One minute the teacher was talking about the Civil War. And the next minute he was gone.He just vanished - along with everyone else over the age of 14 in a 10-mile radius around Perdido Beach, California, which was also enclosed by an impenetrable dome. The children left behind find themselves battling hunger, fear, and one another in a novel strongly reminiscent of William Golding'sLord of the Flies. Things go from bad to worse when some of the children begin exhibiting strange powers, animals show signs of freakish mutations, and people disappear as soon as they turn 15.Written by Michael Grant, co-author of the hit book series Animorphs, Everworld, Remnants, Eve and Adam, and author of BZRK.There are six books in the series:
Gone, released in 2008.
Hunger, released in 2009.
Lies, released in May 2010.
Plague, released in April 2011.
Fear, released in April 2012.
Light released in April 2013.
Now has a character sheet.As of July 2013, it was announced by author Michael Grant that he had sold the rights of the series to Sony TV, who claimed to be interested in adapting the series to a TV show. It has been confirmed that there are imminent plans to green-light it, making the chances of a television series quite possible indeed.No relation to the 2012 Amanda Seyfriedfilm of the same name.
The series provides examples of the following tropes:
A King Am I: By the end of Plague, Caine expects everyone to refer to him as king, and appoints himself supreme ruler of Perdido Beach.
Caine waltzed in and took over, but left after the end of Gone. Sam then took over for Hunger, and then got tired of the responsibility and gave the leadership to the Town Council in Lies, run by Astrid. That turned out to be a disaster, so Sam returned as of Plague. Sam then left again for the Lake Tramonto settlement at the end, so Caine came back and became the absolute ruler of Perdido Beach. That works for a little while, but only until Light - Sam and Caine both leave to look for Gaia, so Edilio becomes the final Mayor of Perdido Beach, and actually maintains that position until the barrier comes down.
Action Girl: Lana, Dekka, Brianna, Taylor, Penny, Brittany..... it would be easier to list the exceptions (Astrid, Mary, and Diana), though even they have their moments. As of Fear Astrid definitely counts as a full on Action Girl
Adults Are Useless: Well, they aren't even there... And when one gets pulled in by accident, he quickly goes insane and inadvertently helps resurrect Drake.
Averted in Fear when Connie attempts to stop the government from bombing the FAYZ.
Aerith and Bob: We go all the way from Sam to Drake to Astrid to Caine to Zil to Orsay.
Ambiguously Gay: Zil Sperry. Whenever he gets a Character Focus chapter, a lot of it is him admiring Lance and his looks. It's popular Fanon that he is gay but we'll never find out as he's dead as of Plague. Howard as well but following in the footsteps of Zil we'll never know since he's dead as of Fear.
Anyone Can Die: Following in the footsteps of Remnants, the series has a surprisingly high body count for a YA book series.
For the record, those who are confirmed to have made it out of the FAYZ are Sam, Astrid, Diana, Edilio, Dekka, Quinn, Lana, Albert, Taylor and the Artful Roger. This is just the major characters - anyone else's fates are debatable.
Ax-Crazy: Drake. It gets worse after Sam blows his arm off and The Darkness grants him a tentacle-like appendage to replace it. And even worse now that He's back from the dead and Sharing a Body with Brittany, who Sam won't kill because she's innocent.
Gaia might as well be the poster child for this trope.
Bittersweet Ending: Only a little more than half the kids in the FAYZ actually survive, and they're highly traumatized, with 3 committing suicide, an unknown number getting addicted to drugs and alcohol and most if not all breaking down crying in shopping malls or grocery stores. Exactly as you'd expect. The lead characters do end up in a better situation, however: Sam's emancipated and living on his own with Astrid, who's now rich due to her movie deal; Diana, despite losing Caine is living with them, Lana and Quinn's lives return to normal quickly, Edilio is still living in the U.S., is openly gay and has Roger, and Dekka's parents don't harass her about her sexuality and she pays tribute to Brianna.
Bizarre Baby Boom: Some of the kids develop powers due to the meteorite spreading the nuclear fallout.
Also from Plague, Brittney/Drake being cut in three by Brianna.
Brittney/Drake goes through a lot, starting right when they got to claw their way out of a grave.
In Fear it is revealed what happened to Francis and Mary, who "poofed" in Lies. They lose their eyes and mouths, their memories are mangled, and they are apparently too disgusting to describe in detail. The person who found Mary called animal control first because he thought she was a dead bear.
