I read quite a lot of young adult fiction so I don't always remember what happened in a first book and authors have gotten worse about refreshing a reader's memory at the start of the next books. Perhaps a one-page summary at the beginning of the following books would help?
This is a quick read so not onerous to run through again. I am re-reading it because I have the third and final book in my library pile and the second book is in transit to me this week. I have not watched the TV show on the CW but it apparently begins its 3rd season this month.
When reading comments and reviews on Good Reads I found that some people believe that the TV series was planned first and the book was written to drum up interest in the show. Other comments indicate the opposite. The two formats deviate from each other quite a bit. A main point-of-view character in the book is killed off early in the TV show and the TV show has several main characters who are not in the books at all.
Please keep in mind that this blog is a work-in-progress. The format may change as I go along.
Anyway, here's what you came for...
- THE BOOK
- The 100 by Kass Morgan
- Published September 3, 2013
- The only other books by the author are the two sequels to this book and a very short Kindle novella about "Gossip Girl".
- THE PREMISE
- A nuclear cataclysm 300 years ago devastated Earth. The only survivors are those on a colony of spaceships joined together in Earth's orbit. Resources are running low. To test the Earth for recolonization 100 teenage criminals are sent to the planet.
- THE CHARACTERS
- Four main characters alternate chapters. Their names are Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass. And yes, those are their FIRST names. It takes a while to remember who's a girl and who's a boy since the names are so trendy (surnames as first names is currently a big thing in baby-naming).
- They all have secrets and/or committed crimes.
- For those who don't know, worldbuilding is a major concept in science fiction and fantasy. You need to create the setting, the rules/laws that operate, the people and how they relate to each other, and so forth.
- A story which takes place in San Francisco in 2015 or 1849 doesn't need worldbuilding. With a little research you can see exactly what it was like at those dates. San Francisco in 2443 or Planet San Francisco in another solar system need worldbuilding: we as readers don't know what those places are like without authors telling us.
- Okay then, worldbuiding in The 100 is minimal.
- There are 3 classes of people on the space station. One class gets water service all the time; the other two get water for an hour every 5 days. We are not told why there is a class divide.
- If convicted of a crime --- no matter how minor --- you are immediately executed if you are an adult. If you aren't an adult you are confined until you turn 18 and then are executed.
- We are not told how many people are on the station. It must be a lot if they have over 100 teenage prisoners to use as guinea pigs.
- This series seems to be aimed at pre-teen and young teen girls so the lack of worldbuilding is not a surprise. The frame is just bare bones so that a love story can be hung on it.
- THE STORY
- Wells intentionally commits a crime so he can join the 100 because the girl he loves is among the group. Sadly, she now despises him. Can he win back her love?
- Bellamy uses force to join the 100 because his sister is part of the group. They are the only siblings on the station because of strict population laws. Can he protect his sister?
- Clarke's parents have already been executed for their crime and she is implicated too. She is the main character. Can she forgive Wells or will she fall for new hunk Bellamy?
- Glass, imprisoned for months for her crime and of the upper class on the station, escapes the dropship in the confusion during Bellamy's attempt to board. She wants to find her true love Luke, who's of the lower class. Does he still love her or has he moved on?
- Yes, this is all about TWUE WUV. Sigh.
- Pretty standard, unfortunately, for young adult books. (See: Katniss, Peeta and Gale; Bella, Edward and Jacob; and so, so many more)
- THE WRITING
- The author uses one particular affectation a handful of times that was really irritating to me:
- (I'm paraphrasing --- and exaggerating --- but this is the gist) "Clarke stood there and waited for the wave of indignation to flood through her but all she felt was relief." "Bellamy waited expectantly for the anger to fill him but all he felt was hunger."
- I don't stand around waiting for emotion to arrive and I'm sure no one else does either.
- A lot of the plot is told in flashbacks, explicating the various crimes and circumstances that lead to them. It takes a while to get this info though. Dialogue goes something like this:
- Him: "I heard rumors about a girl who... You mean you were confined for THAT?"
- Her: "I don't want to talk about it, at least not for another few chapters. Otherwise this book would only be 20 pages long."
- Because I feel this book is aimed more at the pre-teen crowd the writing is perfectly serviceable.
- I am unlikely to read anything else by the author (except for the two sequels, of course). Stay tuned!
- The next book is called Day 21.
SPOILER SPACE - GO NO FURTHER IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW THE DETAILS!
- The 100 aren't alone on Earth.
- Bellamy's sister turns out to be a drug addict who stole all the medical supplies and then gets kidnapped by the people already on Earth. He has fallen for Clarke who kisses him once in joy over finding the medical supplies.
- Clarke has medical training so she takes care of the injured on the dropship crash. She won't forgive Wells. But then she does after he saves her life. They kiss and that's when the camp burns (accident or arson?) and Wells keeps her from running into the medical tent where her best friend dies. Now she hates Wells again because she blames him for letting her BFF die when she would have died too had she entered the tent. Clarke is pretty much an idiot.
- Wells, who set fire to the Eden tree on the station (the symbol of all that's good and holy or something) moons about stalking Clarke, which is lucky because of the life-saving incident, but way creepy, dude! He seethes as Clarke kisses Bellamy. It's almost like he's never read a young adult novel before. There needs to be a love triangle, dude!
- The space station is running out of air (supposedly old equipment breaking down but I suspect sabotage) so they've cut off the lower classes from the upper class section.
- Glass has joined her lower class boyfriend Luke on the low oxygen side. Her crime was getting pregnant by him. She lost the baby but accused a different guy --- Luke's roommate, who had tried to rape her once --- who was then executed for it. But no worries, surely this won't come back to bite her in the ass. Whoops, Luke's ex-girlfriend knows Glass's secret!