Reviews: Gone

  • Kif
  • 19th Jun 13
  • 0

What a Wonderful Series

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, Remnants, and Eve And Adam. Of all his books, this is his best, his Magnum Opus. It is a true must read.

It's just the FAYZ and the FAYZ is awesome.

The Gone series is a great read, especially if you've read the entire series and consumed the story as a whole. As you read on, the books get darker and darker and you're just on the end of your seat wondering which flies are going to drop next. It stays interesting and rarely drags, and again it's better if you read all of the books closely together now that they're all out since I personally could not really pick a favourite. Grant always leaves his books on a cliffhanger or a Sequel Hook but the next books picks it up pretty quickly and smoothly.

However, it's not a perfect series. I have not read any of Grant's other books but I figure he has a style in that he likes to write creepy stuff. Just put the creepiest things possible in his books even if they're not entirely necessary. Maybe it's just the Squick factor talking but Grant's warped imagination often causes him to create foul, twisted creatures out of nowhere just for the sake of being creepy. I know, the series is about mutations but sometimes his monstrosities feel a little forced and over the top. Still, YMMV and it's only a nitpick. If you're into that stuff, you'll love this.

The books' strength is in its characters. Holey moley. From the beginning he lodges a bunch of problems on them and doesn't hold back from there. Over the series they grow and evolve beautifully with each new challenge they face, big or small. No character walks out the same person that came in and Grant has a way for making you really care about these characters and all the hardships they go through. This doubles for the fact that Grant loves to play the Anyone Can Die card so be wary. Though I'll agree with the review below me in that some side characters get easily forgotten but with a cast this big, it's pretty forgivable. For the rest, Grant handles the character development wonderfully and each character has their own voice and personality. You're going to at least adore one character and abhor another.

With that said, I definitely recommend the Gone Series if you're a fan of either wack-job creepy stuff or character-focused stories with heaps of development on the side.

(And I I'm not afraid to confess that I totally bawled like a baby at the finale, fyi. Talk about feels.)

Read. This. Book

After letting Animorphs close and watching most of my favorite characters die in Remnants and saying goodbye to Everworld I already had a high respect for books written by KA or her husband but I was still skeptical coming upon Gone. No parents was all I got from the summary on the back. I believed it would just be a glamorized version of Lord of the Flies with the occasional slang from the 00s thrown in for good measure. Imagine my surprise when I was wrong. The Gone series is one of the most intricate and page turning series I have come across. The plot is marvelous and the pacing is incredible but the true gem of this little series are the characters. I honestly believe you could place these genuine and true to life characters in any plot and I would read no matter how badly written. These are very well rounded characters and the way Michael Grant flips between their PO Vs is stunning. You can jump from the ever levelheaded Edilio's mind to the hardened soul of Dekka to the hateful thoughts of Zil to the sadistic glee of Drake and not be bored for a second. You want to know what happens next and you feel for these kids because of the situations they are thrown in. If there was one con I will say that some of the side characters tend to get forgotten. It's not a major concern to this troper personally but it can cause minor hiccups at some points but you will not be dissapointed deciding to read the Gone series.