The series finally concludes

‘Light’ – Michael Grant

5-star-rating

Image courtesy of gone.wikia.com

Light – Michael Grant

All eyes are on Perdido Beach. The barrier wall is now as clear as glass and life in the FAYZ is visible for the entire outside world to see. Life inside the dome remains a constant battle and the Darkness, away from watchful eyes, grows and grows . . . The society that Sam and Astrid have struggled so hard to build is about to be shattered for good. It’s the end of the FAYZ. Who will survive to see the light of day?

After all of the events that have happened in the FAYZ, ‘Light’ draws this to a fast-paced and exciting conclusion. Following on from the aftermath of Gaia and the dome turning transparent, the book is a literal countdown as the kids feel that the end is near.

Grant keeps to the same formula as his previous novels in which there is still disturbing violence that the kids inflict on each other. But, after having spent a year in this prison, the kids appear to have learned from their experiences: become more resolute in their ambitions and have grown to show compassion to others when it is needed.

I really feared that this book would just finish with the barrier coming down and there being no explanation about what happened next. With everything that had happened in the FAYZ and Sam’s constant worry about being judged by the outside world for his actions, I was pleased that Grant dedicated a lot of time explaining the aftermath. I took great pleasure in learning about how the kids had adapted and what the consequences were to outsiders viewing the violence in the FAYZ and I think this helped conclude the series quite nicely. Indeed, even the final note from the author was quite touching as I realised that the FAYZ was finally over and the series completed.

When I first starting reading this series, I was dubious how far the writer could go with keeping the story fresh and exciting. True, it does have its moments but I do think that, looking back, accepting events as they happened was just part of the FAYZ and an important way to help you enjoy the story. If you have read the other books in the series then it would be wrong not to read the final instalment. However, if you are not sure about the ‘Gone’ books, then I I would recommend them as a solid read and one that you could easily enjoy.

For my reviews on the other books in the ‘Gone’ series, click the links below:

1. ‘Gone’

2. ‘Hunger’

3. ‘Lies’

4. ‘Plague’

5. ‘Fear’

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Grant gets it right in this penultimate novel

‘Fear’ – Michael Grant

5-star-rating

Image courtesy of amazon.co.uk

Fear – Michael Grant

Night is falling in the FAYZ  permanently. The barrier that surrounds the town of Perdido Beach is turning black, blotting out the sun – it’s Sam’s worst nightmare.

With Astrid still missing, and Edilio and Lana struggling to maintain order, Sam and his followers need all the courage they can get as their world descends into darkness. Only real heroes will survive…

It’s book five out of six in the series and I have to say that Grant has got this one right with ‘Fear’. It’s exciting, fast-paced and has plenty of different elements that really kept the tension high throughout.

I’ll try and keep this review “spoiler-free” but this is going to be difficult with this being one in a lengthy series, so I do recommend you check out my review of the first book, ‘Gone‘, to get you started.

With the group being split into two camps, we are finally given an insight into how Caine can lead the children down at Perdido Beach. Sam and his loyal followers have moved up to the lake to get their water supply and I enjoyed the contrast that Grant gave between the two. In particular, the children suffer the difficulties of communication when help is needed and I was keen to understand how Sam would overcome the distance between the two camps that is filled with danger along the way. Also, with the barrier changing to black that is growing like a stain throughout the FAYZ, I was always wondering whether everything would be sorted in time before the community is plunged into total darkness.

The reader is given even more of an insight to the outside world this time with dedicated chapters. Once again I found this was great and it intensified the drama that was occurring within the barrier. Indeed, the ending was a surprise and I am really keen to see how this story will finish.

I am glad I persevered and continued reading this series and hope that the final book does not disappoint. Once I had got my head around the fact that one of the characters is pregnant and progressing at a ludicrously fast pace (after all, anything can happen in the FAYZ), this was an enjoyable book to read that I devoured in a couple of days. Good work, Grant!

