Title: The 100
Author: Kass Morgan
Genre: Young Adult, Post-apocalyptic, Sci-fi
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 29th August 2013
Goodreads Summary: 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.
The 100 is set in a distant future where the entire human race lives on spaceship floating above the Earth. The Earth is inhabitable after a nuclear war but with resources running thin on the spaceship, the governing body are looking to return to Earth as soon as possible. Unsure whether or not Earth is still dangerously radioactive, the Chancellor decides to send 100 teenage delinquents to Earth, each with a monitoring bracelet attached to them, to see if they survive.
This story is told from the alternating perspective of four teenagers: Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass. Clarke and Glass are both delinquents and so are automatically part of the group to be sent to Earth. Wells, the son of the Chancellor, is in love with Clarke and upon hearing that she will be sent to Earth, he deliberately commits a crime giving him the status of ‘delinquent’ as well. Bellamy on the other hand, isn’t a deliquent, but his sister is. Determined to protect her, he manages to jump into the pod leaving for Earth just moments before it departs. Taking advantage of the commotion caused by Bellamy, Glass manages to escape from the pod and remains on the spaceship.
I usually hate stories that have too many alternating perspectives because there usually isn’t enough depth or connection between characters but because these four stories are subtly intertwined, the story rolls seamlessly on through all four perspectives. I have to say I didn’t like all of the characters in this novel but I loved reading about each and every one of them. Each character has a different personality and as you learn more and more about their pasts and what shaped them, you understand each character’s decisions. There’s no sort of introduction to any of the characters or the history of Earth, the reader is thrown in at the deep end and you’ve just gotta learn to swim. In just about every chapter there’s a flashback to some past moment that helps to explain the present and although this means quite a lot of jumping back and forth, both the past and the present are woven together seamlessly so that this is barely noticeable.
I can see why The CW has created a TV adaption based on this book because there are just so many things that you could do with this story. This is not just a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi novel, but also a story of romance, friendship, family, action and humanity. This book held my attention for its entirety but for the most part I was thinking ‘this is book is good, but not great’. Then, I got to the closing few chapters where I met plot twist after plot twist and it turns out that each and every character has a secret and the stories of all four characters are intrinsically linked. There are a few clues along the way which hint at the ending but there’s no way that you could predict how all these little snippets and these four stories come together. There is also an even bigger plot twist which doesn’t relate directly to the four characters but it has consequences for the entire human race and it changes pretty much everything about this mission to Earth and I simply cannot wait to see what happens next!
This novel is perhaps a little slow at getting started, but when it does, it is brilliant. It is the ending of this book that you will really remember as it is fast-paced and there are new plot twists being thrown at you left, right and centre. This was a great introductory novel that has paved the way for a brilliant new series with interesting characters, plot and setting. This is also quite a short read, but so much has been packed into this novel. I would highly recommend reading this book prior to watching the television series (due to air late 2013) because I don’t think its plotline will stick to that of the book very well. All in all, I highly recommend this book!!
Many thanks to Hodder for providing a review copy!