Thursday, 25 February 2021

Book Review - Light

Title: Light

Author: Michael Grant

Series: Gone (Book 6)

Publisher: Egmont UK

Release Date: 1st April 2013

ISBN13: 9781405257589

 

Synopsis

It’s been more than a year since every person over the age of fifteen disappeared from the town of Perdido Beach, California. In that time, countless battles have been fought: Battles against hunger and lies and plagues and worse, battles of good against evil, and kid against kid. Allegiances have been won, lost, betrayed, and won again; ideologies have been shattered and created anew, and the kids of the FAYZ have begun to believe that their new society is the only life they’ll ever know. But now that the Darkness has found a way to be reborn, the tenuous existence they‘ve established is likely to be shattered for good. Will the kids of Perdido Beach even survive?

 My Review

Here we are at last, the final book in the 'Gone' series, it's been a long time coming and over 3000 pages in content over the series. This book was a bit shorter than some of the others at 435 pages but still enough. 

We are straight back into the action, Gaia is walking free and ready to kill, Diana is trying to find a way to escape from the monster she ahs created. Sam is struggling to know where to turn next, how to fight and win or whether to face facts that fighting means he will probably die - but in doing so he will save everyone else.

Caine is back in the battle and finally stepping up to his role, though still with selfish intent at times. Edilio is still trying to keep everyone calm and in place whilst worrying about those dying around him. Astrid is still Astrid and basically the whole thing is reaching a crescendo pitch that you know is going to lead to it all shattering - the only questions is - who will actually make it out alive?

I found Gaia to be very annoying, it was good that she had her weaknesses, but overall I found myself really bored of reading her parts and would end up skimming over them. She was either moaning that she was hungry and then finding truly gruesome ways to get food sources, or she was walking along murdering people and laughing. It was all just a bit too sick for me. And I didn't see any reason for a lot of her actions, it again seems like Grant was just trying to shock us with the levels he could go to, but he just goes too far - it didn't really further the plot at all, it was just unnecessary. 

I kept reading through this series as I wanted to know if they would get out, how it all came to be in the first place and how the characters cope. I found myself rolling my eyes at a lot of it and quite frankly was not blown away by the whole reasoning of where the 'darkness' came from - I actually let out an 'oh really' when reading and rolled my eyes. 

I think my favourite part of the book was actually the 'Aftermath' chapters at the end that described how most of the kids (those that survived anyway) were adapting to life now they have been released from the FAYZ, this tied up a lot of questions overall and was actually more interesting. 

I am glad that I saw the series through to the end, but honestly think that it could have been told in half the time, a lot of it is unnecessary and just elongated for effect. I don't think they are the sort of books I will be picking up again in the future, and will be donating them to my school library - though with caution as the content is definitely only suitable for the older teens.  There is sex, drugs, cannibalism, violence, blood, gore, monsters. Pretty much anything unsuitable is in there. So warning for those giving these to children. 

 My Rating


 
 
 

 

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Book Review - Fear

Title: Fear

Author: Michael Grant

Series: Gone (Book 5)

Publisher: Egmont Books UK

Release Date: 3rd April 2012

ISBN13: 9781405257633

 

 Synopsis

It's been one year since all the adults disappeared. Gone.
Despite the hunger and the lies, even despite the plague, the kids of Perdido Beach are determined to survive. Creeping into the tenuous new world they've built, though, is perhaps the worst incarnation yet of the enemy known as the Darkness: fear.
Within the FAYZ, life breaks down while the Darkness takes over, literally—turning the dome-world of the FAYZ entirely black. In darkness, the worst fears of all emerge, and the cruelest of intentions are carried out. But even in their darkest moments, the inhabitants of the FAYZ maintain a will to survive and a desire to take care of the others in their ravaged band that endures, no matter what the cost.

