"No one has set foot on Earth in centuries - until now.
Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents - considered expendable by society - are being sent on a dangerous mission: to re-colonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life...or it could be a suicide mission.
CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she's haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor's son, came to Earth for the girl he loves - but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.
Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope."
I'm the sort of person who has to read a book before watching a film or television adaptation. However, in the case of ‘The 100’ I had no idea that the book existed, so you can’t blame me for watching the show first right? ‘The 100’ is now into its second season (E4, Tuesdays at 9pm in the UK!) and I've finally bought and read the first two books in the series; ‘The 100’ and ‘Day 21’ by Kass Morgan.
I'm not going to do a huge comparison of the books and the television adaptation on this post mainly because they are so very different from each other that it would make it too long. I may do a separate comparison post later on. This is just going to be a review of the first book in this series.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN MINOR SPOILERS
In ‘The 100’ we are presented with a dystopian future where the Earth has been made unlivable by nuclear weapons in a World War Three scenario. What’s left of the human race is living on a space ship called The Colony orbiting the planet. The Colony is made up of three sections, Phoenix, Walden and Arcadia, and the humans have been surviving on this ship for just over 300 years when we come into the story. Throughout the book, with the aid of real-time narrative and flashbacks, we find out that life on the ship is tough. Rationing is a bit part of their lives as things we take for granted like food, water, power and even oxygen is scarce. This ship is also falling into dis-repair as it was never intended to take this long to get back to the ground. Rules are very strict and the population growth is severely monitored. Crime is punishable by death for adults but under 18’s get a second chance. They are put into Confinement until their eighteenth birthday when they are submitted to a re-trial where they are either pardoned or given a lethal injection.
The book is split between the four perspectives of Clarke, Bellamy, Wells and Glass. When we first meet Clarke she is one of the kids in Confinement. She has lost all sense of time while she has been locked up, so when the guard opens her door and tells her the doctor is on his way Clarke assumes that she has turned 18 and is going to be killed. However, much to her surprise Clarke finds out that she is one of 100 prisoners being sent down to the ground on a desperate mission to find out if the radiation has subsided and Earth is survivable for humans again.
Next we meet Wells who is the son of the Chancellor. He is also the former boyfriend of Clarke. We find out that Wells has broken the law so that he could be one of the 100 going down to the ground in a crazy attempt to keep Clarke safe.
Bellamy is one half of the only siblings on the Colony. When his younger sister, Octavia, was discovered hiding in their home Bellamy’s mother was killed and both he and his sister were put into the care system. Octavia has recently been confined (for reasons we don’t yet know) and Bellamy is desperate to get onto the dropship and go down to the planet with his sister. Bellamy steals a guard’s uniform and gets to the launch room where he sees an opportunity to hold the Chancellor hostage so that he can get onto the ship. In all the commotion the Chancellor is shot, and we meet…
Glass. Glass is already on the dropship, resigned to the fact that she is being sent on a mission that could end her life when she sees an opportunity to escape the ship and run back into the Colony. She is pursued by guards until she finally take shelter in an air vent which turns out to lead to Walden. Perfect for Glass as she knows for somewhere in Walden that she will be safe, the arms of her boyfriend Luke. However things do not go well as she discovers that Luke has started seeing someone else in her absence. Deterred, Glass returns to her mother on Phoenix where she later gets pardoned for her crimes.
The dropship reaches the ground safely and there is no immediate threat from radiation. The novel tells the story of how these kids learn to survive on the ground, building their own civilisation and making their own rules. People are wary of Wells at first as he is the Chancellors son and they think he has been sent to spy on them, however once they learn that he had been Confined like the rest of them a lot of the kids turn to him as their leader (with the exception of a few like Graham who have been Confined for more serious crimes and don’t want to answer to anyone).
Clarke is the only one with some medical training as she was a trainee doctor before she was Confined, so she spends the first few hours trying to treat those who were injured when the dropship came down but she soon realises that all their medical supplies are missing (presumably lost among the debris from the ship). The other kids busy themselves but putting up tents and gathering scattered supplies. They discover that they have only been given a few weeks’ worth of rations and Bellamy decides that he will need to go out and hunt at some point.
I quite like how, as a reader, we get to view the story through the eyes of these four very interesting individuals. While they had all (apart from Bellamy) been Confined, their back stories are very different, so they all have very different perspectives on life. However I'm not sure it needed three perspectives from the ground and it made the story feel a little jumpy when transitioning from chapter to chapter.
I love how the flashbacks were inserted into some of the chapters. It was great to see little snippets of these characters backgrounds and it really helped me as a reader to build up a good picture of the characters’ lives. Clarke is a very strong female lead and through her flashbacks we find out about how she came to be so tough at such a young age. She is a natural leader and I think the fact that she is the only one with medical training means that the others trusted her easily once they were alone on the ground. Bellamy is also a very strong character, but it is clear from the outset that he is only interested in protecting himself and Octavia. I think the bond between them, as the only siblings left in the world, comes across really well in the writing.
I adore the concept of this novel and the writing is brilliant. I thought it maybe could have done with a bit more action, but overall a great first book in what I'm sure is going to be an amazing series.
I would give this book 4 stars :)
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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