For my reviews on the other books in the ‘Gone’ series, click the links below:

1. ‘Gone’

2. ‘Hunger’

3. ‘Lies’

4. ‘Plague’

6. ‘Light’

Monsters take centre stage

‘Plague’ – Michael Grant

4-star-rating

Image courtesy of goodreads.com

Plague – Michael Grant

They’ve survived hunger. They’ve survived lies. But the stakes keep rising, and the dystopian horror keeps building. Yet despite the simmering unrest left behind by so many battles, power struggles, and angry divides, there is a momentary calm in Perdido Beach.

But enemies in the FAYZ don’t just fade away, and in the quiet, deadly things are stirring, mutating, and finding their way free. The Darkness has found its way into the mind of its Nemesis at last and is controlling it through a haze of delirium and confusion. A highly contagious, fatal illness spreads at an alarming rate. Sinister, predatory insects terrorize Perdido Beach. And Sam, Astrid, Diana, and Caine are plagued by a growing doubt that they’ll escape—or even survive—life in the FAYZ. With so much turmoil surrounding them, what desperate choices will they make when it comes to saving themselves and those they love?

Sci-fi fantasy meets horror in the next phase of surviving the FAYZ (no pun intended). Monsters and ghoulies are ever-present in this book as Drake continues to haunt Perdido Beach and the children fall ill. But this illness isn’t just a flu or virus: it involves flesh eating bugs that rip through your flesh. Think ‘Alien’, just set on planet Earth. I liked the fact that Grant took a different focus this time and the violence between the children is not the key theme in the development of this story.

I found ‘Plague’ easy to get into and the action started pretty quickly. Still, I think Grant is running out of ideas and the whole Drake storyline was a little boring and predictable. However, readers are given an unusual insight this time – Petey gives his perspective on life and how he feels trapped in his mind, body and FAYZ. Whilst the revelations from the previous novel go completely missed, I did wonder what was in store for the FAYZ with the liberation of Petey.

The reader is still introduced to new characters. Not by the bucket-load, because, of course, by this time, most of the key kids with unusual powers have been discovered. But, combined with the change of setting where Sam and a few others leave Perdido Beach in search of water, this gave the story a new lease of life for me. Indeed, switching between Sam’s travels, the town and Caine’s little paradise island meant that there was plenty of pace in the novel.

I took little notice of the countdown at the start of each chapter, but this time the climax did not disappoint. It was interesting to see how the characters responded and moved on from the latest crisis in Perdido Beach and once again, Grant finishes with suggestions of what will follow in the next book. (I have thought long and hard about the title of the next book but cannot make any useful predictions.) This made it more of a satisfying ending and a pleasure to read.

I’ve given this book another 4/5. I’m finding it difficult to rave about how brilliant it is and I do think that something is missing from the plot. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but think it comes from wanting another perspective, an indication as to what is happening in the outside world. I do hope this comes, because I think this will really enhance the story.

For my reviews on the other books in the ‘Gone’ series, click the links below:

1. ‘Gone’

2. ‘Hunger’

3. ‘Lies’

5. ‘Fear’

6. Light’

Takes a while to get going

‘Lies’ – Michael Grant

3-star-rating

Image courtesy of gone.wikia.com

Lies – Michael Grant

Tensions are growing in the FAYZ. The mutants are under attack. Food is scarce. Sam’s gone AWOL.

At night, a solitary figure roams the streets – the ghost of a boy with a whip hand, haunting the dreams of those he has tormented.

Then the town is deliberately set on fire… And through the flames, Sam sees the figure he dreads the most – Drake. But that’s impossible. Drake is dead.

So, the saga continues… I would say that this book has several sections. For The first 100 pages, nothing really happens. Seriously, the book is just “catching up” with the vast number of characters and the fall out from the climax of the previous novel. Then, the pace kicks up and it’s starts to pull you in. I was keen to know where the book would go and once the title ‘Lies’ becomes relevant to the theme of the story, was excited to see where Grant would take the story. The third part of the story, which happens to be the climax, was, like the first in the series, just a bit silly, but then it redeems itself with the final chapter as Grant ties up the loose ends.

