Series: Gone, #1
Published by Harper Collins on May 19th 2009
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Social Issues, Adolescence
Reading Challenges: 2016 Dystopia Reading Challenge
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
The first in New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant's breathtaking dystopian sci-fi saga, Gone is a page-turning thriller that invokes the classic The Lord of the Flies along with the horror of Stephen King.
In the blink of an eye, everyone disappears. Gone. Except for the young. There are teens, but not one single adult. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened. 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, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: on your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else. . . .
Michael Grant's Gone has been praised for its compelling storytelling, multidimensional characters, and multiple points of view.
“Ninth graders with machine guns: its hard to make that a happy story.”
I bought Michael Grant’s Gone some time before New Year’s Eve of 2014. It sat on my shelf for over a year, before I finally decided to read it. It’s not because I didn’t want to. It’s just that there were so many other books I wanted to read as well, and I went a bit book crazy. Now that I’ve read it, I can’t believe I’d waited that long. Gone is a page-turner that sucks you in immediately. Usually, it’ll take a few pages or chapters before I’m hooked into a book, but Michael Grant’s writing style immediately grabbed my attention.
The story is a dystopia fans dream! People wake up to an ordinary day, and then wham! All of the people fifteen and older disappear. One minute they’re there, and then poof! Gone. No one knows why at first. They just know that they’ve woken up to a strange reality where kids are left without supervision. A place where bullies try to take the reins and rule over everyone else. Like The Lord of the Flies on steroids.
“There were always bullies, but the adults were still in charge. Now? Now the bullies rule. Different game, brother, a whole different game. We play by the bully’s rules now.”
As the story develops, so do the kids. Many start developing strange powers, separating them from those that don’t. At the heart of the story is the main guy, Sam, a reluctant hero who wakes one day with a strong power. He’s been a hero before, and now everyone looks to him to do it again. However, how do you raise hundreds of kids on your own when you’re only 14-years-old? Grant gives readers a look into a world where kids rule, bullies run rampant, and in the center of their new world lies a nuclear power plant that could be the cause of all their problems.
“You’ll never have complete control, Caine. This world is changing all the time. Animals. People. Who knows what’s next? We didn’t’ make this world, we’re just the poor fools who are living in it.”
I really like the characters in this book. Even the bullies. Grant has created very complex characters despite the multitude, and his world-building is phenomenal. It’s easy to visualize everything that’s happening, which is great considering how the story begins to veer into horror territory towards the end. Sam has reasons for being a reluctant hero. He’s not lazy, or trying to shirk responsibility. Readers can relate to him, and what he’s going through. As for the other characters, they’re also very well-developed. The story isn’t just told from Sam’s perspective, but many of the characters’ POV are featured. This makes the story read as well-rounded, and allows readers to see all sides of the scenario.
“I believe in free will. I think we make our own decisions and carry out or own actions. And our actions have consequences. The world is what we make it. But I think sometimes we can ask God to help us and He will.”
While the problem of aging out the society seems huge as Sam’s fifteenth birthday approaches, the fact that there are many sequels kind of took the urgency out of it for me. However, since there are so many characters and POVs in the novel, the thought that the series could continue without Sam seemed highly possible. Instead of fearing birthdays, however, the real threat for me was human nature. People are the real threat in this society. Especially since they’re kids. Watching them try to run their new “world” was fascinating, and I can’t wait to see where this story goes.