No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.
Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents -- considered expendable by society -- are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life...or it could be a suicide mission.
CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she's haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor's son, came to Earth for the girl he loves -- but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.
Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope.
The 100 (The 100 #1)Featured
No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.
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?
As it turns out, they are more like alternate versions of the same universe than a literal interpretation, and that’s fine by me. But while I will tune in for season 2 on my TV, I don’t think I’ll give the book sequel the same leniency when it comes out later this year.
After a catastrophic nuclear war that devastated Earth, humans have found refuge in a space station in orbit. They’ve lived there for centuries, and as the story starts the leaders of the station have decided to send a first wave back to the surface to check if the planet is back to being habitable. Who better for that possibly suicide mission than a hundred teens that have been languishing in the station’s jail, waiting for their 18th birthday and the probable death sentence that’d be passed on them at that time?
The book is told in four alternating point of views, and each point of view includes flashbacks to important/traumatic events in the characters’ past.
Clarke is the main heroine on Earth. She was training to be a doctor like her parents before she was jailed right as they were executed. For the most part, she’s level-headed, and her efforts to help those who were wounded during the return to Earth makes her someone easy to root for. If I find fault with her, it’s with her attitude with Wells; how she could come to forgive him is a head-scratcher to me.
The other heroine, Glass, should have been part of the 100 returnees, but she took a chance and escaped before the launch so that she gives us a view of what’s going on in space - or at least, a very limited view of it. Frankly, her part of the story was boring to me. Things were too easy for her, too predictable, and while the reason of her imprisonment was teased out for most of the book, I had it figured out early on and it became rather annoying to wait for the story to get there.
Wells is a character that rather infuriates me. Unlike most of the other returnees, he chose to come to Earth, forcing the hand of his father, the leader of the space station. That much could make him interesting. And oh, look at that, he did it for love. Isn’t that something. Except… When I see what he’s ready to do for the girl he loves, it becomes more than a little creepy. It’s as though the whole ‘look how romantic I am’ is supposed to cancel his faults - which, sorry, no, it doesn’t, especially when you betrayed the girl in the first place.
My favorite of the lot has to be Bellamy. A little older than the rest of the characters who are just shy of 18, he also chose to come to Earth, and also did it for a girl… but that girl, Octavia, is his sister. In a world where everyone is a single child, that’s something very special and he knows it. And while it’s clear he’d do anything to protect her, he’s also not so blind as to ignore her failings. A little bit of tough love goes a long way.
The good, the bad and the WTH:
I particularly liked the few moments when the returnees get to experience some very mundane (by our standards) Earth things for the first time, like watching a sunset of experiencing rain, but those moments seemed few and far between. For kids who have spent their entire lives inside a space station, they seemed to adapt pretty fast to the great outdoors… go them, I guess, although I’m not convinced it’d work quite so easily.
I did not, emphasis on the not, like the romance aspects. There was quite too much of that, thank you very much. Don’t get me wrong, I like romance. I like it enough that most of my stories are romances. But methinks poor Clarke had better things to do, being the only medically trained person in the returnees and all, than finding herself at the center of a love triangle. And Wells, who took on a leadership role, also probably had more important things to do than stalk Clarke. As for Glass, her entire plot revolved on her love life. What do these people do when they’re not busy mooning over someone? Also, while there are (close to) a hundred young people on Earth, the three point-of-view characters among them seem to interact with a very limited number of people. Mostly, they deal with each other, and I couldn’t name more than three additional returnees.
All this accent on the romance was to the detriment of the world-building. There are a lot of things on the station that are only alluded to and not explained in a satisfactory manner - the one that comes to mind is, if every couple has only one child, wouldn't the population go down by half with every generation, especially given how easy it is to end up in jail and executed? As for Earth... was Bellamy really the only one trying to hunt or find food? One deer for a hundred kids - who've never eaten meat before... okay, then, what a feast...
And now the part that tips this book into ‘ugh’ territory for me: nothing gets resolved. NOTHING. Or maybe the reason why Glass was jailed, but like I said I figured that too early for the reveal to hold any satisfaction. The book ended so abruptly that I actually checked that I had all the audiofiles and was not missing something. I enjoy series a lot, and like the anticipation between installments, but this is not the first part of a series. It’s the first part of a longer book that just happened to be split in two (or more?). Like I said, I won’t be coming back for more.
The audiobook narration:
Both female and male narrators have smooth, expressive voices, although the male narration sometimes includes odd pauses within sentences. I never had a problem identifying which heroine’s or hero’s head we were in, even when picking up the book in the middle of a chapter, nor did I have issues identifying flashbacks even without any sort of cue.