Word on the street is that The 100 is set to be a show on the CW. Now, I don't know if it's for certain yet or not, but I can see this making a really great teen show. The reason I'm starting this book review with this particular comment is to help you understand whether you'll enjoy reading the book. If you enjoy CW teen programming with a little bit of a plot and a big heaping helping of teen angst over the top, then The 100 is a good choice for a quick, entertaining read.
Morgan uses four third person limited perspectives in The 100: Clarke, Wells, Bellamy, and Glass. Just try and guess their genders based on their names alone! Hint: the first and last are females. Actually, speaking of gender, that's one of the things that I think The 100 did fairly well. Women are not entirely marginalized in this futuristic society, which is a nice change from so much science fiction and dystopian stuff out there. Clarke's actually one of the stronger characters and Glass, though I didn't like her, does make choices for herself.
Anyway, these teens live on a spaceship and things are kind of a hot mess on board. There are rules about who can have kids, and capital punishment is really popular with the government. All four of the main characters, except for Bellamy, are Confined, basically imprisoned until their eighteenth birthdays which are rapidly approaching. At that point, they're to have a retrial, but that's just a formality, because no one's being found innocent at retrials anymore. Harsh, man.
So the point is that 100 of the teens from Confinement are going to be put on a ship and sent to earth to make sure it's habitable again (more on that later). Then there are some shenanigans and Glass ends up staying on the ship, allowing the reader to find out about all of the drama happening there, and Bellamy gets himself onto the prison ship. The ship goes down to earth and the rebellious teens start in on the romantic drama and trying to set up a rudimentary society, only they're a) rebellious and b) basing their knowledge of how society works off of the ship. All of this means things get pretty serious fast and it's totally a popcorn read.
What saves The 100 from being merely a surface read and builds out a bit of depth are the flashbacks in every chapter. These flashbacks show how the teens ended up in Confinement, and slowly reveal how desperate the situation on the ship had gotten. They really raise the stakes and the intensity, as you realize how far each one of these teens is willing to go.
What Left Me Wanting More:
As much fun as The 100 is to read, I had some issues with the world building, in that I would like more of it. I mean, the reader does learn that there was some sort of nuclear something or other and Earth is now irradiated. While they're waiting for the radiation to dissipate, they're chilling on this ship. Supposedly the radiation is maybe down to livable levels. What I want to know is roughly how long they've been on the ship and how they got there. Was there a plan in place to escape before things went haywire like in Phoebe North's Starglass? There's really no inkling of that.
Also, most of the characters are pretty terrible people, which means that I really don't care if they live or die. Even the nicest of them is such a terrible judge of character that I don't really care what happens to him either. I still had fun reading about them, but there's definitely no emotional investment here, for me anyway.
The Final Verdict:
The 100 is the bookish equivalent of a teen TV show, complete with romantic drama, shirtless boys and action scenes. It's fun and a nice choice for when you don't want to have to think too hard, and sometimes that's just the kind of book you need, you know?
It doesn't sound like it'll be my next favorite read, but it does sound pretty entertaining.