Nowhere by Jon Robinson
|Nowhere by Jon Robinson|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Great premise for a conspiracy theory thriller is let down by flat characters and little depth.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 272||Date: July 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
There are 100 teenagers trapped in a prison for crimes they don't remember committing. Does anyone know they're there? What do the people holding them there want? And will they ever break out?
This is a gem of an idea, and I was really looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, despite a promising start as we find out a little about the shadowy figures behind this prison, things fell apart for me relatively quickly. Firstly, I felt the characters were weak. Apart from self-interested Julian, the rest of the teens are pretty much interchangeable good guys and girls, who are determined to fight back, or even more interchangeable 'turned' ones, who've been almost brainwashed into accepting their guilt.
Secondly, it's just shallow. Yes, there are some decent action sequences - it reads as if it's been written with a film in mind, in many ways. (Indeed, having just looked at Robinson's website, he says that his first attempts at writing were film screenplays.) In fairness, if it were to be filmed, due to an interesting plot and a few exciting scenes it might well work better on screen than it does on the page. Where it falls down as a book, though, is that it never really rises above the basic plot of the teens trying to escape and the adults trying to stop them.
The best fiction out there today for teens (and, for that matter, older primary school children) raises questions. Superb series like Department 19 by Will Hill, Gone by Michael Grant, and Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy by Andy Briggs, to name but three, combine superb action with thought-provoking moments and make you consider themes like right and wrong, power, and morality. In fairness to Robinson, there's one moment in Nowhere which raises these questions, but it's so close to the end that I'd lost most of my interest by this point. While it will hopefully be explored more in the rest of the trilogy, I'm not sure I'll stick around to read the other two books.
Oh, and annoyingly, it's yet another book that suffers from an incredibly weak ending which has barely any sense of resolution.
Passable if you really must read a conspiracy theory thriller, but there's just so many better books out there that I can't recommend it.
As mentioned above, Department 19 by Will Hill, Gone by Michael Grant, and Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy by Andy Briggs are all fantastic thrillers which should appeal to the target audience of this book.
You can read more book reviews or buy Nowhere by Jon Robinson at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Nowhere by Jon Robinson at Amazon.com.
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