on 3 July 2011
If you need to go on a crash diet then my advice is to read this book. When I first downloaded Gone onto my Kindle I thought it was going to take me ages to get through it as it's pretty hefty - digitally speaking - but within only a few days I was distraught to find I'd hit the last page. Apart from work I suspended all other activities and a bowl of cereal became a suitable substitute for dinner. I literally trembled my way through Gone and could not abide putting it down in case something hideous should happen to the characters in my imagination. Every time I had to switch off, the heroes were on the point of defeat and I couldn't bear to leave them hanging there, so switch offs were fairly infrequent (that's what I particularly love about my Kindle, needing no hands to read is a real aid to multi-tasking!).
The writing is spot on for this kind of story, the pace is perfect to keep your heart pounding and the story complex and long enough to leave you satisfied. So many questions are raised right from the start and the lack of answers is agonising but the real key to Michael Grant's writing is that no answer is predictable. I was literally left scratching my head, teetering on the point of confusion when I turned the final page and I don't know how I have managed not to dive straight into the next book - some form of mental masochism I suppose.
It's the main character, Sam, that holds all the threads of the story together and keeps his friends alive with his quick thinking and natural courage. Sam offers a glimmer of hope that in the event of adult eradication a leader would step up who was good-natured and had incredible common sense but at the same time, his inevitable demise hangs over the reader as a countdown to his fifteenth birthday is issued at the start of every chapter. Sam and his friends are so easy to empathise with, they all have their own problems and their own way of dealing with those problems and none of them lack characterisation.
Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of this story is that it is so reasonable to imagine that out of the book universe, if all the adults really did vanish, every single event the characters go through could actually happen. Why wouldn't the bullies become tyrants? Why wouldn't it take so long to organise search parties for the youngest survivors that they end up finding only corpses? Why wouldn't a kid take over the McDonald's to try to boost morale? More importantly, the kids have real problems like bulimia, cowardice, autism and psychopathy, which makes for an interesting cast that set up engaging plot assets and storylines - they're not just your average book heroes with endearing little flaws, they have the hardcore issues you would find in any bunch of actual kids.
You do start to freak a little at the realism, like when you were forced to read Lord Of The Flies for GCSE, and that's exactly what this book is - Lord Of The Flies with microwaves and mutations. There are moments when I felt genuinely uncomfortable and slightly disturbed, there are vivid images that will stay with you, popping into your head at unexpected times and reminding you that you haven't read any of the sequels yet. But if you can swallow all that, you'll find in Gone an astonishing exploration of courage - what it means to different people, how different people achieve it and how people deal with not having it.
Gone is so worth reading and when you have, I challenge you to say you were not deeply affected by it.
on 7 June 2012
I took this book on holiday with me and read it in a day. Realy great read, am awaiting the next book! My teenage daughter also read it and loved it. Book cover states 12+, which i agree with due to some violence and the nature of the story (all adults disappear and kids turn to bullying and violence with no rules). If you've read the hunger games, which has more violence, you should be fine with this. No swearing or sexual content at all. No graphic descriptions of violence, but the lack of adults causes disturbing behaviour that sensitive individuals may find upsetting to read about. This book is a real page-turner, the only downside is the story doesn't end - another 5 books to go!
on 21 April 2012
I am Thirty Six years old. I had just finished reading "The Hunger Games" Trilogy, and was craving for more of the same. That is when I came across the "Gone" series. I thougt I would give it a go.
From the first chapeter, I was sucked into a deeply chaotic world of scared kids and strange happenings. I have a 10 year old son who suffers from various aspects of Autisum and ADHD. His little brother Is serverly Autistic. Reading these books, I felt an instant connection to these charaters. "Little Pete" is written exactly as Jack and I could see the manurisims and character traits in every description from the author.
These books are well written and very intensly reaserched. The action is tense and captivating, while the peril has you on the edge of your seat. I felt myself screaming at the charaters at some points and cheering at others at three o'clock in the morning because I had to keep reading.
This series will have your willing the heros and cursing the villans. It is simply amazing. There are parts that will shock you, for a kids author, but he keeps it just the write side of dark.
I would advise any body with the love of "Lord of the Fies" "Hunger Games" "X-men" to get this book. It is all three in one with a modern backdrop.