My Review

I was left rather disillusioned after the previous book, but I feel invested in this series now and was interested enough to see where the book would go next. This one starts about 2 months after Plague ended and there are now 2 separate civilizations - Sam has taken a group and set up next to the Lake he found in the last book, he has a couple of girls who work and tend a vegetable patch, some people who can fish and he still trades with those left in Perdido Beach, life is hitting a rhythm and whilst not perfect, it's calm for now. Only thing missing for Sam is Astrid, and maybe a bit of adventure. Meanwhile Caine is running things as 'King' down in Perdido, with Albert still in control of business. Things aren't as peaceful there, but it's still working.

But nothing can ever stay peaceful for long inside the FAYZ and there is a new threat - the barrier is starting to turn black and it's spreading fast, if it keeps climbing the entire area within will be forced into darkness, no more natural light, which means no more growing food, and everyone's biggest fears will start to come true. People do crazy things when their minds go into panic. 

Not only do they have to contend with the darkness, Drake is still out there somewhere, the gaiaphage is trying to regain power and is going after Diana's still unborn but rapidly growing baby, and Penny has gone crazy and seems to get thrills out of torturing people. Once again its a handfull of shockingly bad situations all accumilating in mess, fights and panic. 

I liked that in this book we also get chapters from 'Outside' that feature the adults who were removed on that fateful day. The main focus in Connie Temple - Sam and Caine's mum, and we get a glimpse at how they are reacting to the sphere barrier and what they feel about what could be happening inside. We also find out what happened to Mary and apparently someone called Francis - but there are so many characters in this book I don't even remember him being inside or how he left. 

I'm still not massively attached to any of the characters, Sam is still rather annoying at times and although you can see a development with Astrid, she still doesn't seem all that relateable and I don't really care what happens to her.

Quinn is becoming my favourite character and it was good to see a different side of Diana, but I still feel like Grant could show us a lot more about the people. I just don't feel that attached to any of them, and I really wish he would just get rid of Drake already - he annoyed me right from the first book but he's like a cockroach that just won't die - but I don't feel like he's an asset to the story, he's just a pain in the ass and hasn't really changed at all from the start.

Overall this book was a lot better than the last few, I feel like more happened, some answers were given and some more questions were raised. I definitely want to know how it all comes to a close and am really intrigued by how this one ended. I actually read this entire book in one day. His books are always quite easy to read and even if not much is happening, they still move quite fast. And yes there is still unnecessary gore and violence throughout. Though i think I am becoming desensitized to it, as I just read through now and wasn't particularly shocked or moved.

I am definitely invested enough in the series to finish it, but I don't think I would ever want to read them again.     

My Rating


 

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Book Review - Plague

Title: Plague

Author: Michael Grant

Series: Gone (Book 4)

Publisher: Egmont UK

Release Date: 5th April 2011

ISBN13: 9781405256582

Synopsis

72 Hours 7 Minutes
Suddenly it's a world without adults and normal has crashed and burned. When life as you know it ends at 15, everything changes.
Disease is spreading through the streets of Perdido Beach: a devastating, hacking cough that makes the sufferers choke thier guts up - literally.
Across town, Little Pete lies unconscious, struck down by the mysterious illness. With the most powerful mutant in the FAYZ out of action, the future of the world hangs in the balance...
Escapism just doesn't get better than this.
 
 

My Review

I have been having doubts about these books and the way that they are progressing, but I still have hope that they will get somewhere. However, to me, these books are following a very similar pattern - you have the standard issues of lack of food and water and people getting on each others nerves and starting fights, and then there is always some sort of threat, whether from Caine, the Human Crew, or giant mutating bugs. Yes, in this one, not only are they struggling to survive, we now have massive bugs that will eat you alive. And on top of that there is an illness going around that causes the kids to develop a cough - but no ordinary cough, this one will cause you to literally lose your insides. With coughs so hard and terrible that they choke on their lungs. So gross. 

A couple of books back I said that Grant was being gory for no reason other than to create shock, well he's pushed it to the extreme in this one - the coughing disease is bad enough and made me squirm, but then he has insects that grow under your skin and slowly eat their way out of you. It was disgusting and not entirely necessary in my point of view.

