Gone - Michael  Grant
This book . . . well, this book was difficult.

It didn't take long for me to know I wouldn't really like Gone but I tried. Oh, I did try. But Gone read like a first draft, clunky and overladen with useless, unnecessary descriptors and details, overstuffed with characters, and with far too much plot. And at the end, the book didn't really come to a close. Everyone in the book kept saying that something was over, but I didn't know what had really happened.

Don't get me wrong, the book does have some really good stuff, and some chilling moments (the Coates Freaks, for one. I seriously was stunned). But it seemed like Grant just had this obsession with going darker, stranger, bloodier, and it just got old after a while. There were also things that happened that were left unexplained and unresolved, the biggest issue of which I had was with Orc and Howard. What the heck even happened? What happened to Orc? I get the whole FAYZ mutating stuff but the thing with Orc was sudden and unexplained, and it was just accepted with no explanation. No anything.

Let me try to get my thoughts into order. First off, there were way too many characters. Sure, some of them were great, but then more characters were introduced. And more. And even more. It's like Grant tried to put every type of personality type and every character trait into his book. It left me dizzy and most of it was unnecessary. Most of them were just to prove how absolutely horrible life in the FAYZ was. Maybe they were there to be a glimmer of hope in the absolute bleakness. I don't know. I felt like 70% of the characters could have been cut and the atmosphere would still be there and raw and evocative.

Where did the plot go? It all seemed crazy. Like Grant had this epic idea for a novel, and just started writing, letting everything take him away until he had no control over it himself. And see, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. On a first draft. After which all the polishing starts to happen and trim away the lumbering pace of the novel. Many of the events left me wondering if they were only in the book to create drama, not to fulfill plot. Actually most of the events made me feel cheap. Made me feel like the book was all glitter and light effects. Everything was a trap, the bad guys were always 100 steps ahead of the good ones. It didn't matter what anyone did, everything turned out to be a trap because supposedly those things make stories epic. Right?

For a novel with 558 pages and about 128 K words, the relationships between characters seemed rushed. Astrid and Sam immediately fall in love. Why? Because it's more epic when there's an "absolutely in love" couple to tear apart later. There really was no reason for them to be so in love, except that Astrid had this magical power of intuition and Sam was the brightest light in her sky. It just . . . it all just felt set up. Everything felt like it was trying to top what had just happened.

It felt like chaos.

I feel like I have to say sorry for posting this review because there are so many rave reviews for this and I keep hearing good things from people I know, but I just couldn't get into it and I couldn't like it. It has the potential to be wonderful, but maybe if Grant polished it up and cut at least 60% of it out (or at least simplified).