In Perdido Beach, CA everybody over the age of 13 has vanished into thin air. Soon the kids discover that some of them have special powers, animals are mutating, and there’s an invisible wall surrounding their town. Bullies from the local private school, Coates Academy, are soon running things in a way very reminiscent of Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”. Some kids are interested in finding a way out, some kids rejoice in their new-found power and authority, and some kids are just trying to stay alive.
I loved reading “Lord of the Flies” when I was in high school so I was excited to find a book that has a similar premise (kids running wild without adult supervision). Just a warning right off the bat: this book is long (almost 600 pages) and it’s the first in a six book series (all about as long). If you do not have the time, the patience, or the desire to invest in this series, I do not recommend starting the first book. That being said, up to this point I have only read “Gone” (although I do have the second book in the series waiting on my Kindle as I’m writing this).
With that disclaimer out of the way…the book was pretty good, but frustrating. First the good. If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I appreciate realism. Even in fantastical worlds that abide by different laws than Earth, I appreciate when characters are realistic in their choices and reactions. This book mostly does that for me. The author acknowledged the reality of having all adults disappear simultaneously. Babies and small children would die if no one were there to take care of them and the author brings that up. The older kids in charge may not have been as realistic as I would have liked…maybe a little too smart/clever for 13-year-olds, but I can forgive that.
Now for the bad. The mutating animals are just weird and whatever darkness is going on in the mountains…also weird. The special powers are also a little hard for me to swallow, but I’m more okay with that than I am with the talking coyotes. Like I said, weird. My main issue with this book is the length. It’s interesting to read about how the kids reestablish civilization and all that, but does that really take 600 pages and five more books? I just want to know how the kids get out and if they’ll be reunited with their families! Truth be told, if I wasn’t so interested in how that was going to happen I probably wouldn’t read the rest of the series. Alas, I’m dying to know how the heck they get out of this dang city. Looks like I’ll be slogging my way through 2,500 more pages of pre-teens fighting with each other.
Overall Rating: 3
Violence: Moderate. Some gore.
Sexual Content: None
Smoking/Drinking: Mild. Some characters drink beer.
The rest of the books in the series: Hunger, Lies, Light, Fear, and Plague.