Saturday, April 6, 2013

Book Review: Light by Michael Grant

Finishing a series is like finishing a long hike. It's without a doubt a journey of great length, and, looking back, there were so many ups and downs and adventures, and you can't help but think, "Wow, that was crazy." That's how I felt when I reached the final page of "Light", the final book in the "Gone" series by Michael Grant. After six action-packed installments, Mr. Grant finally reveals to his readers the fate of the inhabitants of the FAYZ.

It's been over a year since all the adults disappeared. Gone. In the time since the strange, impenetrable barrier appeared around the town of Perdido Beach, California, countless battles have been fought: battles against hunger and lies and plague, the battle against good versus evil. But with Gaia, the gaiaphage incarnate, hungry for destruction and massacre, Sam and his friends know that the end is near. The only question is, will the endgame see them out alive, or will Gaia succeed in her mission to slaughter everyone in the FAYZ?

At this point in the series, the characters have gone through most of their character development, but that's not to say that there aren't any emotional or mental changes within them. The two characters I saw most of that in were Caine and Diana. Despite the fact that they were the callous and cruel antagonists throughout most of the "Gone" series, the two really grow on you. You see their vulnerabilities and their struggles with doing the right thing, and how their twisted pasts haunt them. You especially see this in the relationship between the two. They're both so messed up, for lack of a better term, but they find in each other their saving grace. Step aside, Romeo and Juliet. This is one tragic love story that I really felt for, and Mr. Grant's done a great job with crafting the relationships in his stories.

The plot itself of "Light" is so intense throughout the entire book, my heart jackhammered in so many places it's a surprise I didn't have a seizure or something. There's definitely a lot of things going on, and it was interesting to see all of these different events from different perspectives as the points of view jumped from character to character. This also allowed for some serious buildup of dramatic irony and tension, things that were only enhanced by the gory, gruesome scenes of kids younger than me dying with holes burned through their necks or arms ripped off for supper. It's this gore that lends an incredibly dark undertone to the entire "Gone" series, and left me feeling slightly disturbed, even at the end of the final book.

One thing that I felt sort of detracted from the story was the constant use of references to pop culture. I understand that the reason behind this is to lighten the mood a little and also remind us that the survivors stuck in such a gruesome place are just fourteen-year old kids, and, to a certain extent, I think it's great! But when you add on a whole bunch of names of pop songs that no one really listens to anymore, for example, it's kind of pushing it a little too far. That being said, it's nothing drastic or anything, just a little too overdone.

Overall, "Light" is an intense final installment to a grisly dystopian series, with some complex character development and a gripping storyline, specifically tailored to teen readers. If you haven't read the "Gone" series yet, I'd recommend that you check it out and see if it's your thing, especially if you like gory details and dramatic scenes.

Rating: 4/5

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