In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. Gone. Everyone except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help. Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day. It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent. The first in a breathtaking saga about teens battling each other and their darkest selves, gone is a page-turning thriller that will make you look at the world in a whole new way.
14-year-old surfer Sam Temple is day dreaming in his third period history class when his teacher Mr. Trentlake disappears.
The basic premise is that in Perido Beach, a small Southern California surf town, everyone over the age of fifteen has mysteriously disappeared. There is an added twist in that some of the young people left behind have begun to develop strange powers.
Sam is the protagonist and the central focus for the story. He does not belong to any particular social group and only really has one true friend, Quinn Gaither. Although not overly popular Sam is known at school as ‘School Bus Sam’. A nickname he earned in the seventh grade when a bus driver had a heart attack and he steered the bus onto the shoulder of the road saving the lives of his fellow classmates. This makes people look to him as a leader. He struggles with the expectations of leadership, which are thrust upon him. He is the reluctant hero.
In a search for answers Sam is joined by Quinn, the school genius and his crush Astrid Ellison, and Edilio Escobar, a student who recently moved to the town from Honduras.
The rival school just out of town is Coates Academy, a private boarding school for rich troubled youth. The students of Coates arrive and elect Caine Soren as their new leader. He uses the bullies of Perido Beach to help police the town along with fellow Coates students Drake Merwin and Diana Ladris.
As you may expect Caine, along with Drake and Diana are the antagonists of the novel. Caine appears to know a bit more about these strange powers that the youth are developing and has a plan of his own. He also has a connection to Sam.
The novel is written in third person and switches perspectives between Sam and an ensemble of teens left to fend for themselves. There is Albert (my favourite) who has taken over the local McDonalds, Mary who runs the childcare centre caring for the babies between popping pills, and Lana who we first meet living alone on a ranch with her dog Patrick.
The novel has modern sci-Fi Lord of the Flies meets X-Men feel to it.
She peered closely at the alleged fish. 'I think that's an example of Pesce inedibilis,' she said.
'Yeah?' Sam made a face. 'Do you think it's okay to eat?'
Astrid sighed theatrically. 'Pesce inedibilis? Inedible? Joke, duh. Try to keep up, Sam, I made that really easy for you.'
Sam smiled. 'You know, a real genius would have known I wouldn't get it. Ergo, you are not a real genius. Hah. That's right. I threw down an 'ergo.''
She gave him a pitying look. 'That's very impressive, Sam. Especially from a boy who has twenty-two different uses for the word 'dude."
Received: From library
Review: This book, like City of Bones, has been long overdue on my TBR, and I am so glad the review mania helped me finally get to it because it is AMAZING!!!
Plot: No time for slow, boring descriptions or preludes! This book goes right into the action with all the adults disappearing by the first line! This book just took fast-paced to a whole new level. From the disappearance of the adults to the unfolding of the kids’ special powers to the ultimate battle at the end, this book just totally rocked my world. Sure, it’s full of action but Grant is also great at emotions too. When the characters break down, it’s so heart wrenching. You want to look away as if you were invading some kind of privacy. After around 50 pages, it seems to get a little dull, but don’t you worry because another few pages you’re more hooked than ever!
Characters: For once, characters act like their age. They don’t just suddenly rise up to the challenge, especially not Sam. He’s the reluctant hero type, wishing he could fall back into the shadows and invisibility and though he is an awesome leader near the end, for a while, he just hides and leaves when he is thrust into a position of responsibility. That made him really likable for me, because that is just exactly what a 14-year-old would do (including me, I am sorry to say). Astrid also is someone I would meet in everyday life – the lonely girl who hides it by being a smart know-it-all. Her brilliance earns her respect but she’s also modest and kind and truly caring. Her similarity to Hermione (you know who I’m talking about!) definitely earns her some brownie points. Without a doubt, the evil guys deserve a mention too. Where would we be without the Caine and Drake to fight? Caine, again, is totally believable. He’s been early on given these super abilities and never been told right from wrong, so he misuses his powers to hide that he is vulnerable: being abandoned by his parents at an early age and rejected by his love is sure to have its effects.
POV: The book goes through alternating points of view of some of the main characters – Sam and Astrid, to someone else, to Lana…That felt weird and kind of forced, but I suppose it was needed to get the back stories of characters that were away from the main action as Lana was. But third person omniscient might have been better overall.
Romanciness: Arr Sam and Astrid. So cute and again I must stress believable. Sam has had a crush on this beautiful, smart, too-good-for-him girl since forever and it’s only after the FAYZ that he has a chance with her. Now for some speculation…*SPOILER ALERT* Is Diana kinda, sorta into Sam? That would make for an AWESOME love triangle, much better than the usual two guys and a girl. Also, does Drake have a crush on Diana? I just have this feeling…*SPOILER ENDS*
Narration: Most of the main characters are 13- and 14-year olds but it’s definitely not a children’s book. I love the dark tone of the book that makes it more of a older YA book and I’m sure it will only get darker and gorier as the series progresses. YAY!
End: Can I say AMAZING? It resolves some stuff such as how the FAYZ came about, and the very end leaves you at a cliffhanger but it was resolved enough so you didn’t end up feeling like you were going to rip your hair out if you didn’t get the next book RIGHT NOW. I hate when that happens (I’m looking at you, Ashes!)
Similarities: Gone shows striking similarity to Lost, obviously and a lot of people have mentioned the similarity of Heroes with the sudden acquiring of super powers. As a Harry Potter fan, the relationship between Sam, Astrid and Quinn also reminds me of the Harry-Hermione-Ron trio. Harry/Sam would be the unwilling leader, Quinn would be Ron – the guy who has some identity issues and dissatisfied with his last place in the group as he sees it, threatens to leave. And you can just see Astrid as Hermione, both the only girls and both brilliant.
More About the Series: Wikipedia tells me that Gone, Hunger, Lies, and Plague have all been published. Fear will be released April 3, 2012 (the date's coming up fast!) and Light will "presumably" be released in 2013.
Recommended for: Everyone who likes a dark twist to their YA!
Sensitive Themes: Well, there is quite a bit of gore, just so ya know!
Reposted from my blog - http://book-spark.blogspot.com/
The Action: One of my favorite parts of this book was the rivalry between Sam, Caine, and Drake. You never knew who would gain the advantage over whom. The battle at the end was especially intense. The pacing was written very well also; there was never a dull moment.
The Concept: Disappearing adults? Weird mutations? A random wall? Strange powers? This Darkness thing? Heck yeah! It was exciting to read about all the strange happenings in the FAYZ. I really wanted to know what was going on. It was like I was reading a script for a new J.J. Abrams t.v. series (Lost and Fringe are awesome, guys. Highly recommend checking them out.)
The Villains: I REALLY, hated Caine and Drake. But it was the kind of situation where you love to hate 'em and hate to love 'em. I take that as a sign of good writing.
Alternating POVs: I really liked how this book didn't just tell the story from one character's point of view. This book had such a wide range of interesting characters; it definitely worked for this book having many of the characters tell the story the way they felt. Not many books do that any more.
I can't wait to read what is in store for the characters in the next book! I think I'm going to REALLY like this series.
Randomness: I really like both Edilio and Lana. Just saying.