‘Gone’ – Michael Grant
Suddenly it’s a world without adults and normal has crashed and burned. When life as you know it ends at 15, everything changes.
A small town in southern California: In the blink of an eye everyone over the age of 15 disappears. Cut off from the outside world, those that are left are trapped, and there’s no help on the way. Chaos rules the streets.
Now a new world order is rising and, even scarier, some survivors have power – mutant power that no one has ever seen before…
‘Gone’ is simply a teenage version of the x-men, with a watered down bit of ‘Lord of the Flies’ thrown in there too. It reads like a television series but Michael Grant has tried to make it more substantial with the vast numbers of characters included. I don’t think he has quite pulled it off.
The plot is pretty straightforward and, though I hate to admit it, is quite predictable, too. You can see where the story is going right from the beginning so it gets a little frustrating that it doesn’t develop soon enough. The token romance is easy to spot from a mile off and the main character, Sam, just comes across too much like a clichéd American hero. That being said, the plot does take a bizarre twist two thirds of the way through which made me find the book more ridiculous and bland, rather than allowing myself to get lost in the narrative as I usually do.
There are so many characters in this novel that author does not get the opportunity to develop them enough before moving on elsewhere. This is quite disappointing and when the story finally switches back to them, I found myself flipping back to remind myself of their character. That being said, some are so one-dimensional that it is frustrating that author has given them centre stage.
The chapters begin with a countdown and it is not made clear why until you are significantly through the story. By this time I found myself so committed to wanting to know what happens, that I had to read to the end anyway. And that was before I found out this is the start of a pretty hefty series. (Once I start a series, I really feel that I should give it my full attention until the very end, so don’t be surprised to find that I will probably be reviewing the other books in this series as I come across them. )
To summarise, this book is quite straightforward in plot and easy to get into, but is one that is too full of clichés from its genre and setting. It is almost like a pilot episode from a television series, because of the development of character and setting that is so badly needed. Give this one a go if you want an easy read, but don’t expect too much from the plot and take heed of the health warning that the this is the start of a series of books. Hopefully the next instalment will be more enjoyable and not just a book that tries too hard, with the intriguing black cover and (quite honestly really irritating) bright yellow pages.
For my reviews on the other books in the ‘Gone’ series, click the links below: