Author: Michael Grant
Series: Gone #1
Published: June 24th 2008 by Katherine Tegen Books
Language read: Dutch
Translated by: Maria Postema
‘Gone’ has a very interesting plot. The book starts of when our main character, Sam, is in school. It is a day like any others in the small city he lives in, until his history teacher just disappears into thin air. At first they find it funny, but as soon as they go and look in the school to find their history teacher they find out that their teacher is not the only one that has disappeared. All other teachers are gone as well. And it doesn’t stop with their teachers: everyone that is 15 years or older has disappeared. So the city is left with only children. Soon the little city is in chaos, because there are no parents, teacher, no policemen, no firemen and no doctors. The children have no idea what to do, though some of the older children take their responsibility by taking care of the babies and taking over the McDonald’s to provide food. But not everyone takes responsibility. There is a group of people from a private school a little out of the city that comes to the city centre where all the children are and that group is trying to take control over the city. At first, the children accept that because they realize that there needs to be someone that is in control. But there is a small group of children, namely our main character Sam and some of his friends, who don’t trust the children that are trying to take control. And they will find out that they are right, the people that are in control are evil.
What I liked about the book
The main thing that attracted me to this book was the plot. The idea of a city with only children was just brilliant, and it sounded like it would be a very high-paced story with a lot of chaos and action. That is just how I like my books: action-packed. And as soon as I started the book I found out that my expectations about this book where true. The story is really fast and there is a lot going on. One part of the plot is that in the city there are some mutations going on. Some animals are different than they were before, for example flying snakes and talking coyotes, but also humans are mutated. Some of the children are developing supernatural powers, which makes the conflict between Sam and his friends and the people that tried to take over the city so much more interesting. So the idea of this plot was brilliant.
What I did not like about the book
Although the plot was really great and the fantasy of Michael Grant was amazing, there were a several things about this book that annoyed me at some points. First of all, I have to tell you that I have read this book in Dutch, so I am not sure to what extent some of my complaints apply to the English version. One of the main things why I did not really enjoy this book is because the writing style seemed a little childish to me. I am not sure if that is because I read it in Dutch, or because all the characters where children, but I did not really like that.
Another thing that I did not really like about this book is that everything in this story is either black or white. People are either good or bad. The characters where really flat and didn’t develop throughout the story. They were introduced with some characteristics, and that is how they stayed during this entire book. I personally like it way better when I can see characters develop, if I can see them change by the events that are happening to them and I like to learn with them. But that did not happen in this story. People where either good or bad from the beginning.
The last problem I have with this book is the ending. I know this is the first book in a series of six, but I practically know nothing about why the adults left, where they went and how it came that they were all gone at once. I would have liked Michael Grant to explain a little more about this, because I did not like this book enough to pick up its five sequels. If it was a trilogy, I might consider finishing it because the plot is quite interesting. But I do not feel like reading five more books in this series just to get an answer to those questions.
Would I recommend this book?
I think that I would recommend this book to some younger teenagers, maybe people that are about 14 years old, because they could probably relate a little more to the children in the story and won’t be bothered by the somewhat childish writing style. This could be a really great series for younger teenagers that love fantasy/dystopian books. But I don’t think I would really recommend this book to someone my age. It was an OK read, but there are so many books that I enjoyed way better than this one.
Have you read Gone by Michael Grant? What did you think about it?