Thursday, March 3, 2016

Book Review - The 100

From the publisher: No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents -- considered expendable by society -- are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life...or it could be a suicide mission.

Clarke was arrested for treason, though she's haunted by the memory of what she really did. Wells, the chancellor's son, came to Earth for the girl he loves -- but will she ever forgive him? Reckless Bellamy fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And Glass managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope.

You, like me, may have seen the 100 pop up in your Netflix or Amazon video recommendations. I gave it a shot and wound up really liking the show, so I figured I would check out the book as well.
This epic scifi / romance by Kass Morgan, didn't disappoint.

First let me clarify that the novel and the TV show differ considerably so don't fear spoilers if you're working your way through one or the other.

This story is told from four points of view, something I've heard you should not do in YA. But again, here's proof of an author breaking the rules and doing a brilliant job of it. The four parallel stories wind together telling a far richer story than possible with just one or even two points of view. As I read I found myself emotionally pulled one way, then another and another. I was kept off balance, and so kept reading.

I found all the characters likable, though a little flat. They were believable for the most part with natural dialogue and reactions that I appreciated. This carries through the entire story, from the premise to the tech, to the emergencies and dangers that arise. It all feels like something that could actually happen.

I appreciated too, that Kass wove in survival elements without some vague and unlikely end-of-the-world scenario. This is clearly not the end of the world, it's the retaking of an old world. It's not much of a twist but it was so much more hopeful than most of the YA survival books out there that it was a breath of fresh air.

What to know: There is language and violence aplenty in this story. Sex is also a very real thing in this world. While there is nothing graphic, characters do a lot of kissing, hands roving and sinking down onto couches etc. Nudity is mentioned but again not graphic. All that in mind, I can't recommend this story for younger readers. For more mature readers this is a great book, genuine science fiction with some great twists, fun characters and solid writing.

~SJA

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