Monday, August 26, 2013

The 100 by Kass Morgan

The only humans left live in a space station orbiting above an Earth destroyed by radiation.  But the space station can only last so long, so its leaders decide on a way to see if Earth is once again safe for human life.  100 juvenile prisoners are sent to Earth.  If they survive, the rest of the human race can follow if they die...they were slated to be executed anyway.

The 100, which hasn't even come out yet, is already in development to be a show on the CW.  It wasn't written specifically for that purpose, but I can see why it got snapped up for a show.  It reads like TV episodes.  It revolves around a collection of characters, all who are hiding dark secrets and chapters, and book itself, ends on dramatic cliff hangers.

The story is split between what's happen on Earth which focuses on juvenile convicts Clark, her ex-boyfriend Wells, who got himself imprisoned so he could go with her and try to earn her forgiveness, and Bellamy, the young man who shot the Chancellor in order to be on the ship with his sister.

On the ship we see through the perspective of Glass, who was supposed to go to Earth but made a run for it in the confusion and made it back to her wealthy family, who were able to secure her a pardon.

Our main character's lives, through slow reveals, are all intertwined.  What did Wells do that was so unforgivable?  Why does Clarke blame him for her parent's execution?  Why was Clarke herself prisoned?  What did Wells do that speed up the process to send the ship to Earth?  What did Glass do to get herself imprisoned?  What is the terrible secret she cannot tell anyone?  Lots of drama.  On Earth, we have a love triangle with Clarke, Bellamy and Wells.  Up in the space station, Glass is reunited with her lower-class love, only to fear he will learn what she's still hiding. 

The world building was pretty good.  A lot is still left unsaid, but it's pretty clear that was deliberate.  Humans left Earth in the first stages of the "Cataclysm" but there has been no detail so far as to what exactly that was.  It's mentioned that some "infected" survivors made their way onto the ship and were quarantined.  Anyone who gets sick on the ship is quarantined.  The space station is split up into classes.  Phoenix is where the wealthy live.  They are the ruling class, they have the best food, better clothing options and more opportunities.  Walden and Arcadia are where the lower class lives.  Their lives are hard.  They cannot come and go around the ship as they please.  They are limited on food and clothing and job opportunities.  Because of limited resources, there is a strict one child per family limit.  Those that disobey are executed.

It's a pretty harsh world.  Execution seems fairly typical.  It doesn't seem that these people living in space have learned to adapt very well.  They're just living off what meager resources they originally brought with them, and as those become less and less, Walden and Arcadia suffer more and Phoenix takes what there is.

I think teens who have enjoyed other dystopias will like this series a lot.  Plenty of drama and romance for all.

The 100 comes out September 3, 2013.

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