No one has set foot on Earth in centuries — until now.
Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents — considered expendable by society — are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission.
CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she’s haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor’s son, came to Earth for the girl he loves — but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.
Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope.
I was looking for a dystopian TV series to watch, and I remembered that I’ve heard about The 100 series, so I decided that the former book addict that was still buried somewhere deep inside of me just cannot start a TV series without reading the book. Even if… well… it’s been a while, to say at least, since I last read something other than Buzzfeed articles.
Heads up: the book and the TV series are pretty much two different stories. They do share some of the characters and the basic plot, but so many things were changed in the TV adaptation that you cannot really judge one of them according to the other. And it’s not the typical case of “the book was better/the movie was better”. It’s just easier to consider them as two… similar, but pretty much separate stories.
So back to the book, since I’m not planning to do any movies reviews anytime soon. Does “meh” count as a review? Or “so-so”? Because overall, this is pretty much the feeling that I got during the whole reading. You probably read the synopsis already so you have an idea about the storyline. After our present world becomes inhabitable, the remaining population moves on spaceships for some centuries, waiting for the Earth to cleanse itself so they can return. Since technology doesn’t seem to advance that much, the best idea to test if Earth is still radioactive or it can be re-inhabited is to send 100 convicted teens on it, in what might be a deadly mission.
The main characters are some of these teens (Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass) and we are carried throughout the story moving from one’s POV to another’s. Which, to be honest, was not the best idea, since their voices are all so similar that in some moments, you almost forget who’s story you’re reading. Plus, their personalities are pretty plain, no salt and pepper, nothing to get your attention and make you really care about them. Don’t get me wrong, there are some chapters that don’t let you put down the book, but that’s basically because of the action twists and not because you’d really give a damn if any of the characters lives or dies. The only one that has a spark is unfortunately the one character that was completely eliminated from the TV series, Glass. Probably because her story develops on the ship and it’s mostly related to the social rules and different classes that were also disregarded in the movie.
And here comes also the part that I truly loved about the book. The small, almost unnoticeable details that the author inserts in order to give you a clearer look of the characters’ feelings. I didn’t find them in all of the histories, but the chapters of Glass are packed with them. Her relation with Luke is so tender, sweet and realistic that it almost eclipses the whole main plot. And I’m not the kind of reader that would choose romance over action, but in this case, I actually found that this specific love story was the best part of the whole novel.
One more thing that I appreciated is the way the spaceship social life was painted. We don’t get a lot of details about why and how the population was separated into classes, given extremely different treatments or having such inequal rights, but I honestly didn’t miss them at all. It was addictive to see how humans behave even in these extreme conditions in the same way they did since the beginning of existence. How privileges extend to a small, powerful group, while the majority is fighting for survival and how contrasting their concerns and pursuits are.
On the other hand, the writer could have described in the same way the mini-society that formed on Earth. Considering the fact that all of the teens were convicted for something, it’s easy to assume that once they landed on an unfriendly and unfamiliar place, the interaction of such a big crowd would be anything but smooth. I feel like the author tried to portray this aspect, but the general image is still blurry and incomplete.
The last few chapters are obviously coming with some major twists and cliffhangers, which is expected since the book is just the first novel of a series. And that also explains why there are plenty of points that were not fully covered, so nothing to complain about that. Probably in the next volumes, the puzzle pieces will fall into a clearer image.
All in all, the book was entertaining enough, definitely not a complete loss of time, but for now, the story doesn’t really shine brighter than so many other YA dystopian novels. It’s mostly just a survival, post apocalyptic story that probably got overrated because of the cinematic attention it got lately.