(Image from Barnes & Noble)
If the juvenile delinquents locked in the Colony's prisons felt expendable before, now they know just how disposable the government considers their lives. One hundred of the incarcerated teens are being sent on a mission that can only be described as suicidal. The kids' objective is to recolonize Earth, a planet long ago ravaged by nuclear war. Abandoned hundreds of years ago, the place may be habitable again. Or not. Breathing its radioactive air is a risk no one wants to take. Who better to embark on an exploratory expedition, then, than one hundred young criminals who are already slated to die? Either they'll be killed on Earth or they'll succeed in repopulating the planet, creating a new home for the Colonists whose ancestors left it for the safety of space several centuries ago.
Among the teens are Clarke Griffin, a 17-year-old apprentice medic who was arrested for treason. Her real crime is much, much worse. Wells Jaha, the chancellor's son, purposely got himself incarcerated so as to guarantee him a trip to Earth with Clarke, the girl he loves. Only she refuses to forgive him. Not a convict, Bellamy Blake breaks into the transport ship to protect his younger sister. The only set of siblings left in the world, the Blakes refuse to be separated, even if it means dying together. Glass Sorenson managed to get herself off the doomed ship, only to find the world she thought was secure to be anything but.
Somehow, the teen convicts must learn to survive in a strange land. Each hiding their own secrets, they have to figure out how to work together to eke out some kind of civilized existence in a savage wilderness. With constant danger from without and within, they may perish before the week is out. If they don't, they may just save their world, becoming the most unlikely of heroes. What will become of The 100? Will they unite to build a new future for themselves and the other Colonists? Or will they die before they even have a chance to start?
The LOST-ish premise behind The 100, a debut YA sci-fi novel by Kass Morgan, intrigued me from the moment I heard about it. Poised to enjoy an adventure full of danger, suspense, and drama, I began to read it. The more into the book I got, though, the more my enthusiasm waned. Why? Because while the novel had so very much potential, what it didn't have was a well-developed story world; complex characters; a tight plot structure; and enough conflict to keep things interesting. I was expecting a taut, riveting survival tale, not a melodramatic, but anti-climatic, soap opera. Needless to say, The 100 turned into a huge disappointment for me. Part of my dismay, I'm sure, has to do with the book being way over-hyped. Still, I had hoped for a better story, one that at least lived up to the promise of its oh-so-appealing premise. Didn't happen here. Bummer, that.
(Readalikes: Premise reminded me of the t.v. show LOST as well as the Gone series by Michael Grant [Gone; Hunger; Lies; Plague; Fear; Light])
If this were a movie (and it is—a t.v. series, anyway), it would be rated:
for language (no F-bombs), violence, sexual innuendo, and intense situations
To the FTC, with love: Another library