Author: Michael Grant
Series: Gone Series
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publish Date: June 24th, 2008
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, Adventure
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 begins in the quiet, seaside town of Perdido Beach. A seemingly ordinary day is quickly transformed into one of confusion and mass hysteria when everyone over the age of fourteen suddenly disappears without a trace. In the absence of parents, teachers, doctors, and police, the children are left to fend for themselves. The lack of phones, internet, and television, as well as the quickly diminishing food supply convert the children’s initial shock into terror. As the remaining citizens of Perdido Beach struggle to determine what’s happened, they notice that animals have mutated and the teens themselves have developed strange and potentially deadly powers, growing stronger with each passing day. As Perdido Beach spirals into further turmoil, fear and hunger reign and war becomes imminent.
If you’ve been searching for a worthy replacement for The Hunger Games, your efforts have not been in vain. Michael Grant’s first installment in the Gone Series incorporates an excellent combination of post-apocalyptic YA, the fight for survival, and a suspenseful plot. Fourteen year old Sam Temple was a fantastic protagonist who assumed the role of a reluctant leader throughout the novel, preferring to remain in the shadows instead of immediately jumping at the opportunity to hold a position of power. His notable courage and determination were evident when he stood up for what he believed in and worked endlessly to discover what had happened to the adults of Perdido Beach. As for Astrid, I found her portrayal as a heroine both brilliant and intriguing. I also found her interactions with her autistic younger brother touching. Her relationship with Sam developed slowly over the course of the book, allowing readers to watch their transformation from complete strangers to close friends. I would have preferred, however, that their relationship progress at a slightly faster pace; this would have more readily held my attention toward the beginning of the book.
I was initially somewhat confused when the book shifted from Sam’s POV to that of a female character by the name of Lana. Their stories did not appear to be connected in any way until they meet up later in the book. I found it challenging to adjust to the abrupt narrator changes, which disrupted the flow. I would become so engrossed in Sam’s story that I would forget about Lana, struggling to recall where she was and what she was doing when the story returned to her point of view, and vice versa. Consequently, I feel that a third person omniscient narrator would have been a better choice in this situation.
I was immediately drawn into the story by the realistic characters and interesting concept. Approximately 50 pages into the book, however, the plot became slow and tedious, causing me to quickly lose interest. I’m glad that I continue reading, though, because the plot picked up again 30 pages later, and the book began living up to its classification as an apocalyptic thriller. There was a noticeable increase in the pace of the book which managed to hold my attention until the final page. While many questions were left unanswered at the conclusion of the novel, Grant incorporated a suspenseful cliffhanger that to compel readers to pick up the next book in the series. I must admit, this was a successful tactic.
Readers who tend to avoid more gruesome books should be warned that there are a few disturbing scenes, similar to those found in The Hunger Games. These scenes often depicted the aftermath, instead of the events as they occurred.
I would strongly recommend this book to: readers with a bit of patience to make it through the slow, uninteresting portion of the book without giving up, anyone who enjoyed the concept of The Hunger Games, action enthusiasts who enjoyed the fight scenes in Divergent and The Maze Runner Trilogy, those who were fond of the reckless nature of the characters in Fahrenheit 451, readers who enjoyed the fast pace and suspense of I Am Number Four, and anyone in search of an exciting, quick read.