Also in Fear, Cigar is left at Penny's mercy from sunrise to sunset, and she, among other brutalities, makes him claw his own eyes out.
Canon Discontinuity: Astrid's power disappeared after book one. She forgot about it, her boyfriend did, and you're supposed to, too. Michael Grant has said in interviews that he wishes he'd never put it in.
Chekhov's Gun: The missiles in the train car that Sam, Dekka, Toto, and Jack discover in Plague. They become a minor plot point in Fear, and one of them ends up killing Orc in Light.
Chekhov's Gunman: Duck Zhang in Hunger. He has the power to change his mass, from able to float to sinking through the ground. The sinking through the ground part turns out to be the only way to permanently destroy the Gaiaphage, most likely digging it to the center of the earth, assuming his skeleton retains its mass after he dies.
Chronic Hero Syndrome: Brianna, or "Breeze". She spends most of her time rushing off to impress people with her powers and will, whenever trouble arises, blindly try to take out the threat herself - which nearly gets her killed several times. This is deconstructed during her POV chapters in Fear; the "stain" means she will not be able to use her powers, and she's afraid of being a disappointment to Sam if she doesn't kill Drake before that happens.
Cruel and Unusual Death: Too many to count, but EZ being eaten alive by mutated worms certainly comes to mind. And anyone who Drake kills. And the kids eaten by coyotes during the Thanksgiving Battle. And the kids who get thrown through a wall by Caine. And Panda's suicide, particularly because of what happened afterwards. Much of the deaths in Plague count as well.
Two words: Howard. Bassem.
Every single freaking death in Light. Poor Brianna. And Orc.
Cycle of Revenge: We get one throughout Fear, filled with Disproportionate Retribution. It starts out when Cigar gets drunk and accidentally murders a fellow fisherman. As punishment, Caine sentences him to a day with Penny. She causes him to go insane and gouge his own eyes out. To avenge this, Quinn and the other fisherman refuse to fish until Caine makes Penny leave. So, he tries to, but this makes Penny mad. As revenge, she drugs him, cements his hands, and staples an aluminum crown to his forehead. Finally, Caine ends the cycle when he crushes Penny's head with a rock, killing her.
Dangerous Fifteenth Birthday: Anybody 15 and up disappears when the FAYZ is formed, and if you turn 15 while inside the FAYZ then you disappear as well. Although the kids learn how to stay there by the end of the first book.
Dark Is Evil: Seeing as how the Big Bad is literally called "The Darkness", that's definitely a no-brainer.
Darker and Edgier: Each book seems to get progressively darker, except for Lies, which was about on the same level as Hunger. Not that it started out on a light note, though. Fear is this on a very literal level.
Disproportionate Retribution: In Fear Cigar kills a fellow fisherman in a drunken brawl. Since he committed murder, Caine sentences him to Penny for a day. 30 minutes was enough to cause a two-day state of shock in the previous victim. Even Caine is horrified at the end result.
Also from Fear, Caine asks Penny to leave Perdido Beach after the backlash from what she did to Cigar. So she drugs him, traps his hands in a cement block, and staples an aluminum crown to his forehead.
Domed Hometown: After the adults disappear, there is a barrier around Perdido Beach.
Doorstopper: While averaged sized for most adult novels, at 500 to 600 pages a piece, the books are gigantic for young adult novels. They are steadily decreasing in length as the series draws to its conclusion, however.
Enfant Terrible: Gaia, so very much. Within the four hours from her birth to the end of Fear, she manages to torture Penny after she accidentally drops her and then laugh at the scene, laugh, once more, at seeing terrified children walk into a fire due to Penny's visions and forcing her mother to relieve her horrible memories of eating Panda. And that's not all... She also attempts to kill both her own father, Caine, by trying to crush him against the FAYZ barrier and Sam, by trying to rip him apart via telekinesis. Thankfully, she doesn't succeed in any of the two cases.
Ensemble Cast: While Sam could generally be called the protagonist (though there are always large portions of the story not focused on him), Lies moves all the way into this trope, with Sam getting equal or less attention than Astrid's struggle to lead the council and care for her brother, Sanjit and the island kids trying to fly to the mainland, power struggles among the Coates kids, Mary's growing mental problems, and many other subplots with the rest of the Loads and Loads of Characters.
