I’m very mixed about this book. But maybe it’s just a FAYZ.
Things can be as normal as possible on Perdido Beach, aka Fallout Alley. That is until everyone 15 and older disappears. Gone.
The children find themselves completely alone. With no one to tell them what to do, someone needs to step up, or chaos will reign. The bullies will rule.
But the missing adults isn’t the weirdest thing to happen. The animals in the area are changing…and so are the kids.
This book is messed up. Part Lord of the Flies, part X-men, part sci-fi thriller, and even part Game of Thrones, the premise of this series is solid. With a population under the age of fifteen stuck in a confined environment, there are struggles for power, order, and survival.
For the most part, the plot is as realistic and believable as possible. I like that Sam doesn’t want to be a leader despite everyone wanting him to be. Lana’s story was a little dry at first, but it eventually got better. Grant has a very good sense of what people would do in certain situations. He’s not afraid to show what fear and desperation and greed will do to what we consider the most innocent of the population.
For every cruel, sadistic, and disturbing scene, there is one of empathy, kindness, and humanity to match it. For every Drake, there’s an Edilio, which leads me to characters.
I am impressed with Grant’s cast of characters. Not only does he keep track of a cast to rival Game of Thrones (and I can only suspect will get bigger), he gives each character a distinct personality.
Do the characters come out as sort of cookie cutter because of this? Yeah, a little. Sam’s a little too reluctant hero, Astrid’s a little too supportive girlfriend, Quinn’s a little too pain-in-the-ass-but-I-still-love-you-brah. Still, I’m impressed by the range of people represented here: white, black, asian, latino, weak, strong, good, evil, cruel, eating disorder, mental disorder—and each with a full personality and story to back them up.
The problem is surprisingly a lack of connection. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I had no emotional connection with any of these kids. And that’s mostly due to the writing.
Most of my problems with the book are because of Grant’s writing style. He’s almost irritatingly objective. He doesn’t really delve deeply, besides the main plot. It’s like I’m at a buffet and I get a teaspoon of everything except one dish where I get a full serving. To be fair, Grant’s juggling a ridiculous amount of plot lines, but right when I’m about to get invested, the scene changes.
Oddly enough, my second problem is that the story felt too long. There was an inordinate amount of what felt like filler for a book with so many POVs. The pacing was awkwardly slow for a town in a crisis, and the time wasn’t used to make emotional connections…it’s a lot of exposition.
This story is about power. Sure, survival is huge, but oddly enough the kids are much more concerned with who has power and who doesn’t. I think that shows at how dependent children are.
What I like is how the children are on a scale of pure sadistic evil (Drake) and honourable, reliable kindness (Edilio). Besides these two, everyone has a balance of good and evil. Everyone, on some level, loves, is selfish, is greedy, is compassionate. It’s a full spectra of human emotion (and yet there still is some distance between the reader and the characters…)
Gone sets the stage for an interesting story. With lots of questions and just enough answers (and a lot of disturbing occurrences), the series seems to be plot and theme driven more than character driven. When it comes to series that are this long (6 books), it usually takes more than one to properly set things up.
Recommendation: maybe. Fans of the sci-fi/thriller genre who want an action based story should look into this. I personally prefer character based storytelling, so while the story was enough to pull me in, the characters might not make me stay.