Saturday, August 8, 2009
by Michael Grant
I ate this book all up. Then after devouring it, I started wondering why I ate it so quickly.
Gone is the first novel of the "Gone" Series, which has 6 books planned. The second book, Hunger, is already out. The story starts when suddenly, everyone over the age of 14 disappears. Poof. Gone. One second there, next second gone, leaving only kids to fend for themselves. Of course, some sort of 'system' is created, with bullies trying to take control, but this isn't the only problem. Mutations seem to be happening to some kids, as they develop "Powers" (such as super speed, creating light, telekinesis). Also, animals seem to be mutating quickly too, with coyotes talking, and snakes flying. Sam Temple, a 14 year old kid, and his friends Astrid, Quinn, and a few others are one of the many people stuck in the perfect sphere where the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone, area where the adults have all poofed) is. The group has to try and stop the ruthless Coates (private school, kinda mean kids) from taking over the FAYZ. Along the way, secrets are discovered, and the "art" of poofing is also studied.
This summary is pretty bad, but the main thing is that all the adults are gone, and kids are left alone. After reading it, I felt I could kinda (very faintly) relate this to a lot of different novels. The situation reminds me of Lord of the Flies, the characters are like those from Unwind, and the Powers remind me of Graceling and Eragon. I don't think Grant consciously copied any of these books, but if you enjoyed these, you might like Gone.
Like the first sentence stated, I just kinda ate up the whole book, but I didn't really like it. It was quite long (558 pages), and I felt it could have been developed better. There were flipping of character focuses that I felt weren't exactly needed (like Albert), and I felt some characters weren't that dynamic, but this is excusable since the book only covers 12 days.
The plot was okay, but only because I feel as if it's so familiar, especially with the LotF "kids left alone to govern themselves" thing. The tyrant, the geek, the hero, the ruthless boy, all seem a bit familiar, if not stereotypical (only a tiny tiny bit!!).
Like I said, the situation Sam was in reminded me a lot of Connor from Unwind, with the "good hero" who everyone loves against the "bad guy who want power", but the good hero doesn't really want to do anything about it.
Also, I didn't like the romance aspect. It was very poorly developed in my honest opinion, and I felt that Astrid was only attracted to Sam because of his actions, not because of who he is. I liked how Grant included some romance, but I just didn't think it was as good as it could have been.
7.5/10 - because I barely put it down, and it was "captivating". However, when I think back on it, I didn't like it that much. The writing was okay, the plot was decent, and the characters were only okay. There are a lot of people who would probably love it though. I'm probably gonna read the (equally long) sequel though, just to see what happens. I'm interested to see where this series goes, and I feel it may become quite popular. Give it a chance, if you like those futuristic books and whatnot.
Here's a link to another book review over at The YAYAYAs. (click here)