Series: The Hundred #1
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi, YA
Publication date: September 3rd 2013
by Little Brown BfYR
In the future, humans live in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth's toxic atmosphere. No one knows when, or even if, the long-abandoned planet will be habitable again. But faced with dwindling resources and a growing populace, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland... before it's too late.
Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents are being sent on a high-stakes mission to recolonize Earth. After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet they've only seen from space. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. But they're haunted by their past and uncertain about the future. To survive, they must learn to trust - and even love - again.
-A copy was provided by Hachette Book Group for review-
With a fantastic premise and an overall interesting plot, I can see why The 100 has already been signed on by CW as a TV series. If only it was tightened up with better character development and a stronger dedication to world building instead of establishing the romantic angle, it could have been a real page turner. Nevertheless, it’s interesting enough to warrant a read. I believe its success will lay in the TV series, however.
100 teenagers are to be sent to earth after humans evacuated it 300 years prior due to a nuclear war. After only a brief introduction, we embark on this unnerving trip to a now foreign planet. While I enjoyed this quick drop into the big picture, I was left feeling like I’d missed the chance to get to know these people beforehand. We do get flashbacks throughout the book, which I first assumed would give us insight into the world and its characters, but it merely expands the romance with nothing but minor glimpses at the happenings inside the ship.
Consequently, The 100 left me with endless questions from the events that led to life on this ship, to how life has been sustained for three centuries, to how they have evolved and adapted, especially technologically speaking. I find it hard to believe they haven’t been able to use satellites or other technology to keep track of Earth’s condition to some extent. Furthermore, when they get to earth, aside from it being regrettably unexciting for a while, I was unconvinced at how they could adapt so easily – they don’t seem to be affected by the sun or foreign bacteria (like those found in all water sources) for instance.
This leads me to problems in terms of character development. First and foremost, four POVs is not an easy feat, so it was not unexpected to find little to no variation between character voices. I kept needing to pay attention to recall which POV I was reading. And don’t forget my mention of flashbacks on top of it! If we speak individually, whether due to the number of perspectives or simply poor character building, the characters are hard to grasp. It’s difficult to see them as real people, or as anything other than plot devices. How can a kid raised in a ship be an instant pro at hunting prey, to the point of being able to shoot a bird with a bow and arrow in a matter of days (or maybe a couple of weeks, either is unrealistic) with minimal effort? Additionally, being the first humans to arrive on this planet in centuries, who then must depend on each other to survive, we get a group dynamic that remains mostly superficial. I would have expected this to be the driving force of a story with such a setting.
It may sound like I have a lot of negative to say about this book and thus telling you you should not read it, but this is not the case. In the end I have to admit that it kept my interest from start to finish due to its fascinating premise and my love of survival stories. The book’s short chapters makes it a quick read, add some frightening turn of events on top of an ending that stirs up the pot and we have ourselves an entertaining read despite its flaws. A lot depends on the sequel at this point. If the author puts effort into making her world solid and her plot sustainable, I think it could be one of those that’s better rated as a series than its individual installments. I would recommend this one to fans of the TV series Lost and sci-fi romance.