Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: The 100 by Kass Morgan

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I received this book for free from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The 100 by Kass MorganThe 100 by Kass Morgan
Series: The Hundred #1
Published by Little Brown BfYR on September 3rd 2013
Genres: Romance, Sci-Fi, YA
Source: Hachette Book Group
Buy on Amazon

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.

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.


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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22 Responses to “Review: The 100 by Kass Morgan”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I had already planned of not reading this one after I found out about the 4 POVs from Jenni, and now that you’ve mentioned unanswered questions, so I think I made the right decision not wanting to read it. I’ll probably just stick to the TV show if ever the CW decides to air it. (But they are so terrible when it comes to their shows, especially when it comes to cancelling shows. They love doing that!)
    Anyways, I can see why you would want more character development from a book that has multiple POVs. It’s a shame that too much focus was on the romance instead of the world-building.

    I’m glad that you liked it overall though!
    Lovely review, Giselle! 🙂

  2. Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader

    While I ordinarily prefer the original novel over a television or film adaptation, I can see why in this particular instance this might not be the case. Given the lack of substantial character development, it sounds as though the television show, with its increased length and inherent ability to develop the characters over a longer period of time, might be a prove a better medium for this particular story. I will say that despite your issues with this novel, I do find the premise itself intriguing, and might be more liable to watch the show when it premieres than to pick up the book itself.

  3. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    This sounds interesting, but like there needed to be more back story and believability with how they adapt to Earth. 4 POV’s is a lot too. I do like multi-POV’s when done well, but it seems like with the flashbacks I might get confused. I’m glad that you still enjoyed it though. Great review hon!! OMG 5 DAYS!!!

  4. Mary @ BookSwarm

    The group dynamic really was pretty superficial — I didn’t like that the kids acted more like they were in high school than trying to survive in a unknown and dangerous world. I liked the story but I didn’t love it (and I seriously hated the cliffhanger ending! GAH!!).

  5. Savannah

    I have been seeing this book around a lot. I’ve read lots of mixed reviews on it. I like the idea of the story. Maybe the next book will be better. It’s seems like the first book is a lot of foundation building. Thanks for sharing.

  6. P.E.

    Personally, I’d rather watch the TV show than read the book. The characters don’t sound particularly good, so I think I can enjoy more plot based stories on TV. The premise is awesome though so I hope the story ends up being as good.

  7. Christianna

    I’ve been waiting to read this one! It sounds cool even if it does have it’s issues. And I’m pretty excited for the show, it looks epic. In a way I wanna read the book first, cause like you I think the show will be better.

  8. Jenni

    I totally agree with you on so much about this book. It was so unbelievable that Bellamy was such a great shot after such a short time. It was so romance heavy that I think the character and world building really suffered, but like you, I hope that gets sorted out in the next one. If it doesn’t, I don’t think I’ll read the third.

  9. Jennifer @ Some Like It Paranormal

    I’m super excited for this book and show because I think it is a great plot. I don’t mind a lot of focus on the romance even if it does kind of take away from character development. As long as it is a good romance. Four POVs can be tricky but they do work well sometimes. Lack of world building and explanation kind of sucks but then again I do kind of like being thrown right into the action and having a little mystery so often I’m not one to complain too much about lack of answers. Some problems but I’m thinking I will still enjoy it!

  10. Candace

    This sounds intriguing, I like the whole story line idea, but it’s too bad that it fell a bit flat. I’m not sure I’ll read this one, but I might be all over watching the show!

  11. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    Hmmm, I’m not sure if this book is something for me. I like more POV’s, but this sounds a bit like it’s too much. I still want to feel connected to the characters. It does sound like an interesting story for a TV show.

  12. Jen

    I have been so excited for this one! Sadly, it looks like it disappointed a bit. The 100 seems like quite a weak read: scarce world-building, unanswered questions, and lots of loopholes. I think it’s interesting that it was able to hold your interest from start to finish though. I’ll have to look for more reviews, but thanks for your honest thoughts! I’m glad you enjoyed the story. 🙂

  13. Laureen

    It sounds like a great premise, but sadly, if there isn’t much world building or the like then it probably won’t be for me. I think it should be interesting to see what the TV show turns out like, though! Thanks for sharing your review!

  14. Christina @ Christina Reads YA

    Your review mirrors almost every other I’ve seen so far. Everyone seems to agree that the book could do with better character development, that the romance could also have been developed better, that four POVs led to some confusion and detachment on the part of the characters. And that the world, which still could have used more details, was fascinating with its survivalist aspect. I’m getting more and more settled in my conviction that I will watch the television show instead of read the books (Vampire Diaries, I’m looking at you too) because of the level of quality of the latter, and the characterization that will hopefully happen in the former.

  15. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    I absolutely adore the idea of this one- however after reading the reivews so far- including yours, I am getting let down with the amount of focus on the romance. I will probably put this further down the TBR.

    Great review, Giselle! <33

  16. Preethi

    I finished season one of the TV series a while ago and loved it! I really want to try this book out especially now that I’ve read your review – I love romance! – but I don’t want it to ruin the TV show for me. I guess maybe I’ll end up reading this after the series if finished…? Either way, great review Giselle!