Then we have the characters, Sam is becoming very self-obsessed and a bit of a whiner, I get the whole teen angst thing, but seriously get over yourself. Then we have Astrid who is just as self-absorbed but playing the righteous card but then resenting everyone around her. 

And don't get me started on Lana - she was probably the coolest character, but now she sits by herself, chain smoking and resenting everyone she has to heal. She no longer seems to care and quite frankly just needs a good slap. I know she's been through a lot but she needs to just snap out of it.

There were a few moments in the book that really progressed the storyline and there were just enough to keep me wanting to read. I like the addition of Toto and Sanjit, and the ending was actually quite intriguing. These books are very easy to read in that they follow a certain pattern and have enough in to keep you wanting to turn the pages, you can also skim read a fair bit of it because they are so samey. 

Overall, worth reading if you are invested in the series, I just hope the next book actually goes somewhere.

My Rating


 

Monday, 15 February 2021

Book Review - Lies

Title: Lies

Author: Michael Grant

Series: Gone (Book 3) 

Publisher: Egmont 

Release Date: 7 May 2015 

ISBN-13 : 978-1405277068

Synopsis
66 Hours, 52 Minutes

Suddenly, it's a world without adults and normal has crashed and burned. When life as you know it ends at 15, everything changes.
Tensions are growing in the FAYZ. The mutants are under attack. Food is scarce. Sam's gone AWOL.
At night, a solitary figure roams the streets-- the ghost of a boy with a whip hand, haunting the dreams of those he has tormented.
Then the town is deliberately set on fire... And through the flames, Sam sees the figure he dreads most--Drake. But that's impossible: Drake is dead. 
 
My Review
 I read the first two books quite quickly, then had a few days break before starting this one. But when I picked it up, I was straight back into the action. BUt I have to say I wasn't blown away by it. This book felt like it was a bit of a filler - not much really happens. 
We now have 3 main groups - The Coates kids, The Human Crew and the 'Freaks', all at war with each other and trying to survive. Food stores are now limited, kids are hunting and fishing, stealing and starving, nothing ever seems to be sorted as everyone is too busy arguing. 
Caine seems to be more of an afterthought for much of this book and I have to admit he was actually starting to bore me a little. 
Zil and his group of human thugs is just annoying, I spent most of his chapters just wishing someone would shoot him and get it over with. He's obviously there to create drama and tension but I just found him frustrating. 
Then we have Sam and Astrid - having constant arguments and ego problems and feeling sorry for themselves.
We also get introduced to the Island kids, I am not sure about them yet, they brought a bit of freshness to the story but we'll see how they develop in the next book.
These books can be gory in places, but Grant puts so much in there that I actually think he's desensitized me to it. I barely blinked an eye at most of the more gruesome parts in this book, it just didn't shock me anymore.
However I am still curious as to what has caused the FAYZ and I feel invested enough to carry on for now. I hope the story picks up a bit in the next one and draws me back into the world. If not, I will just google what happens in the others. 
I'm really conflicted about how I feel about these books at the moment. If this book is designed to just move things on ready for the next book then that's fine. I just hope it picks up a bit again and Sam pulls himself together enough to be the character I had come to like. 
 
My Rating

 
 

 
 

 

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Book Review - Hunger

 

Title: Hunger

Series: Gone (Book 2)

Author: Michael Grant

Publisher: Egmont Books

Release Date: 6th September 2010

ISBN13: 9781405251532

 

Synopsis

It's been three months since everyone under the age of fifteen became trapped in the bubble known as the FAYZ. Things have only gotten worse. Food is running out, and each day more kids are developing supernatural abilities. Soon tension rises between those with powers and those without, and when an unspeakable tragedy occurs, chaos erupts. It's the normals against the mutants, and the battle promises to turn bloody.

But something more dangerous lurks. A sinister creature known as the Darkness has begun to call to the survivors in the FAYZ. It needs their powers to sustain its own. When the Darkness calls, someone will answer -- with deadly results.
 

