Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The 100 by Kass Morgan

Hundreds of years ago the lucky few escaped the destruction of Earth for the safety of space and their descendants now live as Waldenites, Arcadians, and the privileged Phoenecians.  Life is maintained through a series of strict laws, where serious infractions are met with a death sentence - life is sacred, but the well being of the masses outweighs the well being of the few.  Juvenile offenders are Confined until they are eighteen and can be tried as adults, while adult offenders are sentenced on the spot.  There has always been hope that a teenager may receive a reprieve at their retrial, but lately no one has been successful and there is a distinct lack of hope amongst the juvenile population in Confinement. 

When one hundred of the confined teens are bundled into a space ship and sent to Earth it may seem an act of mercy, but in reality they are nothing but human guinea pigs as the ruling powers of the space colony seek a desperate solution to their dwindling supplies.  As the brave new "colonists" try and survive their strange new world on limited supplies old memories resurface and old betrayals rise to the surface as they wait for their lives to end in what they have always been told is a toxic, poisoned landscape.  What they find is a strange world that seems oddly untouched, where the trees are huge and somewhat intimidating, and the animals are vaguely familiar but somehow different.  As they attempt to forge new lives for themselves, some find it more difficult to shake off their pasts than others, and they don't know that there are greater challenges ahead.

I sought out The 100 after watching the pilot episode of the television series based on the book - basically I wanted to see if the book was better, the same, or worse than the series.  What I quickly discovered was that the television series is truly "based" on the book and is not a faithful copy, diverging from the book in several key areas right from the start.  I was somewhat relived as there is nothing worse than having a television series or movie that follows the book really closely and then goes off on a tangent, or even worse is nothing more than the book faithfully transferred from the page word by word and scene by scene. 

The 100 is not your typical dystopian novel for teens, and it is not your typical survival story for teens, it takes elements from both genre and blends them into a seamless and gripping adventure read.  Told from alternating viewpoints you get a much clearer idea of what is happening for the main characters as they experience events through different circumstances - you also get a chance to hear different voices which makes the story seem much more genuine.  Humming along quietly in the background is a sense of conspiracy, a little sense of danger on the horizon, and as you read more of the story you come to realise that while people may have been forced together to survive there will always be people who feel that they have more rights than other people just because of who they are.

If you enjoy a good adventure story with a tightly written and well paced plot then you will enjoy The 100.  If you enjoy a good dystopian read where there is something more than a little bit rotten at the core of the government then you will enjoy The 100.  If you enjoy teen series where the teens are bright, independent, and can figure their way out of pretty much any jam then you will enjoy The 100.  If you enjoy a romance story with a dash of adversity then you will enjoy The 100.  If you enjoy a good read that will keep you turning the pages because you can't wait to see what happens next then you will enjoy The 100.  If you like a good read that will keep you waiting for the sequel, then guess what - you will probably enjoy The 100.

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Reviewed by Brilla

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