Nicola's Reviews > Gone

Gone by Michael  Grant
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's review
Aug 08, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction, library, teen, fantasy

Gone is a Lord of the Flies/Heroes mash-up: everyone over the age of 14 disappears, leaving a bunch of kids to forge their own adult-free society – and it’s no coincidence that some of the kids have also developed superpowers.

However, it was the TV series Lost that Michael Grant’s dystopian epic reminded me of most strongly. They have in common a sense of “I’ll just throw everything at the wall and see what sticks”. If you’re willing to follow Gone down the rabbit hole (or down the glowing hatch), you might enjoy it. But, personally, I found it difficult to suspend disbelief long enough to immerse myself in Grant’s world.

The trouble is, Grant doesn’t seem to trust the inherent drama of his premise. Lord of the Flies is about normal children going savage, but Gone is about psychopathic children going savage. Grant pulls out a narrative cheat by conveniently placing a school for troubled teens within the novel’s setting. It’s much less fascinating to read about a bunch of mentally-disturbed bullies becoming... slightly more mentally-disturbed bullies.

Instead of digging deep into the makeshift society that the kids are forced to create, Grant just adds more and more fantasy elements to the story. There’s so much going on that it’s hard to stay engaged with it all. Once Grant adds in a telenovela-esque plot twist and some talking animals, the whole thing just gets silly.

There are some ooky gender issues within Gone – all the ‘nurturing’ falls to the girls, while the boys get all the power – but, honestly, you can’t accuse Grant of creating flat female characters, because he also creates flat male characters. I didn’t feel an emotional connection to anyone within the novel. The characters are just functions, there to prop up the plot.

(Can we call a moratorium on hearty trios consisting of a heroic boy, his doofy male best friend, and a brainiac girl? It worked in Harry Potter, but I’m a little sick of the trope now.)

If you’re looking for a dystopian teen thriller, read Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother instead.
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message 2: by Katy (new) - added it

Katy I honestly didn't pick up on the trio thing but now you mention it, it was definitely there! I love this series and I remember saying to my sister when I was reading this one, "I don't like how they have powers. It doesn't fit in." Yet here I am, four books later, begging April to hurry up so I can read Fear.

Olivia I totally agree with you dude, you read my mind bro. You read my mind.

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