The 100 by Kass Morgan Review

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Title: The 100
Author: Kass Morgan (Twitter)
Publisher: Little, Brown BYR
Publish Date: September 3, 2013
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Pages: 277
Source: Publisher

In the future, humans live in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth's toxic atmosphere. No one knows when, or even if, the long-abandoned planet will be habitable again. But faced with dwindling resources and a growing populace, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland... before it's too late.

Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents are being sent on a high-stakes mission to recolonize Earth. After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet they've only seen from space. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. But they're haunted by their past and uncertain about the future. To survive, they must learn to trust - and even love - again.
Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass live in a world in which the Earth has been abandoned. To survive, humans live in vast cities in space, but it was never meant to be a permanent solution. The population is growing, and the resources are growing slim, leading the government to find a way to repopulate the Earth. 100 convicted teen felons are to be sent to Earth including Clarke, Wells and Bellamy - but Glass fights tooth and nail to stay on the ship. Which is more dangerous though? The wild, untamed Earth that's long-since been abandoned, or life aboard the ships?

For a long while now, I've been avoiding dystopian novels. It's not that I don't still love the idea of a broken world desperate to rebuild. It's simply that genres grow tired, and it takes a really strong book to break that mold. The 100 by author, Kass Morgan, seems to fit that bill in a nutshell. Combining genres, and giving us a shattered, dysfunctional future world in which we cannot even live on our own planet, The 100 explores what lengths we might go to to reclaim what was once ours...and how we might survive doing so. Dramatic, futuristic and deceptive, this is one world that you'll want to explore.

Before I begin my review, I must start out saying that I truly believe this is going to make one heck of a CW television series. It embodies teen drama, and it embraces the dystopian genre that is now thriving on both the big and small screens. The 100, however, perhaps translates better cinematically than on paper. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy this book (because I really did)...but we get a little bit different than what we've bargained for when we begin. The novel follows four points of view - Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass - and the aftermath of both boarding the ship to Earth and staying behind in space. Now, it's difficult to manage two proper points of view in a great novel, so to balance four distinct characters and voices in a fairly slim novel for the genre would be quite the feat. While I felt like I got to know the gist of each of their characters, I also felt as though I never really got the essence of them either. For example, I understand Clarke's demeanor due to her wrongful conviction, but I never really got to see past her hurt, betrayed exterior. Wells was abrasive and manipulative, and I actually felt dirty reading from his perspective. Bellamy was the rare exception, as I actually really liked him, but I feel as though his character is like an onion, and we only managed to peel back maybe one or two layers. And, to be entirely honest, I didn't feel as though Glass stood out all that much. However, we're also offered characters who really stand out, but we don't get nearly enough of them. I think that my biggest issue with The 100 was that I was expecting a battle for survival once the teens got to Earth because they all had their own agendas and something to lose, plus they'd never not  lived on the spaceship. What we got though would imply otherwise. Seemingly flawlessly, the teens can hunt and survive with limited distress. There were definitive highlights to the story though, too. Ms. Morgan has given us a great setup to a broken world. Society is so irreparably damaged that execution is the solution to breaking the one-child limit. Classes are distinct and set apart from one another. It's a world that I'd really, really like to explore more, though perhaps with less points of view.

All in all, The 100 really sets the state for a fantastic TV series because, frankly, it reads like one. With a cliffhanger that, despite my reservations, had me salivating for more, I can't help but get invested in this series. I give it a 3.5 out of 5, and I recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy dystopian and science fiction.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

17 comments:

  1. Haha...yes, it does sound like a good CW series. And what about those names? What kind of parent names their kid Glass?

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    1. Hahaha there were some...unique...names. And, I have to be honest...I kept thinking about Matt Bellamy because of that name haha

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  2. I'm still hooked on dystopians, unlike you, but I can see how it's starting to get a little boring (I'm still waiting on the day it happens to me!). It's fantastic that this would play out well on TV, but since it's a book, I'm not too sure. It looks like Morgan has created a fascinating world, but with so many POVs that were a bit shallow and not well explored, I might have some issues with this book. I'll probably still check out this book though, so thanks for the heads up! Fabulous review, Melissa!

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    1. The world is definitely a huge highlight. I guess I just really wanted more survival and more from the characters.

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  3. I saw the promo for the CW show and it looks a lot better than the book, in all honesty. The book didn't appeal to me, but the promo was quite enticing. Also, I'm not sure if I would enjoy the book very much because I struggle with multiple POVs. It becomes hard for me to connect with the characters and to feel for them. The multiple POV was probably a reason why you didn't feel the characters' essence.
    The plot itself sounds interesting though.
    I'm glad that you enjoyed the book despite some issues. Lovely review as always, Melissa! :)

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    1. I agree. I really like the visual look of it for TV, but as a book, it wasn't as strong as it could have been. Frankly, it feels as though it was written as a series, you know?

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  4. The promo for the TV show version of this looked awesome, so that coupled with your review has really intrigued me!

    - Allie @ Little Birdie Books

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    1. Didn't it?! It's a good book, but I think the show will definitely be stronger!

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  5. I love science fiction and there is a serious hole in my tv lineup since Fringe ended so I was looking forward to filling that time slot with the CW show.

    This book in on my list of books I need to get in September (along with The Dream Thieves) so thanks for reviewing! Now I know it's something I shouldn't miss.

    Diana @ Novel Tea

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, Diana! It's not a bad book at all - it just could have been stronger.

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    2. I hope you enjoy it, Diana! It's not a bad book at all - it just could have been stronger.

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  6. I've seen a lot of mixed reviews for this, but I think you nailed it in that this book seems more suiting for TV than paper. Plus, I've heard the alternating PoVs just didn't work here, which is a real shame. Lovely review, Melissa!

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    1. It happens to some books, right? It's not a bad book by any means...it's just going to translate much better onscreen, I think :)

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  7. Four POV's is too much for me to handle. But what makes the book appealing is that it can be made into a TV series. I might buy myself a copy. Thanks for the review, Melissa.

    -Dannielle

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  8. I definitely agree that it's going to make for a great TV show. But, to me, there were too many characters, too much hopping around and too much going on for a book as short as The 100 was. I enjoyed it and I'll no doubt watch the show but I don't think I'll read any more of the series.

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  9. Sci-fi is really not my genre but I'm very very impressed by the world created in The 100. Plus, I love that the teens who are going to save the Earth are felons, totally unexpected but I bet they have an interesting background. Fantastic review, Melissa. I might buy a copy.

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  10. I think I'll stick with watching the TV show, because good characterization is a definite must for me to enjoy a book. I do like the kind of sci-fi/dystopian twist that the concept has going on for it, and the premise itself sounds hypothetically realistic, so I'll just have to wait and see how the television series manages it. Great review!

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