Anyone who keeps up with YA these days is familiar with three central facts that apply to most books:
- It is for girls.
- It is about romance.
- It has as much plot as iCarly does laughs.
This series is a refreshing addition to the YA world because it subverts all three of those cliches. This is one of the few genuinely gender neutral books I've run into lately, meaning that it's one of the few things for boys to read and really enjoy. It does this by making a real attempt to give a genuine plot, and it focuses on things other than romance. (I think I just heard a Twilight
fan closing her computer and abandoning this series for life.)
But it feels like an injustice to this wonderful series to focus on what it's not, because there's so much here that is
. There are Loads And Loads Of Characters
abound, and every single one of them is engaging, every one with a strong personality, every one memorable. It helps that the cast is so diverse; you'll see a wide array of personalities and sexualities and ethnicities and classes and people
, plain and simple. I'd label the cast in this series as the most diverse I've ever read.
But it's not just about the characters. There's nothing wrong with a book that's just about the characters, but the plot is very strong, too. The suspense is constant here, and it's very unpredictable; at any given moment, you'll feel a strong sense of tension, and you won't be able to see what's coming. That's why I'd advise not opening spoilers for this one - normally, I would't be so insistent, but the surprises are so frequent and, well, surprising, that it would ruin part of the experience for you.
Grant combines his strong characters and his equally strong plotting to create a book that's a true experience to read. It's hard to read this book without being caught up in the intensity of everything. Books like that are rare, but when you see them, you (I) have to jump at the chance to read them. The series has its flaws - the quality of the prose is a bit inconsistent, and the scope sometimes becomes a bit too wide, particularly at the beginning. But it's still worth reading. I'm a big Michael Grant
fan, having read this, Animorphs
, and Eve And Adam
. Of all his books, this is his best, his Magnum Opus
. It is a true must read.