The 100 by Kass Morgan
Series: The 100 #1
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers on September 3, 2013
Genre(s): Dystopian (YA), Science Fiction (YA)
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.
The 100 by Cass Morgan
The Verdict: Unlike most readers whose comments I’ve read, I picked up this series because I didn’t like the TV show. You see, I was flipping around for something to watch on Netflix or Amazon, and The 100 looked different enough from every other series that I gave it a shot. And at first, I was fascinated. But not long after the teens sent back to earth went all Lord of the Flies on each other, the story progressed at such an insane pace that I began losing interest. I mean, they’d only been there a few weeks or so, and already Olivia was speaking a completely different language, Clarke had pretty much lost all her humanity, and… well, I don’t know. What looked like it could have been a really cool show about reinhabiting earth went off in so many unreal directions that I started flipping channels again. And then I found out it was based on a book series.
For me, the books are about a thousand times better than the show could ever be. Sure, if you’re into crazy adventure and sci-fi gone wild, then the TV show is probably awesome. But I’m more comfortable with characters I can identify with, and a group of teens just trying to survive makes a lot more sense to me than when they’re waging war on God knows how many other cultures they’ve found on earth. So the books, focusing on a simpler story, were much more up my alley. Anyhow…
Earth was all but destroyed in a nuclear apocalypse, and those that could escape have inhabited a collection of space stations spliced together and orbiting the planet they once called home. Resources are in short supply, and there’s no room for mistakes, so anyone caught breaking the law suffers dire consequences. Adults are executed, popped out into space where they die almost instantly and float for an eternity. Minors are imprisoned until they are 18, at which point they’re given a new trial — and often executed. Clarke’s days are numbered, as are the days of all the teens that are locked away, but while she expects to be put to death, she’s instead sent in a pod filled with 100 teens back down to earth. It’s not necessarily a reprieve, though. For all they know, they’ll die of radiation exposure or some disease to which they’ve never been exposed before.
Joining her on the journey are her former friend Wells, who apparently is the reason she was imprisoned in the first place, and Bellamy, who shot the chancellor on his way out in his desperation to get aboard the ship with his sister Olivia. Left behind is Glass, a girl who has fallen for a boy from a lower class and is for reasons not yet explained, also imprisoned.
Their journey from prisoners to survivors isn’t an easy one, and while they don’t quite go complete Lord of the Flies the way things in the TV show did, they certainly aren’t organized and trusting enough to get things together the way they should. And as teens are wont to do, they seem more focused on their emotions than anything else, allowing whatever grievances they have to overshadow any real concerns about survival. But oddly enough, that’s one of the things I liked about the story. Whether they were raised on a spaceship or not, these kids acted exactly like kids, even going so far as to mimic the structure of power on the spaceship by entrusting their survival to Wells, who steps up to lead much like his father did on the ship.
Told in four different points of view — Clarke, Bellamy, Wells, and Glass (back on the ship) — The 100 is less a sci-fi tale about teens and more a teen tale in a slightly sci-fi setting (hence the “for young readers” publisher). Much of who they are and how they deal with things comes from what they endured on the ship, so plenty is divulged in flashbacks as well. But lest you think it’s nothing but a teen love story some time in the future, the next book in the series promises some real danger, as The 100 ends on a cliffhanger, just as the surviving teens realize that they’re not alone on Earth, and the company would rather welcome them with weapons drawn.
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