Plot twists are dime a dozen these days. You know they are coming, and most of the times they do, and that too in the most predictable form. So isn’t it admirable indeed when an author pulls something amazing right under your feet and you go ‘WOAH! Wasn’t expecting that AT ALL!’
That’s exactly what Michael Grant does in his sci-fi fantasy novel ‘GONE’.
GONE is a book that is difficult to classify instantly. For one, it is populated by teenagers all under 15. Because everyone above that age mysteriously vanish one day, or go ‘poof’ as the children put it, from the sleepy town of Perdido Beach. To add to it, they soon discover that their little town is enclosed in an invisible barrier, a glass dome that cannot be penetrated. So everyone’s pretty much stuck within. But wait, there’s more! Some kids soon discover that they are developing magical powers. For example, Sam, who is our protagonist can shoot light through his palms. Then there’s a guy who can become invisible, a girl who can heal pretty much any injury, and a kid who can teleport himself and others to any place. It’s strange, it cannot be explained, and Astrid (the Hermione of this book) is astonished at all the laws of physics that are being defied around her. But there’s trouble looming around the bend. Another group of kids from a school above the hill are planning to take over the town. What is their intention? Will these two groups work together or fight? What actually happens in a world without adults? And most importantly, what happens when one of these kids turn 15??
And since this is only the first book in the series, we are not going to get the most important of the answers. Nevertheless, we get enough to keep going!
All in all, it was a short and racy read and I pretty much enjoyed throughout and actually look forward to reading the subsequent books. (Which for me is rare, as I’m what you call read-the-first-book-and-move-on kind of guy. Too many series just lying around waiting to be picked up.)
If I have to name the one thing that I found the most impressive, it’s how realistic the characterizations are. These people are still so very young by all standards, so even though they have to fend and fight for themselves, you still see them getting scared of doing the more adult-y things like driving a car, making important decisions. And eventually, holding a gun as well. Who wouldn’t be scared?
But the author keeps the characters grounded and multi-layered too. There’s a lot of POV shifting, which I liked as I could see inside the heads of a lot of people than I could have asked for. It kept things interesting and the pace flowing.
All in all, a great attempt. And if you have been thirsting for a light-hearted YA book with a sci-fi twist, I highly recommend this.