After just having had a look at Michael Grant's website (http://themichaelgrant.com/about) I noticed this:
"Why did I write the GONE series? Well, [...] I want that reader to pick up GONE, and to be unable to put it down until they have read every word. I want that reader to forget everything else going on around them and become completely engrossed.
When they're done with the first book, I want them to need that next book desperately. I want to surprise that reader and scare that reader and make and make that reader fall in love. In the end I want the reader to put down the book and think, "Man, that was fun.""
Well. Grant has succeeded in doing all of the above to me with all four of the Gone series so far. I am absolutely loving these books. I only wish that I had discovered them once the entire series was out! The wait in between books has been excruciating, even though Grant isn't a slow writer... I finished the fourth book in the series, Plague, last week and it's already been too long. I need the next and I need it now.
I picked up the first book of the series when it first came out, simply because the striking cover, along with the haunting, monosyllabic title drew me in. Those of you who know me will know that I love books about life as we know it coming to an end and The Gone Series fits all warm and cozy into that category.
So what's it all about? As I did with Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series, I won't go into the nitty-gritty details as I don't want to be spoilerific. Instead, I shall keep it simple and throw in whole bucket-fulls of praise!
Gone begins with the protagonist of the series, fourteen year old Sam Temple. One seemingly normal day, while Sam is sat in his school in Perdido Beach, he watches his teacher blink out of existence before his eyes. It's not just his teacher: everyone in Perdido Beach over the age of fifteen has suddenly just...gone.
It's what kids dream about, surely? The ability to run your own life, no adults around to tell you to lay off the sugar or that beer is for grown-ups. But nobody could be expected to cope with such an unprecedented situation! In all the confusion, who's to think of the babies, crying and lonely in their cribs? There's no communication or media. There are no emergency services. But there IS an enormous barrier trapping the youngsters in the cage that was once their home. There IS the fact that, as time passes and more kids reach their 15th birthday, they vanish too. There is the fact that something else is going on in Perdido Beach. Something which lets Sam shoot deadly lights from his hands, something which can give kids super speed, super strength, the ability to cancel gravity and the ability to heal any injury, to name but a few.
All Sam wants is to surf with his friend and maybe get to know Astrid, the smartest and prettiest girl in his school. Instead, he is thrust into leadership, a role which he is not comfortable with. In this role, Sam has to make decisions that no boy (and no man for that matter) should have to be responsible for. And he has to face the consequences should these decisions turn bad...
To be fair, my write up here concerns itself mostly with Gone, as saying much more will only lead to me giving away some of the magnificent twists and turns of the series so far. What I will say is that Michael Grant creates characters whom you will empathise with, love, hate (with burning, seering passion) and route for. I've lent this book to pupils in some of my classes, and they are now all completely hooked. I didn't know if it would be the girls' cup o' tea, but they loved it as much as I did!
You NEED to go out, grab a copy, and start reading. But I warn you... once you pick this series up, you will not put it down! Be prepared to lose yourself to these...