Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened. I'd seen this book a lot at bookstores, but didn't really take an interest in it until fairly recently. When I added it to my wish list, I thought it would be like the Jimmy Neutron movie mixed with X-Men: all the adults disappear, and kids start developing super powers. I expected something kind of light, despite the massive size of the book. I didn't get what I expected, which turned out to be a good thing.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.
It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else...
I had a bit of trouble getting into the first few chapters, but I'm not really sure why. I started reading it in a hotel, surrounded by my sisters and mom, which made for a kind of loud reading environment. So I don't really know if it was the surroundings or the story, but the first few chapters went a little slow for me, not totally grabbing my attention. Once I got home and had a quiet place to read, this changed completely. I finished the book in two nights after returning home. It's full of action and suspense, the kind of book that keeps you up late at night because you just have to know what happens next. I would have one-more-chaptered my way through the whole thing if my eyes hadn't been so tired (darn you, eyes!).
The characters, while not some of my favorites, were good, definitely people you could root for. My least favorite of the good guys would have to be Quinn. For most of the book he really got on my nerves, and I wanted to smack him a few times. Astrid had a personality that I didn't quite like, but she definitely grew on me. I think it was how protective she was of her brother, Little Petey, and that she brought some religion to the story, which is something you don't often see in dystopians. It was a nice change for the genre.
The other characters -- Sam, Edilio, Lana -- were also good, but that's all I can think to say about Sam and Edilio. I really liked reading Lana's part of the story. It could get a little slow at times, since she was by herself most of the time, but for the most part it was a very interesting, sort of edge-of-your-seat part of the story. I particularly loved her dog, Patrick.
I've often said that I love a good villain. Action books are nothing without a good villain. Someone evil, a little crazy, and not afraid to kill the heroes. But the villains in Gone? Oh. My. Goodness. They were vicious, heartless, sick, twisted. They disgusted me. After a while I was wishing they'd either die or tone down the evil (though one of them I just wished would die). Some of the things they did... I don't even like to think about. I don't often cringe while reading, but I definitely did quite a bit of that while reading this. I love a good villain, but these ones were maybe a little too evil. Yes, it's part of what made the book so good, so unputdownable, but they still disgust me. I think part of what bothered me so much about the villains wasn't just the things they did, but also the fact they were 14 and under. So young, and yet so disturbed.
There were some mysteries in the book, but I really can't say whether they were good or not. This is a book you read in the moment, so I didn't really have time to think ahead and try to figure things out.
As good as this was, it still pushed some limits, even for a sci-fi. Like the coyotes? That was a little too strange for me. Most of the time I can get used to strange stuff in books, but there were a few things in this that were just a little too weird.
There were a few things I didn't like -- the end, for example. The story kind of fizzled out in the last two chapters -- but overall I loved it. I can't wait to read the sequel! I definitely recommend Gone, but to slightly older readers (like, 15 and up) because of some mature themes, frequent and somewhat intense violence, as well as a few disturbing scenes. But if you think you're up to it, you should definitely check it out.
I give Gone 5 octopodes.