I've seen this book many times over the last goodness knows how long when visiting my local Waterstones. I've never really felt the need to pick it up and take a peak at the back. But a few days ago I did because it was in a 'if you liked this book' section with 'Matched' by Ally Condie.
Well, Waterstones wasn't wrong. I started this one slowly, reading a few pages before sleeping each night. I've been busier than usual lately and haven't had the chance to completely delve in. But the power of the story won me over eventually and I haven't put it down since.
So, everybody 15 years and over, amazingly disappears. The children in their classes are stunned by their teachers 'poofing' and after the hilarity settles down, it's not long before the fear in them all starts to show through. As the days pass by, things get rather intense and much scarier & some of these children are discovering they have super-hero type powers. And talking of powers, I've never really had an interest in super-hero-esque fiction, so I'm glad I didn't know how much of that would feature in this book before I started it. It wasn't off-putting in the slightest though and I actually really enjoyed the action. But had I have known, I'm certain i'd have not bothered with it at all.
We meet Sam to begin with. He's such a nice boy. Too nice, really. But I guess expecting a 14 year old protagonist to be edgy and sexy isn't really acceptable and so Sam in my opinion was an enjoyable character. I find the intro to his mysterious secret at the beginning of the story a little confusing and had to back-read on a few occasions but in time it all started to smooth out. Honestly, I really had no idea what direction his story would go in and there were some surprises along the way, but perhaps overall his character did become quite predictable.
We also meet Astrid (the genius) and a little later on her autistic little brother, Pete (who the characters annoying call Little-Pete and then LP through out the book). Astrid is nice, like Sam. A little dull if i'm honest. I couldn't picture what she looked like in my head. Sometimes a character easily forms but Astrid just wasn't given enough personality for her to become a part of my imagination.
Then there's Quinn & Edilio. Quinn is Sam's best friend and probably my least favourite character in the book. He's whiney, wimpish & I don't really understand why the others waste their time with him during such a critical time. I think Grant tries his best to give Quinn an excuse for his behaviour but still, I wouldn't have missed him if he was left out of the book. Edilio on the other hand I rather enjoyed. He wasn't exciting but he was mature and respectable as a character.
From Coates (the school for rebellious children) we have Caine, Drake & Diana, along with a few others. The others are all basically the same character with a different name. We don't get to see any other side to them other than their bullying. Drake was an interesting character. He gets more and more twisted through-out the book and I was kind of hoping we would see a breakthrough with him and get to meet another side to him. Diana I actually quite liked. She was almost sorrowful as much as she was not-so-nice and that for me gave her some depth.
Then there are the bullies that Sam went to school with; Howard & Orc. There are some interesting changes for Orc near to the end of the book and I liked that but Howard was a little dull for me too.
In all, none of the characters had me emotionally invested enough. I wasn't really routing for anybody. Saying that, I didn't really hate anybody either. Not even the not-so-nice Coates kids, who at times were utterly vile.
I liked the way Grant wasn't afraid to inject some violence and gore into a book that centres around young teenagers and children. There are scenes that readers may find a little hard to read and I do question why he didn't have the age of disappearance a little older and aim this book more to older teenagers rather than the 12-14 age-range. I would have enjoyed it a little more, I think, had there have been more adult content *ahem*... I like a good romance, which is just not believable when the characters are all under 15.
What really got me with this entire plot was the sheer panic it stirred within me. What if this happened. I have two small children. They are 5 (today) and 6. The thought of them being in the FAYZ, alone and having to look out for themselves is truly terrifying. The consequences of adults disappearing is absolutely horrific.
I've gave 'Gone' 4 stars. I really enjoyed the story, the style of writing & what it exceeded my expectations by quite a large amount. If the characters had been maybe a little older and more developed it could have quite easily been a 5 star.
Take a look inside, and in the mean time, i'll be starting on the second book of the series, 'Hunger'.
Browse Inside this book
- Reading level: Ages 13 and up
- Hardcover: 576 pages
- Publisher: HarperTeen; First Edition edition (June 24, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061448761
- ISBN-13: 978-0061448768