by Michael Grant
Publication Date: June 2008
Approximate Length: 558 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Obtained Via: Bought at Barnes & Nobles
Format Read In: Paperback
In the blink of an eye.
Everyone except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.
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 and war is imminent.
The first in a breathtaking saga about teens battling each other and their darkest selves, gone is a page-turning thriller that will make you look at the world in a whole new way.
The beginning of this book was a little rough for me. The opening paragraph seemed like a bit of an odd place to start the story at the time, and the first chapter I struggled while being introduced to the characters. I was apprehensive about the book and my ultimate feeling towards it, but I can safely say now I shouldn’t have been. Because after the first chapter, once things really started happening, I was hooked on GONE. It was action-packed and exciting, one of those books you stay up late finishing or sneak pages during class to read because you just HAVE to know what happens next.
EXCITING. Best word for this book. The plot isn’t the thickest all the time, but there’s enough different elements that I had to see what the next chapter brought. Things tied together really well, while still leaving enough questions that I could see why this book is part of a six book series of pretty large books. The blurb on the book says something about “this book being what would have happened if Stephen King had written The Lord of the Flies.” In a bookish confession, I have to say I’ve never read Lord of the Flies or a Stephen King novel. Yet, I can see the similarities based upon my (admittedly limited) knowledge. The societal aspects are there, while the science fiction landscape gives the society of kids quite a few new twists. And while I wouldn’t say GONE is out-right scary, it has that kind of horror that lingers only on the edge of your brain, asking “what-if”? the entire time. The best kind, basically.
The plot was quite the page-turner, but I have to say the biggest draw to GONE and it’s sequels are the main characters for me. Sam, the main main character is the reluctant hero, and I don’t know why, but I always like those types of characters. He seems mature beyond his years sometimes(but not so much that I found it unbelievable– just rare), and I loved his interactions with the other characters. There’s a little romance in this book, but not much, and it’s definitely not overbearing or excessive like a lot of fantasy/action-adventure books. I will say, though, that I absolutely love Sam and Astrid’s relationship in this book, even though it’s hardly the focus–or even really a focus. Astrid is smart, and unlike the sad trend that sometimes happens in books, she shows how smart and wise she really is. I think that’s why I love the relationship so much– Sam and Astrid are really on an even playing field. Sometimes the boy saves the girl and sometimes the girl saves the boy. Boy has good leadership qualities, but girl is the one who brings intelligence, etc.
After reading GONE, I’m still pretty confused about the world the teenagers are living in, but so are they. I’d say the world-building is pretty thin, but it’s supposed to be. And as much as I get that, I won’t say it’s not a little frustrating at times. And while I really enjoyed GONE, I’m not going to say it’s the best book ever, or that the prose is stellar, or even that everything makes sense. Because it doesn’t, but it was a great read for what I was craving at the time– heart-pounding, head-spinning, pure excitement, and on that front, it delivered.
Final Impression: After a shaky first chapter, GONE swept me off my feet and into the world of the FAYZ, where my heart pounded with fear and I looked forward to every plot reveal. I found myself just as eager as the characters, most of whom I ended up loving, to find out what exactly was going on. GONE isn’t wonderfully written or a book that will make you ponder the mysteries of the universe, but it’s the equivalent of a exciting, well-plotted, well-crafted action adventure movie with lots of flashy action sequences that draw you in. 4/5 cupcakes.