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Sunday, 4 January 2015

Light by Michael Grant (Gone, #6) - Book Review

4/5 Stars

THE ENDGAME



Edition: Paperback
Pages: 435
Chapters: 32 (Plus an aftermath with four parts.)
Publisher: Electric Monkey Egmont

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

It's The Endgame, the final fight for the residents of the FAYZ, and yes, yes, it is one helluva ride. Light is a great conclusion to an enthralling YA series that has me hooked from start to finish. I'm actually kind of sad that that is the adventures done. You know that mad rush you get to devour a series? To absorb all the answers and see it through to the almost always bloody end? And then, then when it's finished and you're left with a kind of emptiness? That's me, right now. Where do I go next after the Gone series? Do I even want to move on from the series? Who knows; time will tell, but right now, let's review this awesomeness.

SPOILER WARNING

Everyone's attention is on Perdido Beach, on the FAYZ, now that the barrier's transparent.
It's time for parents to watch as their children face their biggest threat.
Heroes, villains, even those who never chose sides; no choice now, it's fight, or die.
The Darkness has taken form, and it wants to break free from the barrier shell holding it back, and to do that, everyone must die.
It's all come down to this moment.
The Endgame.

Light is everything you want in a finale. It feels big; it grabs all the tension and suspense it's built, builds it up some miles more, and then smacks it home. The middle of the book and maybe the third quarter has pacing issues. Too much of the same thing happening over and over. Sam fights, and fails; Sam fights, and fails etc. But the final battles? The feels and gut-wrenching deaths - yes, it's a finale, there are deaths - of those you've come to love? Horrible, but fittingly perfect.

I've loved every second of the Gone series' mythology, of how everything comes together and works. And Light, more or less - more on the less later - wraps it all up nicely. There aren't any staggering twists, but then again, Light doesn't need them. We, as the readers, have been building for this moment for six books. Some, those who read it when the first book was just out, waited years. It's satisfying, and action-packed, and full of everything that makes the series so captivating. The conclusion, where we see the survivors adjusting to life outside the FAYZ, needs a little suspension of disbelief; but it's an effective ending filled with closure and redemption and understanding. It nearly brought a tear to my eye.

My love for the cast of characters for this entry cannot be stronger. They're all such well-developed and engrossing windows into the world. Each is unique, you can think of a character and instantly list their qualities; you can even plant them in a random situation in your mind and know how they'd react. I think it's this, at least for me, that makes the series so special. Mr Grant has a superb ability to write characters that feel real, that feel as if the reader themselves wrote them.

They're also all surprisingly relatable. I say surprisingly because I'm twenty-one years old, and they're teenagers. But more and more you come to realise that these 'children' have unshakably become adults. Perhaps even more than that. They're far more capable, as shown, than even adults.

One thing. That's all it took. One thing that isn't explained that robs Light of 5 stars.
One thing: Their powers.
Where do they go? Why do they go?
Because the gaiaphage is killed? Isn't the reason they got their powers a mutation? A change on a cellular level?
This question annoys me. The barrier is made to stop a nuclear disaster - in part anyway - but the characters' powers, at least some, are active before that, so aren't reliant on the FAYZ.
Also, even with the big bad dead, even though the gaiaphage is the reason they gained these powers, there is no explanation concrete enough in that world to suggest they'd lose their gifts.
That's one part of the story that feels lazy to me. It feels like an easy cop out to make their return outside, in a way, easier.

There's also Light's theme: Light.
There's the Light that now shines through the transparent barrier; Sam's ability to make Light; Gaia's ability to make Light.
But perhaps the biggest, and best part of the theme, is the Light, the goodness, within even the darkest of people; in everyone. Light is almost definitely about redemption. Everyone wants to repent for their sins, well, apart from the bad, bad, bad, bad guys. But the likes of Caine and Diana; their stories in the beginning are generic, and now they're absolutely fascinating. They went from being useful conflict makers, to essential reads.

Ahhhh! I'm still sad it's finished.

But, if you haven't, pick this series up. All of it, binge it, binge it all!


Previous Instalment: Fear


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