Thursday, 13 May 2010

Gone by Michael Grant

Target Audience: Teens/Young Adults
Genre: Dystopia/Thriller

Gone (Gone, #1)Gone is one of those rare books that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it, or at least it did in my case.
In order to give a better understanding of my review i'm going to give a brief summary of the actual story and i'll try not to write any spoilers for those who haven't read it.

The events are set in the town of Perdido Beach in which nothing much really happens until everyone over the age of fourteen just vanishes into thin air. It happens suddenly and isn't built up to, like in most books, one minute the class teacher is there and literally a few lines down the first page, and he's gone.
No explanation, nothing.
Sam and several other children at the school then set out to explore the town, and the children soon discover that all the adults and teenagers who have reached fifteen have vanished all over town, not to mention that there's a barrier appeared around the edge that stops anyone leaving.
The nightmare doesn't stop there either and situation gets more bizarre as the novel goes on, introducing a darkness with a consciousness and talking coyotes among many other things.
What entails is a fight for survival and dominance as a group of other children try to take over Perdido Beach and enforce their own rules.

As described in the previously mentioned summary there's clearly a lot happening throughout and i have to admit i did have to really focus at points to keep up with the story, but this didn't bother me, because it was so brilliantly written.
Some of the ideas are so imaginative and sureal that i found myself gripped by them, and i was honestly terrified by the talking Coyotes, there was something about them i found profoundly creepy.

As well as the creepy enemies though, there's also the cast of amazing characters, ranging from the normal everyday sort of person to the kind with super powers.
The main characters include Sam (who has serious fire power), Astrid (the genius) and Quinn (Sam's best friend). On the side of the Boarding school children there are Caine (the ringleader who tries to control perdido beach), Drake (the psychopath who likes to hurt people) and Diana (the very smart but sometimes evil female of the group).
The clash between the two sides is electric, and makes for a brilliant plot line, but it is by far not the only thing happening and the novel deals with aspects such as survival, drink and eating disorders.
In light of the adults disapearing and with a lack of laws, you have children passing harsh punishments for 'law breakers', some kids turning to drink, and children with problems starting to spiral out of control.

It isn't all doom and gloom though, among the darkness there is definately humour to give more than a bit of light relief. One of the main messages is of hope and it is something that is reinforced throughout, that however bad things get, these kids fight like anything to survive.
Among all this, there is also a bit of romance between a couple of the characters and this too adds some cheeriness, along with the friendships that are forged between the children and the loyalty most of them show to one another.

All this together becomes an exciting, fast-paced, emotional and very meaningful adventure that definately made me think about a few things. How would we respond if nearly everyone vanished? Would we be able to control the nasty side of human nature if we had to survive in a dangerous environment?
The answer to those questions can't really be answered, but i've definately been prompted to think about them, and a lot more besides.

Excellent Read!

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