Even Evil Has Standards: Caine is understandably appalled at what Penny did to Cigar in the twelve hours she had him. To put it simply, she tortured him to insanity. When Lana regenerates his eyes he thinks back to some of the hallucinations she caused, and we get to see them.
Evil Overlord List: Caine fails at 17, 24, 55, 61, 100, 111, 115, 131, 151, 164, 223 and possibly 18 and 19. He actually follows 199.
19. Only the reason for the rule is averted.
Express Delivery: Diana's pregnancy develops at an accelerated pace, probably because the baby in question is a mutant.
Eye Scream: What ever is left of Cigar's eyes after Lana tries to regrow them.
Expy: Several characters are reminiscent of Michael Grant's previous series with wife K.A. Applegate:
Sam is very similar to Jake in terms of taking charge and being looked at as a leader figure. There's also a bit of Jobs's dreamer, kind-hearted soul there too.
Astrid is an interesting mix of Ax,Jalil, and Cassie. She loves science and analyzing things like Ax, is a rational thinker much like Jalil but she's every bit of the heart and Team Mom that Cassie was.
Dekka is basically a transplanted Tate, with shades of Rachel. The only difference? This time, Grant got to actually state explicitly that she was lesbian. So most of the fandom agrees that it's justified.
Caine has every bit of Yago's ambition and ruthlessness and Diana is as manipulative and cunning as 2Face.
Filler Arc: The entire Human Crew plot had no real lasting effect on anything.
Fire-Forged Friends: "Brittney had no romantic feelings for Edilio, but what she had went a lot deeper. She would rather burn for eternity in the hottest fires of hell than let Edilio down. " This goes entirely out the window in Plague after she goes crazy.
Dekka and Sam:
Sam: I don't want to sound weird, but you know I love you, right?
From Bad to Worse: The series can very well be the poster child for it. How does an (already-isolated) California town caught between a desert, a school for "difficult" children of rich kids, and a nuclear power plant that's cut off from the rest of the world by an impenetrable barrier, with no adults and an Eldritch Abomination with numerous beasts at its command that are trying to kill the kids of this town get worse? Food shortages, Fantastic Racism, (and ACTUAL racism) an indestructible psychopath with a whip hand get added into the mix, and said Eldritch Abomination gets more and more dangerous. How does that get worse? Suddenly there's a plague and nigh-indestructible bugs trying to kill everyone! Then the barrier goes black and everything goes dark. And then Light happens.
Dekka, after Penny's visions made her think she had the bugs in her again.
Dekka again after Brianna dies.
Edilio too after he thinks Roger dies.
Hero's First Rescue: Sam runs into a burning apartment building to rescue a little girl. Subverted as this isn't Sam's first heroic act (pre-powers, though), he only ran in because no one else would and the girl dies anyway. It does, however, mark him as a hero and a leader in the strange new world for FAYZ, to his chagrin.
High Heel-Face Turn: Zig-Zagged with Diana. Throughout the series, she's probably the least outwardly loyal Coates kid, often to the point of sabotaging their plans, but is the only one that actually cares about Caine. She stays even after half the team Heel Face Turns but is openly critical of how things are being done. Finally, in Plague, she leaves for good. But she remains on her own side the whole time, so there's no technical change.
Incest Subtext: Gaia in Light has shades of this towards both Caine and Sam, making her interactions with them very squicky. Doubles as Foe Yay.
Jerkass: Caine in Plague. Drake all the time. Penny in Fear.
Karma Houdini: Albert doesn't get any retribution for abandoning Perdido Beach in Fear. Thanks to a publicity stunt in Light, he ends up getting interviewed by CNBC, and McDonald's pays for his education. Thankfully Astrid and Quinn both call him out on this, and Edilio mentions that in spite of how he acted he still saved a lot of lives.
Kill 'em All: Fear does this a little, what with the deaths of Howard, Mother Mary, and Penny, but Light is the one that really takes the cake. Among others, we get the deaths of Computer Jack, Brianna, Orc, Little Pete, Caine, Dhara, Drake, and Brittney.
Law of Inverse Fertility: Diana becomes pregnant quite quickly once her and Caine get down to it, even though not long before that she was very badly starved, which should have had some kind of effect of her fertility/menstrual cycles (it should have stopped them.)
Lampshade Hanging: Astrid has a habit of pointing out the techniques people use in their speech, e.g. "Rhetorical question" or "Defensive humor."
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Brianna, who during Fear, attempts to rescue Diana and her baby... only to have the Gaiaphage possess it, by way of Penny's visions.
