It's always kind of scary when you reread a book that you read from that mystical "Before I was a Reviewer" time. That time back when you wouldn't dream of giving books a one star rating and your problems with books were only "this was too short" or "the main character isn't superfragilisticexpialidociously amazing".
It's always scary because even though you love the book so much, what if it's simply not as good as you remember it. What if you tarnish your memory of it by rereading it? What if you... hate it?
And what do I have to say to these little feelings of doubt?
... you're probably right. I MEAN
There is no way in hell that I wouldn't like this! Go away little doubt machines. We don't want you here. No one likes you!!!1!!
With all jokes aside, even with these feelings of immense doubt, somehow I managed to pick the book up again. All right - I was forced into picking this book up because I wouldn't buy LIGHT without rereading the series and someone wanted it really soon. Thankfully, I was sucked right back into the world of the FAYZ.
GONE is obviously the weakest book of the series but I really liked it all the same. I first got into these books in late 2010 and I fell in love with the characters and the plot. These are the books that initially made me want to read Stephen King because I knew that no other YA series would be as dark, gruesome, and oddly amazing as GONE was and still is.
One of the best parts of GONE is how realistic the actions of the characters are. I know an adult (who may or may not be my mother) who read these books and she repeatedly tells me how stupid the characters are sometimes. I do believe this is a matter of opinion and how you read the book.
I think that, to truly enjoy these books you have to stop thinking like a reasonable adult. I once read someone talking about how the kids’ first instinct was to go for the candy instead of looking to save the babies that were in abandoned cars and houses. The reviewer kept saying how idiotic that was.
Yes, you're right. They should've looked to go save the babies and the young children. Especially since many of the characters are pretty intelligent. However, would I have done that?
No, I wouldn't. I wouldn't have thought of that for a while and by the time that I did eventually think about it, they'd probably be dead.
Kids think, "Oh, all the adults are gone. I can eat all the candy I want because Mom and Dad aren't there to stop me." They definitely wouldn't think, "Oh shit, what about the babies in the cars and houses?"
As I mentioned, my friend is an adult. I'm not. The way I think is identical to the characters in the book. There are simply some scenarios which she can immediately say, "they should have done this and this and then they'd be done" whereas I'm like, "dude, that's more than I would've thought of."
Grant's characters are not only realistic but they're amazingly well developed. Every character has its flaws and strengths - some more than others though. There are some characters that are underdeveloped in this book. Personally I think Sam and Astrid are fairly bland in this book. They're both pretty lacking compared to characters like Lana and Albert. However, they are both still a very good characters which do eventually get the necessary building.
There are some characters that make you want to scream. In many instances, Sam made me want to throw the book at the wall. Dude, I get it. You're fourteen and you should be worrying about your algebra test and not keeping hundreds of kids alive. Angst is ok in this situation.
But please, stop it. You've had your time to mope. Please step up to the freaking position. All these kids look up to you and here you are sulking in the corner because omg responsibility.
What I love about these books is the fact that Grant doesn't sugarcoat anything. Violence, abuse, murder, rape - these books have everything. Everything that would have happened happens. There are many moments that I had to put the book done for a bit. While this one isn't as graphic or intense of the others, there are still a lot of these moments. I cannot recommend someone with a low tolerance for these sorts of things to read this series.
Now, onto the bad things about this book because believe or not, there are a few of them.
1. Plot Holes and Continuity
It's inevitable with book with so much going on, there are simply going to be plot holes and continuity. It's not that bad the first time around but as I'm rereading the series, I'm noticing more and more of these. They don't detract much, personally but with so many, I find it necessary to deduct a star for that.
There are also a lot of plot details like (view spoiler) that are simply never mentioned again and forgotten about. I understand that's it's incredibly hard to remember all these plot details but at least, reread your own books!
I'll admit it. Grant is not a fantastic writer. He's sort of the J.K Rowling of YA science fiction. Rowling's characters are superb and her plot is amazing. Is she the best writer? No, she's not. Her writing has a lot of problems. Don't get me wrong, I adore Harry Potter but I'd still be the first one to tell you that Rowling doesn't know how to use any dialog words other then "said" and "asked".
3. Lack of Answers
From the beginning, it's obvious that Grant mapped out the series for 6 books. I understand why this book has zero explanation for anything but I do like my books to finish with a concrete ending and some answers. I don't like being kept in the dark. In all, the ending of GONE doesn't have a cliffhanger and I really appreciate that. Though I've read books with even less answers than this, I still would have liked some more answers then what I got.
Overall, the GONE series is still one of my favorites and GONE is an excellent start to a fantastic series. I recommend this book to people who can overlook plot holes, continuity, and often angsty stupid teenagers to see the truly amazing story underneath.