Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Gone by Michael Grant

Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 558
Release Date: June 24th, 2008
Source: Oyster (subscription based service)

The first in New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant's breathtaking dystopian, sci-fi saga, Gone is a page-turning thriller that invokes the classic The Lord of the Flies along with the horror of Stephen King.

In the blink of an eye, everyone disappears. Gone. Except for the young.
There are teens, but not one single adult. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents--unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers--that grow stronger by the day. It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else...

Michael Grant's Gone as been praised for its compelling storytelling, multidimensional characters, and multiple points of view.

Gone was a promising book when I first picked it up. Set in Perdido Beach, California, the books starts with everyone over 15-years old disappearing, leaving teens and children behind to fend for themselves. As if that isn't enough, strange things have begun happening to individuals in this area. Kids are getting powers, animals are mutating, and no one can escape the giant wall that has enclosed them. This had all of the makings to be a fun novel.

Unfortunately, there was just TOO much going on for me. An apocalypse plus super powers could have been a full plate alone. Then everything keeps escalating from there. Why not make freaky animals attack them? Oh wait, how can they beat disappearing when they turn 15? What happens when bullies get out of hand? And then we throw in sinister forces and start a war in this fragile society. I can't even list all of it without giving away spoilers. 

I guess I wouldn't have minded so much if there weren't so many new problems coming up, without any answers to them. For such a long book, more should have been resolve by the end, or there should have been a more tangible theory on what exactly was going on here. It felt like we were given an impossible survival situation, and I just don't enjoy that as a reader. After awhile, I just started to mentally check out because the scenario just felt far too hopeless.

When I read a book, I want to feel like there is a problem that can be solved, or there is something that can be done. This book just kept spiraling into chaos, though, and I didn't feel like it would ever pull out. The monstrosity of some of these kids seems a little overkill, and there were too many dangers to really try grasping. When people start spontaneously disappearing, we get crazy things like cars careen off roads, stoves being left on and babies suddenly abandoned. It seems like dumb luck nothing worse happened in those instances. 
None of these kids know how to make food, there is no access to more production, and I don't understand how all the utilities keep running despite all the adults disappearing. Then we had to throw in some romance, which felt sudden and strange in the places it popped up.

Lana's side of the story was sort of interesting, but in the end of the book even that disappeared randomly. We get caught in this whole conflict between Sam and Caine, and THAT didn't really have a resolution. It's frustrating, really, because you commit that long to a story, you feel like there should be a more satisfying ending. It's a good thing this was an ebook. I might have thrown it at a wall if I had a physical copy.

I still give this book 6 stars in hopes the sequel solves some of the main issues here. There was just too much to put into one story, and while this one dropped the ball a little, offering little resolution or answers, I think there was plenty for future works to build on. 

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