No Bisexuals: Sexual orientation is pretty much always discussed in terms of gay/straight, with no indication that someone could be in between, although there is a lot of controversy involving a certain Zil Sperry.
Not Quite Dead: Albert gets shot in the head by Lance, yet manages to survive nearly bleeding out.
Played with with Drake. He gets (presumably) killed by Caine in Hunger, but returns in Lies sharing a body with Brittney. Who is also a case, as she gets both legs broken and shot in the chest, yet can't be killed.
Penny also uses her illusions to grant people's sexual fantasies.
Pregnant Hostage: Poor, poor 15 year old Diana Ladris in Fear. No one bothers trying to bail her out And she's left to give birth in a scorching hot, pitch black mine with two psychopaths who like to torture her. Fans of the character were reasonably miffed.
Played for drama with Sam, who gets so sick of playing the daddy that he quits.
Played straight with Astrid to Little Pete.
Pure Energy: Sam can shoot energy beams from his hands.
Race Against the Clock: You disappear when you turn exactly 15 years old. Not a big deal for the little kids, but Sam turns fifteen in eleven days... It is discovered by Sam and Caine that there is a way to escape disappearing at the end of Gone, so by the second book, Hunger, most people know how to escape it.
Also, in Hunger, Sam is feeling down, so Astrid mentions that God wouldn't have purposely done them wrong. He says, "To hell with your god."
Random Power Ranking: Diana has the ability to sense the strength of people's powers. She gives people a ranking in "bars", like the strength of a cellphone signal. Normally they range from 1 to 4, except for Little Pete, who seems to be about 10.
Released to Elsewhere: People who turn 15 inside the FAYZ can choose to disappear. Nobody knows whether they go outside the FAYZ, go to another dimension, or if they even surive. It's revealed what happens in Fear. Before the end of the first book, apparently they appeared unscathed. But after Sam and Caine refuse to go, everyone who disappears loses their mouth and eyes, and they become so deformed that they look like roadkill.
Shout-Out: Most of the place names seen on the map are references to works or TV shows related to the themes of the series, such as Stefano Rey National Park (Stephen King—Under the Dome), the Santa Katrina Hills (KA Applegate—Grant's wife), Grant Street (Michael Grant—Gone), Golding Street (William Golding—Lord of the Flies), and even the town name of Perdido Beach (LOST).
The illusion Penny uses on Quinn is the monster from Cloverfield.
In the first book, Mary reads the kids The Buffalo Storm, which is a book that K. A. Applegate, Grant's wife, wrote.
Smoking Is Cool: Lana in Lies. Justified because she can heal herself of any damage caused. She eventually quits in Light.
Smug Snake: Zil Sperry hates all but one of his teammates, resents not being recognized as a formidable antagonist, and gets himself killed in a poorly planned attempt to gain recognition. Very smug, very irritating, and, in the end, pretty worthless.
Chunk, the Coates Academy toadie gets killed (albeit unintentionally) by Caine when he gets thrown into a wall in Hunger.
Suddenly Sexuality: Edilio is revealed to be gay in Fear, along with Artful Roger and the two are together. There's a bit of lead up to this in the novel itself, but not previous installments which make sense, since Edilio does not get very many POV chapters.
He also says that he just found out, which isn't terribly unrealistic.
Super Power Meltdown: The going theory is that Little Pete caused the FAYZ by having a panic attack... in the middle of the catastrophic meltdown of the Perdido Beach Nuclear Power Plant. Later confirmed.
Take That, Audience!: Albert's outrage at the people trying to film the FAYZ for entertainment becomes pretty ironic when you realize that you've been reading about the FAYZ for that very reason the entire time.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: In Light, Albert gives a brutal, tearjerking one to the filmmakers that tried to get rid of the grave in the town plaza, thinking it was fake. Also subverted, as it reads a bit like a "The Reason I Suck Speech".
Unusual Chapter Numbers: The chapters come with a countdown of days, hours, minutes, and seconds to the climax of the book.
Unusual Euphemism: The kids come up with a few terms to describe what happens when people turn 15 and disappear. Some of the more frequently-used ones are "poof", "blink", and "make the jump". Basically, they're all just euphemisms for dying.
Up To Ten: Little Pete. Normal kids powers rank from 1-4, with Sam and Caine being the only two fours. Little Pete is rated at ten, considering he has the ability to create monsters and levitate things out of nothingness in Hunger