I cant wait to read the others in the series. I hope they are as good as the first and more compelling.
on 30 November 2013
`Gone' is simply a teenage version of the x-men, with a watered down bit of `Lord of the Flies' thrown in there too. It reads like a television series but Michael Grant has tried to make it more substantial with the vast numbers of characters included. I don't think he has quite pulled it off.
The plot is pretty straightforward and, though I hate to admit it, is quite predictable, too. You can see where the story is going right from the beginning so it gets a little frustrating that it doesn't develop soon enough. The token romance is easy to spot from a mile off and the main character, Sam, just comes across too much like a clichéd American hero. That being said, the plot does take a bizarre twist two thirds of the way through which made me find the book more ridiculous and bland, rather than allowing myself to get lost in the narrative as I usually do.
There are so many characters in this novel that author does not get the opportunity to develop them enough before moving on elsewhere. This is quite disappointing and when the story finally switches back to them, I found myself flipping back to remind myself of their character. That being said, some are so one-dimensional that it is frustrating that author has given them centre stage.
The chapters begin with a countdown and it is not made clear why until you are significantly through the story. By this time I found myself so committed to wanting to know what happens, that I had to read to the end anyway. And that was before I found out this is the start of a pretty hefty series. (Once I start a series, I really feel that I should give it my full attention until the very end, so don't be surprised to find that I will probably be reviewing the other books in this series as I come across them. )
To summarise, this book is quite straightforward in plot and easy to get into, but is one that is too full of clichés from its genre and setting. It is almost like a pilot episode from a television series, because of the development of character and setting that is so badly needed. Give this one a go if you want an easy read, but don't expect too much from the plot and take heed of the health warning that the this is the start of a series of books. Hopefully the next instalment will be more enjoyable and not just a book that tries too hard, with the intriguing black cover and (quite honestly really irritating) bright yellow pages.
This is my first exposure to Michael Grant's writing, and he totally blew me away. Maybe it was because I am partial to the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but truthfully I don't think that had anything to do with it. This story was just.... WOW!
Imagine sitting in class one day, maybe you are paying attention to your teacher, maybe you are daydreaming about surfing, then all of a sudden your teacher disappears. What would you do?
It just so happens that this very scenario happens to Sam Temple in his history class. It turns out his teacher isn't the only one missing; everyone over the age of thirteen is missing. Not just missing but disappeared. No cell phones, no television, no Internet. Poof, gone!
Sam has been in a horrific experience like this before. Well, maybe not exactly like this. Sam had saved a bunch of kids on a school bus after the driver had a heart attack, good ole' School Bus Sam. Sam was a natural leader, but he didn't feel like it. Now everyone is looking up to him for answers, but all Sam feels is guilt. Guilt because there is a possibility that this was his fault. Sam has this little problem -- he can shoot beams of light and burn people's hands off. Literally. But I guess things like that happen when you live in Fallout Alley.
Thankfully, Sam isn't alone. He has his best friend and surfer brah, Quinn; the genius, Astrid, who Sam has secret feelings for; and the faithful and dependable Edilio.
Of course, in any untamed civilization, there is always a power struggle, those who have it and those who want to take it away. It turns out that Sam isn't the only one who has "powers." When the kids from the private school, Coates Academy, show up, Sam and Astrid realize there is something more going on. It also doesn't help that the kids from Coates and the kids from Perdido don't exactly get along.
Caine from Coates Academy comes in, dazzles everyone with his charm, and takes control of the FAYZ, a.k.a. Fallout Alley Youth Zone. Caine has his own secrets. He has powers of his own. And if he thinks your powers might be a threat to him, he takes care of you one way or another. But when Caine's sinister sidekick, Drake, allows a girl to be beaten to death with a baseball bat for doing a "magic trick," things go from bad to worse.
Caine knows that everyone looks up to Sam as a leader; so begins the battle of good vs. evil. Besides, Caine has his own hidden agenda toward Sam. Oh! And did I mention that when you turn fourteen, you poof, too? So not only does Sam have to save this new world, but he will also be fourteen in a week or so. No worries, though. Yeah, right!
There are so many twists and turns in the plot of GONE that you won't be able to put this book down until it's, well, gone. But don't fret, this is only the beginning of a six-part series. The characters are well-developed. I love when you feel like you really connect with characters, and this was one of those experiences. You not only get to experience Sam's part of the story but the views of many other characters. There is action, suspense, romance, science fiction, and fantasy all rolled into one.
