Monday, 30 April 2012

The Gone Series - Michael Grant

The fifth book in the Gone series, Fear, just came out a few weeks ago and after reading it, I have decided that everyone in the world should read it, as well. Which is why this post can also be titled


Do you like YA dystopian novels? Than have I got a series for you. Trust me when I say that it is definitely more disturbing than The Hunger Games (and I love The Hunger Games.)

The first book begins as, one morning out of nowhere, everyone over the age of 15 disappears in a small town in California called Perdido Beach. You find out later that a dome (known as The Barrier) has formed around a huge chunk of California, about a twenty mile radius from the middle, a power plant. Perdido Beach just happens to be inside. The kids will call the area The FAYZ.

Of course, the first reaction of the kids is what you would expect: no parents, party, eat all the junk food, etc. However, one thing that I think really sets the Gone series about is that it continues past that. For when all the food is gone because no one is planting or harvesting. To when all the water is gone because there is no rain inside the dome. To when the littlest children have to start being looked after because they can't care for themselves. To when they need to install a currency system because bartering has become too dangerous. 

That, in itself, I think is one of the most interesting aspects of the Gone series. Beyond that, however, we have the creepy, dystopia stuff. Because why did The FAYZ come into being in the first place? And why have some of the kids begun forming strange powers? And why are there sudden mutations in the animals inside the dome? There is nothing creepier, let me tell you, than talking coyotes. 

Whenever I try and pitch this to my friends, they always look at me a little strangely when I start mentioning the supernatural elements but let me assure you that they do nothing but add to the book. If there were nothing of that sort, to be honest, it would just be Lord of the Flies. By adding a supernatural element (and an enemy in terms of the Gaiaphage (you'll see)), there is added danger and strategy. 

The books are very dark, as well. It's not easy to survive in this new world and, honestly, a lot of kids just don't. Some go crazy. Some get killed by wildlife. Some just die by weird accidents. And Grant has no qualms about killing off main characters. In each book, new important characters get added but characters you've cared about for maybe all the previous books are just as likely to be killed as a random red shirt. I rather like that aspect of it; you never get too comfortable while reading.

Another important detail that adds a lot to the books is the format it's written in. Each chapter begins with a countdown, usually less than 36 hours, to when the major event in the book is going to occur. Because of such a short time period, the pace is frantic and tense, really pulling you in to each novel. Between books, however, whole months pass so that now, by book five, I think the kids have been in the FAYZ at least a year. Watching them have to sustain themselves for that long, while not knowing if they'll ever get out, is powerful.

All in all, I love the Gone series and am quite upset that the last book, Light, doesn't come out until next year, especially since there was such a dramatic revelation at the end of Fear. If you would like to catch up and discuss the end of Fear with me, well, that would be much appreciated.


  1. Are those the UK covers? Because they are so much better than the US editions.

  2. The covers themselves are better, agreed. The only downside to the UK ones are that the edges of the pages are the same color as whatever the theme color of the book is so Gone looks like someone attacked it with a highlighter.