Author: Michael Grant
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books): “In the blink of an eye.
Everyone except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.
It’s a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent.
The first in a breathtaking saga about teens battling each other and their darkest selves, Gone is a page-turning thriller that will make you look at the world in a whole new way.”
Thoughts: Michael Grant’s envision of a world without adults, without phones, televisions and Internet is simply eerie. Gone has the feel of Lord of the Flies combined with Lost. Kids are forced to grow up quickly, create rules to avoid spiraling into anarchy, and find ways to survive. The struggle to create some semblance of society and foster some understanding of their familiar and yet unfamiliar surroundings creates an intriguing novel that piques one’s interest and keeps one reading throughout its many pages.
As with any novel that is the beginning of a series, most of the 558 pages of it is spent setting up this new world, establishing the major players in this battle for control while hinting at a more mysterious Big Bad. Mr. Grant does not shy away from making a point about the harshness of this new world, and many stories do not end well. The powers and other mutations are fascinating and establish an element of the unexpected that is scarier than normal dystopian novels. Nothing is as it seems, and one never knows when this is going to make itself apparent.
While the battle between Caine and Sam is interesting, Gone‘s major fault is that it is simply predictable. The reader knows the outcome of the battle, just like the reader knows there is more to the Darkness than meets the eye. In future novels, one can predict that the FAYZ is going to get worse, and one can almost predict that Caine and Sam are going to have to find a way to work together to beat the mysterious green monster. In Gone, this predictability crosses every aspect – from Sam’s burgeoning relationship with Astrid to his questioning leadership to his friendship with Quinn. It doesn’t make it a bad novel, just one that does not leave much in the way of surprises.