Once again the character list does grow, but certainly not as much as the previous stories. I did find that once it had got going, the plot was more “concentrated” than previously and this was certainly lacking in the first novel, ‘Gone’. Indeed, there were a few surprises along the way and I do look forward to seeing how these develop later on.

The way that the kids of the FAYZ treat each other is still a little shocking and, whilst the warning on the back of the book that it contains scenes of violence made me chuckle, the thought that this is what the kids are capable of, is just terrifying. Yes, it is fiction, but I did find myself wondering whether this savagery is hidden in all of us; at what limits do we need to be pushed before such behaviours come to the surface? I hope that Grant does not continue with this shock-factor in the next novel. He has exposed to readers the savage behaviour from the children and whilst he needs to stay in keeping with the environment he has created, I’d like to see something more original in the next story.

I did generally enjoy this book, but found the climax is what ruined it for me. I am definitely keen to read the next book, particularly after the surprise revelations during the course of the novel. Not the greatest read, but one to pull off the shelf if the previous two in the series wetted your appetite.

For my reviews on the other books in the ‘Gone’ series, click the links below:

1. ‘Gone’

2. ‘Hunger’

4. ‘Plague’

5. ‘Fear’

6. Light’

Not one to read if you are easily distracted by food

‘Hunger’ – Michael Grant

4-star-rating

Image courtesy of bookdepository.co.uk

Hunger – 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.

An uneasy calm has settled over Perdido Beach. But soon fear explodes into desperation as starvation sets in. More and more kids are developing strange powers and, just as frighteningly, so are the animals in the FAYZ. And in the background, in an abandoned mineshaft, lies the greatest danger of all – and he too needs to be fed…

So the adventure continues in the FAYZ (Fall-out Alley Youth Zone) and the second phase indeed focuses on the hunger that is tearing the children apart. The novelty of not having any adults around or any structure in society has dwindled and Sam and his loyal friends find themselves as playing at being Mum and Dad to everyone in Perdido Beach.

Just like the first novel, the chapters are counting down to the end and it is not clear until the last few chapters what this end will be. Again, I didn’t find myself paying much attention to this until there were just minutes left, and this coincided with me not being able to put the book down because I just had to find out what would happen next. This time I don’t think the book reached an anti-climax, and I wasn’t frustrated by the ending; instead I felt that the conclusion marked the end of the desperate hunger the characters were enduring and that the next novel will start with a (hopefully) brighter community for the children.

Indeed, the dark thoughts from the children are quite disturbing and I think Grant has considered interesting behaviour patterns when children are left on their own. Society is breaking down as a result of this desperation and the differences that are drawn up between the children do not seem far fetched nor remote. The idea of being different and not “the norm” is abused by the children and it is frightening the lengths that they consider to go to.

That being said, there remains a divide between Sam and Caine in the community and throughout this book I was always hoping that this divide disappeared. I don’t know how far Grant can take this division between Sam and Caine without it becoming repetitive, so I am looking forward to seeing what he does next with these characters.

More powers are revealed in this book and I hope this is something that continues in the next instalment as it is interesting to see how the characters adapt. I also found it enjoyable to read how the children are trying to rebuild a working community and I did find myself hoping that they succeed.

Like many novels that have several in a series, whilst some loose ends are tied up at the end of ‘Hunger’, there are course a lot of questions that remain unanswered. I found this book a lot more enjoyable than ‘Gone’: either because the characters were more developed or I was more prepared for what this next book had to offer. Either way, definitely give this a read if you found the first book partly enjoyable as this is a pleasant surprise and one worth spending some time on.

For my reviews on the other books in the ‘Gone’ series, click the links below:

1. ‘Gone’

3. ‘Lies’

4. ‘Plague’

5. ‘Fear’

6. ‘Light’

A teenage version of the x-men

‘Gone’ – Michael Grant

2-star-rating-1

Image courtesy of turn-the-page.net

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:

2. ‘Hunger’

3. ‘Lies’

4. ‘Plague’

5. ‘Fear’

6. ‘Light’