Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Undefined Gamer: "Gone" Book Review

Caution: May contain superpowers.

      "The Dome," with only kids under fifteen. Some of them have superpowers.
      That's pretty much the premise for 2008's Gone. The book, written
by Michael Grant, has gotten nothing but praise since it came out,
though I've been putting off reading it for several reasons.

   The first being that I find the cover design lazy. Instead of
painting the cover either by traditional means or digitally, its
obvious that the cover designer hired actors, scrounged up a green
screen and high-speed cam, shot it, and photoshopped the rest of the
cover there. In short, there's not much there. The most stunning
feature of the cover is the quality of the camera (though later I
found that this helped me visualize the characters and help fill-in
for the oft-lacking descriptions of the characters). The second is I
have a Summer Assignment to do. This is a 500+ page book. If I where
to read this, it'd mean rationing time between reading two books.
      As I'm now reviewing this book, its safe to say that I chose to read
this in addition to my summer assignment.
      Gone is best described as a YA Sci-Fi novel, though it can fit
into many other genres if it tried (particularly Mystery). The plot
goes as follows: One day, everyone 15 and over blonked out of
existence (or poofed as Quinn likes to say). In addition to this, a
transparent laserlike sphere has encased the whole of Perdido Beach,
California. Like in Lord of the Flies, there is a struggle for power,
mostly among the bullies.
      Unlike Lord of the Flies, kids actually care about one another (the
presence of girls might've caused this). Meet our main character, Sam
Temple, surfer extraordinaire. Along with his pal, Quinn, they
traverse much of the novel looking for the little brother of an
intelligent girl Sam likes, named Astrid. They eventually do find
Astrid's autistic brother, Little Pete, in the Nuclear Plant in which
Astrid's father works.
      When Sam gets back to town, he realizes that a bully named Orc has
taken command. Nicknaming the sphere the F.A.Y.Z. barrier (standing
for Fallout Alley Youth Zone), Orc will soon loose his position to
Caine Soren, a kid from the 2nd school on Perdido Beach, named Coates
Academy. Coates Academy is for Troubled youngsters. Like troubled in
the head.
      From there, Caine seems to solidly follow in Hitler's footsteps as
to how to make a Bullshit Government.
     Who's his scapegoats? Kids who have "The Power." The power is best
described as random superpowers that can only be focused through the
hands. Caine, ironically, is one of the most powerful one of these
      From there, the novel is rivoting. Although Michael Grant never
really quite hooks you, nevertheless the pacing of the novel is so
quick that it can still be considered a page turner.
      The book is written for Young Adults, so naturally, you won't find
literary devices galore, though if you pay careful attention, you may
find some every now and again. The book's plot is fantastically
crafted, interesting and surprising at each step, despite lacking that
"hook" I talked about earlier. Don't get me wrong, this is a book that
I felt inclined to finish, but I could 100% put it down when I needed
to. My eyes simply weren't glued to the page like when I read other
     One thing that might help and hurt the book is all its modern-day
referances. True, Grant does use all of his present-day referances
effectively, like Rick Riordan did in his Percy Jackson and the
Olympians series, not only managing to effectively paint a picture of
the FAYZ, but also make the world seem stunningly real (the way he has
the characters react to events such as discovering the power
stengthens this), however, it also dates the book. Come 10 years,
there may be people who've never heard of the Jiffy Lube. These
referances might help Grant connect with his target audience; modern
day teens; however, they also will prove to be an imoediment to future
      Still, despite all this, Gone is an enjoyable book. It's a fast
read, even though lots happens. Like in Insurgent, Gone repeatedly
blows away your expectations, and proves to be worthy of all the
praise that it's got.
      Though no well-worded literary classic, Gone is an enjoyable waste
of a few days.

   Gone gets 4.5 stars out of 6

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