By Michael Grant
Last week, I finished reading the sixth and final book in the Gone series. This has truly been one of my favorite young adult series. It’s The Hunger Games meets Lord of the Flies x10.
The series starts when every person over the age of fifteen vanishes from the town of Perdido Beach, leaving the kids to fend for themselves. Not only are the adults all gone, but they’re trapped inside an impenetrable barrier. Everything inside the dome if you will, comes to be known as the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone). Even stranger, some of the kids have inexplicably developed super powers.
The Gone series is the story of their fight to survive, not only against each other, but against the mysterious entity known as the Darkness or the Gaiaphage.
These books are action-packed. Every time I would pick one up, I’d end up flying through it. There aren’t any lulls, just breakneck action. But that doesn’t mean we don’t get to know, love, and hate a wide variety of characters.
Like The Hunger Games (I keep comparing them to The Hunger Games, but Gone actually came first), these books are incredibly violent. They’re kids killing each other, fighting each other, committing suicide, and being attacked by strange creatures inside the FAYZ. It’s violent, gruesome, frightening, and horrible.
I’m a big proponent of giving books to teenagers that aren’t sugar-coated or dumbed down. The world is a dark and violent place and policing what they read isn’t doing them any favors. They only need to read the news to see what kind of world we live in. Therefore, this is yet another Shannon-approved series that goes deep, goes dark, and tells it like it is.
In spite of all this, this series is full of hope and resiliency. Even in the darkest of times, these characters form strong bonds of friendship and love. And that’s what really keeps you rooting for the characters throughout the series.
The series is six books long, but what I really liked is that Grant kept the story manageable. I often take long breaks in between books and the twists and turns that a typical series covers from beginning to end, can sometimes confuse me. Grant has his story well under control and keeps reminding you (subtlety) of events gone by so that even if it’s been a year or more since you’ve read the last book, you feel like you’ve got the story fresh.
I whole-heartedly recommend checking this series out. Pure adrenaline from start to finish.
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