 

My Review

 This book starts 3 months after the first finished. Not much has happened in that time other than food starting to run low and fights starting to break out as frustration and panic begins to take over. 

The first chapter is quite gory and made my skin crawl - Grant is really throwing you back into the world with a bang, and I worried the whole book would be horribly gory, but it's actually not that bad as you go through, just enough to create an impact but not to put you off. 

More kids are starting to develop powers and the 'Darkness' is calling out, demanding to be heard, to be fed, to be released. This book has a lot more character development, now that the world is established, we get to see how the various different people react to the situations and we see more of their flaws and struggles, which make them all the more relateable. 

Sam is still in charge and he is starting to lose it, there is just too much pressure. He's only 15 and yet seems to be the father figure to every single kids within the 'FAYZ', he has to sort our petty arguments, arrange food distributions and sort the major problems all at once. He can't remember the last time he slept and quite frankly he is starting to get fed up with the whole thing. And who can blame him? I totally feel for Sam throughout this book and admire his courage and determination, I'd have been yelling and walking away long before now.

Astrid is still very much involved but felt more like a background character in this one, her main job is to keep Little Pete calm and happy and she only really features when Pete or Sam is having a meltdown.

Instead we have more focus on Edilio, Brianna the 'Breeze' and Dekka, and once again the bad guys are trying to take over and get rid of Sam so we still have Caine, Drake and Diana on the 'Coates' side. 

I liked that Computer Jack started to have more of a part, the boy really needs to learn how to stand up for himself and not be treated like a genius slave, but you start to see him come into his own a bit more and I look forward to seeing this more as the series progresses.  

Overall, this one doesn't have as much in your face action as the first, but there is plenty of little bits and pieces to keep you hooked and build you up to the main events nearer the end. Considering this book is just shy of 600 pages, I read it in 2 solid sittings, in fact I read 387 in one go, I couldn't put it down. 

These books are surprisingly gripping and will keep you reading and wanting to know more. 

My Rating


 
 

 

 

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Book Review - Gone

 

Title: Gone

Author: Michael Grant

Series: Gone (Book 1)

Publisher: Egmont Books UK

Release Date: 1st September 2009

ISBN13: 9781405242356

 

Synopsis

Suddenly there were no adults, no answers. What would you do? In the blink of an eye, the world changes. The adults vanish without a trace, and those left must do all they can to survive. But everyone's idea of survival is different. Some look after themselves, some look after others, and some will do anything for power. 

 

My Review

I have had these books on my shelves for years and never got round to picking them up. I had just finished my last book when I had a discussion online with the school librarian in a book group we had created and she mentioned this book. As it was at the forefront of my mind, I decided to give it a go.

Sam is sitting in class daydreaming about being out on the surf, when suddenly he realises that the class is fidgeting and looking round - his teacher has disappeared. After working out that they hadn't walked out, but had literally 'poofed' into thin air, it seems too good to be true. 

They soon realise that it isn't just their teacher - but every adult within a 20 mile radius. Anyone over the age of 15 has vanished, at first everyone thinks it's great - they can eat all the sweets they want and stay up late. But soon reality hits, the young kids and babies need to be looked after, there are no phones or televisions, and small fights start to break out. Someone needs to take charge but who should it be - many people think Sam is perfect, but he doesn't want that kind of pressure, but when the alternative is Orc and his group of bullies it's hard to thin of someone else. Then some of the kids from the local private school, known for their troubled pasts start to turn up in town, and a new rule of order is formed. But how long can they lst without proper direction, especially when some of the kids start to discover that they have strange powers. 

Sam has to try and fix everything before he turns 15 and disappears, he has just 3 weeks, but will it be enough?

I liked Sam as a character - he is very humble but doesn't shy away from conflict - he doesn't want control, glory or power, he just wants to live his life and help his friends. He isn't even sure he's brave enough. Yet he still perseveres, he's quite endearing. And he has a massive crush on Astrid - the school's super-brain and is lucky enough to have her on his side, along with his best friend Quinn and another student called Edilio. As a group they are very well made for each other, they all have their own strengths and roles, although Quinn gets quite stroppy at times which made me want to slap him and tell him to get a grip.

