by Patrick Ness

Reviewer Rating:
4

Review

Rolling in the sea, muscles contracting with cold, drowning -- so begins our acquaintance with 16-year-old Seth.  Dying, he leaves one reality for an alternate, horrific one in the desolated, unpopulated English village of his birth ... a place Seth hasn't lived in years.  Why is he here?  Where is everyone?  As Seth slowly recalls the brutal events that brought him to death in a frigid ocean, he begins to question the nature of reality and comprehend the ambiguity of human motivation and action.  Ness's existentialist theme is innovatively presented, but his characters make this a compelling and memorable read.  Seth and his friends feel real, as does his family, but the stars are the three individuals he meets in his "own personal hell" of an afterlife -- a young woman struggling to come to terms with her own death, a clever boy with issues of his own, and "The Driver" the mysterious humanoid whose sole purpose is to return them to their coffins ...

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