Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Grant, Michael. 2008. Gone. HarperCollins. 558 pages.
One minute the teacher was talking about the Civil War. And the next minute he was gone. There. Gone. No "poof." No flash of light. No explosion.
I have mixed feelings on Gone by Michael Grant. On the one hand, it's an exciting thriller. A book based on an interesting premise--what if all adults (at least all adults that we know about within this one county at least) vanished. What remains are young adults under the age of 15 on down to the wee little newborns. Gone as well are all phone lines and Internet connections. And television. Effectively, these people are shut off from the world. They have no way of knowing--and neither does the reader--how widespread this vanishing is. If there is an outside world that can be reached or connected. It's a mad scramble to find food...and babies. (It's not always a happy picture. There were young children--babies and toddlers and preschoolers--left too long with horribly tragic results. I want to scream at them: Why didn't you think to look for the babies right away??? Why wait, can't you imagine that every hour counts?!)
But on the other hand, while the premise is intense and thrilling, I wasn't that impressed by the characterization. The characters themselves, their stories, their narratives, didn't impress me. The reader learns that a handful of these characters--over half of the ones we meet up close and personal--have superpowers. They have enhanced abilities--the power of healing, the power to shoot flames out of their hands, the power to transport themselves from room to room, the power to read minds, etc. Some of these characters are the "good" guys, others are the "bad" guys. And from the very start, the reader knows we're counting down until the Big Confrontation.
I'm honestly not sure if it was a personal disconnect or a more general one. Have you read this one? Am I missing something? Is it just my mood? Am I only supposed to care about the premise?
While the premise was intriguing and the plot was action-packed with a few thrilling reveals thrown in, I didn't really connect with any of the main characters. And because I didn't care about the characters, I had a hard time genuinely connecting with this one. It's not that I didn't "like" it. There was nothing about it that I could point at and say exactly what it was that didn't work for me. I think it will work for many--if not most--readers.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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