My rating: 4/5
I really don’t feel like writing a review for this, but I’ll try. *is lazy*
I have to start out by saying that I really liked Lord of the Flies. I had to read it for English class in grade 11, and, though certain parts grossed me out at the time of reading, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for months. It’s an incredible piece of literature, and because of that I’m always intrigued by books that take inspiration from it (A notable example of such a book is Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens. Seriously, give it a read. It’s hysterical.). This book definitely took a page out of William Golding’s book, but it was…different. I’m not sure whether I would say it was more or less disturbing. Probably less, because Lord of the Flies has some incredibly disturbing and violent scenes (there was a point where I shut the book and refused to open it again for days), and because this book has a supernatural element, making it less realistic and more distant in terms of this-might-actually-happen-ness…and yet it was also much closer, because of the present-day North American setting and the fact that the main characters were regular public-school teens, rather than 12-and-under British private school boys. I’m not really decided on that question yet.
Gone was exciting and pretty fast-paced, and there were some pretty insane…well, not twists, exactly, because I was never really surprised by them, but some pretty insane stuff that happened. The only thing that really shocked me was the degree of violence and brutality. I wasn’t expecting it in a book written about children, but after the first couple of deaths I knew what to anticipate and it wasn’t so bad (Man, I can’t believe I just said that lethal violence between children wasn’t so bad. My generation really is desensitized.). I wasn’t expecting supernatural stuff when I started, either, but as soon as I realized it centered around a nuclear plant it all made sense.
In terms of characters, Edilio was my favourite by far. He was just so…cool. Not to mention much less outwardly angsty than the rest of the teens. I hope he’s more important in the next book, as well as Albert, because I want to get into their heads more. Overall the “good” characters were quite likeable, despite their blatantly displayed flaws and lack of complexity. I’m not saying that they were poorly written, they were just open books. They were dynamic, but almost formulaically so. That works for a story driven mostly by plot, but the characters in a Lord of the Flies-esque novel are incredibly important, because in a closed environment they’re the only thing driving the action (I feel like that was almost a chemistry lesson - there’s an equilibrium analogy in there somewhere). I would have liked it if there was more of an…uncertainty (wrong word, but I can’t think of a better one) in the characters, or at least more emotion in their internal monologues. Some of the decisions and changes in direction they made seemed very sudden and unprecedented. It would have made the whole thing more realistic and, in my opinion, a better story.
The bottom line: this was a pretty good book, and I’ll be continuing with the series – as soon as I get through the massive stack of books beside my bed.