written by Khaled Hosseini, and even years after reading it I can still remember the feeling of the story. It’s an amazing book and the setting, both time and place, was just perfect.

cover8Jakarta, Indonesia

A little shameless promotion of my own homeland here, and there are quite some amazing books I’ve read set in my country Indonesia, but Pulang (or Home in English) is a novel written by Leila Chudori which has already been translated into English. It is about people affected during some dark events in Indonesia’s history who are forced to flee the country and live in Europe. Nevertheless, some parts of the book were set in Jakarta and it’s just a wonderful book and I urge you all to check it out if you are interested to learn more about the history and culture of Indonesia while also reading a really good book with excellent plot!

And now, I will tag:

Those are some of the books set in different places in the world! I love this tag so much, it’s super fun to make and I really think that setting is an important part of a book. I love reading novels that aren’t just set in the regular places like New York or London. Not that I dislike books set there, it’s just I am really interested in reading books that are set in unique places. What are your thoughts on the books I’ve mentioned? Any of the places you’ve been to?

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