The 100 by Kass Morgan
|The 100 by Kass Morgan
|Reviewer: Nigethan Sathiyalingam
|Summary: Although the writing is engaging, the book doesn't live up to the promise of its high-end concept and I was dissatisfied at the conclusion.
|Date: August 2013
Nuclear war has rendered the Earth uninhabitable for centuries. The remains of human society, a colony of people that managed to escape the cataclysm, live out their lives on massive city-like spaceships. Unfortunately, the spaceships are becoming unsustainable and as resources begin to run out, the Council is forced to introduce strict new plans and measures in an attempt to protect the remaining population. With options running out, a dangerous mission is conceived as a desperate roll of the dice: one hundred juvenile delinquents are sent to the Earth to test if the planet can once more sustain life. There is no telling what the remaining radiation will do to the teenagers, but in this hardened society, this is a risk worth taking.
The story follows four teenagers, Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass, among the hundred sent to the Earth. Driven along by a narrative that rapidly switches between the different characters, as well as between past and present, the writing is fast-paced and engaging. The back-stories that are gradually revealed for each of the characters are interesting, and provide intriguing hints at the tensions and problems that exist in the spaceships. From the strictly monitored one-child policy, to a democracy that is crumbling from within, and a distinct class system that is surely just a spark away from causing the entire colony to explode into conflict, there are multiple fascinating issues that appear to have arisen in this post-apocalyptic society.
Unfortunately, the book as a whole fails to capitalise on the potential of an exciting concept and interesting characters. Clarke and Wells are sympathetic and likeable enough, but some of their decisions don't make sense and I wasn't convinced by their complicated relationship. The love triangle that develops during the mission feels even more forced. It isn't just the relationships that lack depth. Despite plenty of interesting hints, there is limited depth to the world building, and I would've liked to explore the society in the spaceships a lot more. While the rapidly alternating narrative keeps the book feeling fast-paced, it leads to some of the reveals in the latter half of the story feeling rushed and lacking in impact.
Cliffhangers are always a risk and the quality of their execution can sometimes make or break a book. Unfortunately, the cliffhanger at the end of The 100 left me feeling unsatisfied and frustrated. The book is already relatively short for a YA dystopian novel, but with a four-way narrative on top of this, it feels as if very little has actually happened in the course of the story. There isn't enough time to become significantly familiar with this post-apocalyptic world, and I felt little attachment to the characters and their plights at the conclusion. There is no hook to sustain the cliffhanger, to ensure that readers are pulled to its resolution in the sequel. It's a problem that is only exacerbated by the plethora of teen and young adult dystopia out there. While I did enjoy reading The 100 and my interest was piqued by the concept and the characters, it doesn't do enough to stand out in a market filled with a number of stunning series that are all vying to be read. Nonetheless, there is enough potential in the story and the characters, that sequels could still makes this series something well worth reading.
Thank you for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
For top-notch young adult dystopian fiction, look no further than the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness, a truly stunning series that begins with The Knife of Never Letting Go. The concept of a group of isolated teenagers also brings to mind Gone by Michael Grant, the first in a brilliant sci-fi series set in a town where everyone aged over fourteen suddenly disappears.
You can read more book reviews or buy The 100 by Kass Morgan at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The 100 by Kass Morgan at Amazon.com.
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