Book Bub loves to sell dystopian fiction at a discount price and therefore, I read a lot of dystopian literature when I’m too lazy to go to the library and/or hack into my mom’s Kindle account (note: I’m not actually hacking, she gives me permission, but it feels cooler when I say the word hack). This book caught my attention though because Stephen King mentioned this series on twitter several times (and not in a “the publishing company gave me money for this blurb kind of way). I have always enjoyed King as a writer but I enjoy him as a reader just as much because he’s put me on the path to books that I probably would never had touched had it not been for him. So thanks Stephen, you’re basically in my book gang (like a book club but cooler) and you don’t even know it! On to the review!
It’s a beautiful day in Perdito Beach when without warning anyone 15 and older disappears in a blink of an eye. Chalk lies on the floor where the teacher had been writing on the board, kids being driven by an adult find themselves in peril and must control vehicles now that the drivers have disappeared, cell phones have stopped working and an impossibly wide and tall barrier (possibly a dome) stretches around town in a 20 mile radius. Some (not all) kids have developed strange powers (some slightly prior to the adult exodus) that can be used to help or exploit others. The kids are pitted against each other in factions as some kids want power and others just want to survive and figure out what’s going on. Our main characters Sam and Caine (can you figure out who the bad guy is??) have only a little time to figure out what’s going on because once someone reaches the age of 15, they pop out of existence…and both their birthdays are only days away. Can these kids figure out how to survive without adults? To take care of infants and smaller children? To understand what’s happening to them and why? There are many questions that arise from the book and slowly we receive answers as the series progresses.
I really liked this book. In my head I made a little equation that went like this:Under the Dome (-minus adults)+ X Men+ Lord of the Flies= GONE. The kids make kid-like decisions, and because of this I found myself muttering: “Cook the meat first before it goes bad!” but it makes perfect sense that in a world without adults, kids might explore the novelty of eating all the cake, candy and chips they can. Things get dark quickly and not only are they fighting for survival in the face of starvation but also for their lives as others come to town to threaten them. There is a supernatural element to the book that might take away some of the appeal for some readers, but it also has a lot of verisimilitude that allows the reader to suspend disbelief while trying to figure out how this large cast of characters fits into the bigger picture while the bigger picture is slowly revealed. I found book 1 highly engaging, though I wonder if I will be able to make it through all 6 books and if Michael Grant will be able to hold the tension that I found appealing in this first book.