GONE is a spectacular beginning to what I can only hope will be a thrilling series! Amazing!!!
Reviewed by: The Story Siren
on 28 June 2016
This book is the perfect mix of adventure, fantasy and thriller. The book is about kids but definitely not only for kids. It is kind of of a mixture of Lords of the Flies, Lost, Heroes and maybe Stephen King got his idea for his great book Under The Dome. A barrier, all parents gone, kids with superpowers and the good against the bad, book has all for a thrilling read can't wait for the second part
on 1 August 2014
Yes I was hooked, and yes I read the whole book. But I found it really unpleasant. Children killing children, children torturing children, children betraying children, babies starving to death.... . Nevertheless it is gripping and for gore loving teenagers this will appeal and grip. But I would personally urge anyone thinking of buying it for their children to not do so - they are already exposed to too much violence and I don't think this book is healthy for anyone's mind. I will not carrry on with the series - I think the world can live without this kind of literature. It's a great concept - in a split second all the adults disappear and the children have to fend for themselves, but this book did not need all this gore, horror and violence. I am disappointed that this is marketed as YA literature and would urge the publishers to consider if they would really want their own children reading this. Movies carry age warnings. I sometimes think books aimed at children should be rated too.
on 15 January 2010
Intrigued by the back of the book I grabbed a copy in the YA section I happened to be passing. Being a few years past 'YA' fiction my conclusion is that the book was OK/average on the whole. In contrast to other reviewers I certainly remember reading far scarier and more gruesome things as a teenager plouging the adult horror section of the library - Gone was pretty tame stuff.
Sadly the interesting premise dwindled away when it became clear that there was going to be no resolution in this book. All I wanted to know was: why did this happen and how will it be resolved (if at all). Rather like the tv show Lost this book has taken a fascinating idea but is now going to string it out for all its worth (££££ in other words). The writing is OK (bit leaden and verbose in parts); the plot is identiiable to start with but then divides into multiple strands none of which commands the author's entire attention so it's hard to know what the plot is at times (is it fighting Caine/is it finding out why the fayz has occured/is it trying to un-do the fayz/is it the increasing mutations and beginings of a comic book franchise?) As diverting as Gone could occasionally be I won't be joining the fayz ride - I'll just wait for the movie franchise to come out and catch it on DVD.
on 26 August 2013
This is a scary looking book and the back cover contains a warning of violence, which is well deserved. Very much in the style of the Hunger Games , and more so the Lord of the Flies, this book has all the adults disappear in the first moments and then proceeds to have teens fifteen and under are literally abandoned to try and run the world.
I particularly like the fact that almost none of the protagonists can drive, and adult skills such as cooking, child minding, computers are spread among the populatin with an occaisional child having a strong talent, and the rest being fairly clueless
The story never stops and you are forever on the edge of your seat, but with so many questions not answered at the end, it can feel a little un satisfactory, but then there are sequels.
So read this in anticipation of a long journey through the sequels that follow
on 27 December 2011
Gone is an engaging read, but as I'm on a reading kick of "Young Fiction" it really suffers in comparison to my other two recent reads: "The Knife of Never Letting Go" and "Hunger Games".
All three stories also begin series, with a sci-fi base, young protagonists and world-weaved mysteries to unravel. The other two simply do it better. Gone never quite frees itself from the clichés it is based on. Intelligent readers will be a few steps ahead of the story, as revelations are fairly heavily signposted, and characters are stamped from some well worn moulds. It's difficult to root for the two surfer bros who use "brah" at every opportunity, or the love interest who's purpose is made clear from the get go. Every character who appears does little to surprise, they are so clearly defined that you know what they're going to do throughout, they never rise above their own predictability.
As something of a geek myself I would be interested to know what other readers thought to the fact that the in-crowd remains the in-crowd. Popular in school: popular in the FAYZ. Powerful in school: powerful in the FAYZ. The mutations mirror social order for some reason. The lack of reversal where a character like Computer Jack could have risen above his bullies is disappointing and leaves less room for the escapism a good book can provide. Maybe it will happen in later books, but that doesn't make it less of a disappointment here.
Gone is still a lot of fun, but it's more like a comic book than a graphic novel. You'll likely enjoy it (I did), but I wouldn't put it at the top of your to-read list.