Thursday, 25 April 2013

Gone by Michael Grant **Review**

Gone by Michael Grant
Series: Gone #1
Pages: 576
Publisher: Egmont
Release date: 16th February 2009
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK  Amazon US | Waterstones

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Goodreads synopsis:
In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.

Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. 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...

I can't believe it took me so long to get around to starting this series! Since way before I started blogging, I had friends, or readers I spoke to on Goodreads, or other places online, telling me that I would love this series and I needed to read it. I promptly got myself a copy, and then it sat on my shelves, unread, for a very long time. Far too long. And I'm glad that I've finally picked it up and read it. It was well worth the wait!

Gone was, in one way, a lot better than I had expected it to be. I think it was because the oldest characters in the book are 14, going on 15, I expected the book to be written for younger readers, rather than aiming for an audience that could potentially involve adults, as some YA does. I was pleasantly surprised, once I'd gotten into the book though, to find that this was not the case. Although it's not the most mature YA I've read (in terms of the written style), it's far from immature. The narrative hooked me very quickly, and I soon found that I was already emotionally invested in the characters and what was happening, especially when things started to go wrong for the protagonist, Sam.

This brilliant start to the series is very fast-paced, and not a page is wasted in the effort to move the plot forward. The story opens with the disappearance of Sam's teacher, as he sits in a class at school. He simply disappears, right in front of Sam's, and his classmates' eyes. Poof. Nothing. Straight away, we're into the thick of things, considering possible explanations for the disappearance of anyone over the age of fourteen. The truth, as it turns out, is stranger than we (as readers), or the characters, could imagine - and it's still not entirely explained - I have a feeling things will only get stranger in the books to come!
At no point does the book lose speed. It's always moving forward at a breakneck pace, but it's not rushed - nothing feels as though it's missing - the story is just an edge of your seat thriller, and one that refuses to sit still, which is awesome! I'd start reading, and before I knew it, I'd read 50-100 pages! I became so emersed in the world, and I was so excited by it, that I flew through the pages, totally unaware of anything but the story on the pages.

I think my favourite thing about the book was the switching narrative. Although I did like Sam's character, it was really good being able to occasionally see things from other characters' points of view - including Caine's, a troubled and disturbed, but dangerously gifted boy, and one that Sam must stop. I can't remember all of the different characters whose point of view we saw throughout the novel - sometimes characters would have a small section to themselves, but this would not be as frequent as Sam and some of the others - but I do know who my favourites were, and aside from Sam, my favourite was definitely Lana.
We first meet Lana when she's travelling with her Grandfather in a truck, driving back towards the ranch where her Grandparents live. And then, like all the others, he disappears. And Lana is left, with Patrick, her dog, crashing to her death in a now driverless truck. She is badly hurt and can't move, and only has the ever-faithful Patrick to keep her safe and keep her company.
But that's when things get really interesting. It slowly becomes apparent that, not only has everyone older than 14 disappeared, some kids have started getting weird abilities - things that shouldn't be possible, things they can't explain. I was fascinated by all of these mysterious powers, but there was only one power that I really envied, and that was Lana's. I'm not going to say what it was, because if you haven't read it, I want it to be a discovery for you, like it was for me. But trust me when I say it's very cool, and you'll wish you could do it too!

There was one element of the story that didn't sit so comfortably with me, but I can't really say too much about it, for fear of giving too much away. But I don't want to be too cryptic, so all I will say is that it has something to do with the coyotes that first appear to Lana.
Although the story is quite obviously fantasy, this part of the story seemed just a little too farfetched for me, at times, and although, as this part of the story continued and developed, it didn't seem so silly, I still had little problems with it. I'm hoping that it won't feel quite as out of place in the following books though, and it really was the only thing that let the book down for me (and that's only by a little bit).
I loved everything else about the book; the characters were well-developed and very distinct from one another. I was emotionally invested in some of them very quickly, and I learned to hate others in equally as speedy a time. The plot was fast-paced, exciting and gripping all the way through, and it ends at a perfect point, ready for the sequel to take over (which, by the way, I can't wait to read), and the narrative (and the way it switched between characters) was really effective. Everything else worked very well.

I'm not sure there's much more I can say about the book, without giving anything away, aside from reiterating how much I loved it! The story is exciting, gripping, edge of your seat stuff, as well as being very clever in parts, and in the direction it seems to be heading in. I'm certain that when I find out more about the FAYZ (what the kids call the disappearance of the adults, and other strange phenomenon around them), it will shock and surprise me, and that's another thing that's so great about this book - it's totally unpredictable!
If you haven't already picked up Gone, or the rest of the series, I really urge you to do so! This is a book that will keep you on your toes, and stay in your head, even when you're not reading it! A fantastic start to the series - I can't wait to read more!
(4.5 stars)


Lisa Mandina said...

I loved this series too! I only have the very last one left to read, and am glad I can't afford to buy it right away so I can hold out a while before it is all over. Great review!

Ana Costa said...

Great review!
I've already put this book on my to-read list for this year and I'm really looking forward to start reading it!

EmA said...

I loved this series, too! I didn't hear about it until this year and I'm so glad I got it! I can't wait to read Light!

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