GONE is a first instalment of book series written by popular American author Michael Grant.
When in was published in 2008, it blew away the Young Adult audience and became an instant best-seller. Even to this day I can hear praise for Michael Grant's dystopian novel. Myself, I have had this book for quite some time. And for some reason, I have never found the time or cravings to read it. So when I was deciding what books I should chose for Autumn Reading Challenge, GONE found its place on the list. After publishing a pic of the book with current update on Instagram, I have been flooded with recommendations and praises for this read. And other book reviews seem to agree:
"Exciting, high-tension story told in a driving, torrential narrative, that never lets up. This is a great fiction. I love these books!" STEPHEN KING
"GONE covers all the bases... horror, suspense, superheroes and super villains. " WATERSTONES
"Levels of nastiness almost worthy of Dante. " GUARDIAN
Even Stephen King himself loves these books, so of course I had to find out for myself, what is the fuss about.
299 hours 54 minutes. Every one aged 15 and over disappears from the small southern town in California. All it's left are teenagers and kids who do not have a glue what is happening. Instead they are trapped in FAYZ and some of the kids start to develop superpowers. Animals mutate. And in the centre of it all is Sam, his friends... and his twin brother, Sam didn't know about, Caine who is just a pure evil. What caused the FAYZ? Where are all the adults? And what happens when you reach your 15th birthday? These are questions on everyone's mind. Good against evil. Right against wrong. Brother against brother. Everyone fights to survive. Who will be winner at the end?
Let me start with the edition first. It's beautiful and dark. You know that there is a very interesting story inside straight from the start. Black with neon yellow dyed pages and writing. Bold. Thick. It catches your attention. This is the reason why I bought the paperback in the first place. I just could not not buy it!
Let's talk about the story inside. Wow, this book gets straight into action. No messing around. No silly introduction and boring descriptions. You find yourself straight in the middle of what is happening. And it excites you to the point when you just cannot wait to find out more. You continue on reading. You are in for a thrilling ride. And the best thing about it, it never stops. The story continues to surprise you with its unexpected twists and turns. Not to mention, how vivid and brutal it can be at some parts. Mr Grant manages to capture everything you want in YA novel.
Suspense. Thriller. Unexpected powers. Thirst for power. Anger. Friendship. Love. And in the middle of all family drama. BRILLIANT. It keeps you on your toes from the start to finish without losing its initial excitement.
Let's meet the heroes and the villains in the story:
Sam. 14-year old boy who has a kind heart and a potential for greatness. But he is shy and has a secret which makes him want to stay out of spotlight.
Caine. Sam's long lost twin-brother. A Bully with the heart of stone. He is pure evil with superpowers which he using to his advantage to become the lead bully.
Astrid. Astrid the Genius. The smartest girl in the school who is not only kind, but she keeps you grounded and always offers a good advice.
Edilio. One of the few characters without superpowers. But that doesn't stop him in shining in his own way. He is a hero. He cares for others. He is smart and always fights for the right and good. He isn't scared easily and isn't intimidated by not having powers of his own.
Quinn. Sam's best friend. He is a little bit dis-hearten that he isn't special in any way. He gets jealous of Sam and has tendencies to save his own skin before putting ahead the needs of others.
Lana. A healer. She went through a lot and managed to survive. She is strong and smart.
Diana. The bad girl with badass attitude. She is Caine's sidekick and powers of her own. She has her own agenda.
I really admire the writing and how Mr Grant managed to capture the good but also the bad qualities of human personalities. The whole composition of story is mind-blowing. It's very dark but thrilling. And it just keeps on giving. You don't have time to catch your breath, you keep on reading to find out more. And then in the middle of it, you are surprised by unexpected discovery.
It's easy to read and follow. The writing is modern packed with pop culture references you can relate to. And the best thing? It's written from various points of views which keeps it interesting. There aren't any boring unnecessary descriptions of people and situations or pasts which would bore you to death. It's just straight to the point.
I have truly enjoyed this book. It was an unexpected surprise. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series: HUNGER, LIES, PLAGUE, FEAR & LIGHT are already on my book shelf. Mr Grant you have got yourself a fan.