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Nessa's Thoughts

Just a British girl who reads a bit too much.

Currently reading

The Dead Zone
Stephen King
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Jean-Dominique Bauby
Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady
Samuel Richardson, Angus Ross
Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
Piper Kerman
The Cuckoo's Calling
Robert Galbraith

Gone

Gone  - Michael  Grant Gone by Michael Grant has to be one of the most frustrating novels I've read recently. Taking place in a dystopia where all the adults have disappeared, à la Lord of the Flies mixed in with some kids mysteriously getting superpowers sounds really good on paper. Too bad it didn't work when given 560 pieces of paper to work with.The basic plot of Gone is about anybody above the age of 15 disappearing into thin air. Naturally, this leaves quite a few problems for the surviving children: there are babies who need feeding, young children who need constant reassuring, and bullies who try to pull the new society down to its knees. Our three main characters (though this novel does occasionally switch between several other inconsequential characters) are Sam, Astrid, and Quinn. Sam is a surfer dude who everybody looks up to because he once stopped a school bus from crashing when the driver had a heart attack, Astrid is your token smart chick, and Quinn is so boring I often forgot why he was there.Admittedly, Gone is fairly good at addressing what would happen if all the adults (and older teenagers) were to disappear off the face of the earth. Such as burgers being left on the grill in McDonald's for over 10 hours, house fires after adults left stoves on too long, and babies being in need of care. And also, bizarrely, the mass adult disappearance leads to the 3G, emergency, and web networks being completely down. Which is weird, because unless the adults had shut them down just before the disappearance, how is it possible that every single network in the town is shut off? Ah well, whatever.This novel was actually quite boring, given the concept. There might be a lot going on (what with the kids joining factions and making life hell for others), but it was always quite boring to read. Characters did this, then that. Then there would be a few pages about an alternate character doing something as mundane as operating the town McDonald's. Yeah, kid. That's a good idea. Operate industrial machinery because some kids still want to eat goddamn cheeseburgers.(Yes, I know they're just children who can't cook and might gravitate towards a fast food restaurant rather than try to turn on the stove at home. Admittedly, these were clever touches, but the plot takes such a long time to get its act together that it really dragged after a while. Mr. Grant, I know you're trying to cover every base when it comes to children being too immature to handle a world without adults to hold their hands every step of the way, but it got too much after a while.)Speaking of that plot, it took quite a while to get anywhere. So all the adults in this small Californian town mysteriously disappear. The novel then meanders for a bit before slipping in superpowers, then meanders a bit more before adding in talking coyotes controlled by some mysterious, evil force of darkness, then meanders a bit more before showing us just how horrible the Coates Academy kids are - we're talking capturing kids with superpowers and encasing their hands in cement. What follows on is more meandering until one character grows a tentacle after losing his arm (what the hell?) and then the ticking clock of Sam and Caine's 15th birthdays, wherein all that happened was the villain showed up, went 'bwahaha well if you won't join me now, you'll join me eventually…' and then let them go. What the actual hell? I know this book is the first of a series, but goddamn, end your books properly. I have no interest in reading the next two books because all the first book did was lumber along and occasionally add in weird shit for over 500 pages, before concluding in the last sixty pages with an unsatisfactory payoff. No, I don't care about that kid who was getting eaten by giant worms. I barely got to know him. Grah.This book has an interesting concept, and the writing isn't too bad. But the storytelling and lack of decent characters really got to me after a while. Everything is black and white in this world: you're either a bully or a good kid. And that's it. The characters aren't defined very well outside of one-note traits. Astrid is Smart and Good. Sam is Good and Conflicted. Caine is Smart and a Bully. Diane is Conflicted and kind of a Bully. Quinn is Boring and Good. And finally, Edilio is Good and a Hispanic Immigrant (as Quinn reminds us a million times over in unfunny witticisms that would have gotten him a broken nose if I were Edilio). And… that's about it. It's not a bad read to pass the time with, but if you're looking for memorable characters and a decent story, I'd go for other dystopian YA books. 2/5.(This review is also available on my blog: http://book-wyrm.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/gone-gone-1-by-michael-grant.html)