Then we have the rivals, Caine and his group of super-powered 'friends' from the Private school arrive and demand everyone does what they say. Caine has learnt to control his powers and is very strong, and he's not afraid to use them. Then he has his chief henchman - Drake, who may not have powers of his own, but is a big bully, can shoot a gun and doesn't take hassle from anyone.

I actually found Drake the most annoying character in the book, so full of himself and like a cockroach - just keeps coming back. I swear, he almost gets killed like five times and yet still finds a way to survive. He's not a nice person, in fact he's a total psychopath and I hope he doesn't feature all through the series because he will drive me mad!

Overall the whole plot is totally gripping, considering this book is nearly 600 pages, I read it in just 2 sittings, I couldn't put it down, I needed to know more. I'm not sure how I feel about the Coyotes and the 'Darkness' stuff, seemed a bit too much in places, but it wasn't enough to put me off and I actually really liked Lana as a character, sassy and refuses to quit. 

There are some slightly more gory parts to this book that could scare younger readers, a couple of bits made me turn my nose up and squirm a bit, but overall, it's just an enjoyable, fast paced story that is very gripping. 

 

My Rating


 
     
 

 

Friday, 29 January 2021

Book Review - Vox

 

Title: Vox

Author: Christina Dalcher 

Publisher: HQ 

Release Date: 7 Mar. 2019 

ISBN-13: 978-0008300678

 

Synopsis

Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins.
Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman.
Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.
For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…
 
 

 

My Review

I am a massive fan of Dystopian fiction, it's probably my favourite genre, so when I heard about this book I was definitely interested. A colleague at work was reading it and recommended I should try it, she warned me that it 'wasn't amazing, but rather interesting'. I then saw it in the 3 for £5 books in my local discount book shop so I grabbed a copy and it's been on my shelf for about a year.

I wanted a fairly quick read that was a stand alone novel, so I picked this one out. Jean used to be a Neuroscientist, enjoyed going out with friends and has a family - a husband and four kids. Now she is forced to revert back to being the 'traditional' housewife - cooking, cleaning and shopping. There is no need for her to read or write, no need to have opinions and certainly no need to speak. With the new government, women have lost all their rights, had their bank accounts frozen, their passports destroyed and been fitted with bracelets that limit them to 100 words a day - if they go over this they will receive a thousand jolts of electricity. Jean knows it is not right and she is starting to resent her husband and oldest son, and the position she is forced into. 

Then suddenly the government realise they need Jean's help - the presidents brother has had an accident and is suffering from a type of brain damage. If Jean agrees to help she will have her bracelet removed, received a sum of money (paid to her husband though of course). But Jean doesn't trust them and only reluctantly agrees after negotiating for her daughter's bracelet to be removed too, but once she is back in the lab - she realises that the government want something a lot more sinister from them, and that she will not ever truly be free unless the rules change. 

There are a lot of similarities between this and Handmaid's Tale, and I think they actually elude to it at one point in the book. But I still enjoyed it as a book in it's own right - the actual dystopian world is quite interesting - though I'm not sure exactly how this would have ever come about, it all seemed quite radical. I'm sure there would have been more of an uproar from people. The book was a bit too political in places for me and a lot of religious blame, that is at times uncomfortable. 

Jean is an ok character, her emotions and feelings are real enough to make you feel for her, she can be very naive at times and she spends a lot of time regretting what she hasn't done and what she should have done. But i felt invested enough in her story. The surrounding characters were there to support her story well enough but I didn't really care about them that much.

I read this in two sittings, and was interested to see how it would all pan out. The ending seemed a bit rushed and I wanted some more details, but I wasn't blown away. This book was interesting enough to read but I don't think I would ever read it again. 

 

My Rating


 
   
 

 

Monday, 18 January 2021