Friday, 29 July 2011

Plague by Michael Grant


My god I love the Gone Series. After devouring and loving the previous three books - Gone, Hunger and Lies - I was more than eager to get my hands on Plague, and I finally spotted it at my library! You’d think the six-part series would steadily be getting worse by now, but that is most definitely not the case – if anything it gets better and even more gripping as the kids become more desperate to survive…and ill; because illness is striking the FAYZ, and as we're talking about the FAYZ, of course it’s not just the sniffles...

Plague is literally unpredictable, with no holds barred, and frighteningly realistic, with a flawless pace – and this is what every book in the Gone series treats you to, in my experience. I’m not going to talk about its plot, or the plot of the previous books in much detail, because that would spoil them if you haven’t already read them; and you really should because you’re seriously denying yourself the pleasure of reading this remarkable series, which people of all ages will enjoy – I think kids will love the action and gore, young adults will love the characters and plot and even adults will enjoy the fact that it also discreetly deals with everything from morality to politics to religion to philosophy to issues in society, and more.

Grant really is a master of plots – you have your two main dangers of the Plague that is causes people to (fairly graphically) cough out their lungs, along with another form of Plague that causes huge, indestructible bugs to grow inside of you and eventually (fairly graphically) burst out – Grant seems to enjoy putting his characters in unendurable pain. Then you also have the return of the monster that is Drake from the dead, who occasionally morphs into Brittney ‘the Pig’ every now and then, Little Pete trapped in a coma, the ever-present malevolent gaiphage (literally ‘world eater’ and you learn a bit more about it in Plague) and, as always, an extreme water and food shortage; each peril is given equal and individual time in the novel, and mix together to form an edge of your seat climax. Grant’s characters are also exceptional, perhaps even more so than the plot – they’re all so unique and diverse that you only have to read their name and you generally (there’s a LOT of people) instantly know who they are, as though they’re a real person they’re that convincingly written. You find yourself genuinely loving one person, and hating another, but by the end of the book your opinion could be totally different because they’ve grown and developed so much; that, or they’ve died, which isn’t a rare thing to happen in the FAYZ – Fallout Alley Youth Zone, a kind-of joke better explained in Gone.

I’ve always thought that the maps should be at the front, not the back, as you forget that they’re there, or don’t discover them until you’ve finished, and they’re really good for referencing what is occurring in the novel. I didn’t really like Little Pete’s chapters, although they provided an interesting insight into the insanely powerful autistic boys’ mind, they were too vague and a little bit pointless for my liking. My final complaint is that the action scenes could be better written – you can totally picture what is happening, but only if you go back and read the scene repeatedly, and even then I found it difficult at times, so ended up carrying on with only a bit of an idea as to what exactly had just happened.

Aside from all of this, these books are bloody brilliant, engaging, thought-provoking and keep you glued to the pages until the very end – the five hundred or so pages pass by like a breeze and you’re left wondering how you managed to read it so fast…and also what on earth is going to happen in the next novel, Fear as the series reaches its inevitably epic climax...
[SYNOPSIS: It's been eight months since all the adults disappeared. They've survived hunger. They've survived lies. But the stakes keep rising, and the dystopian horror keeps building. Yet despite the simmering unrest left behind by so many battles, power struggles, and angry divides, there is a momentary calm in Perdido Beach.
But enemies in the FAYZ don't just fade away, and in the quiet, deadly things are stirring, mutating, and finding their way free. The Darkness has found its way into the mind of its Nemesis at last and is controlling it through a haze of delirium and confusion. A highly contagious, fatal illness spreads at an alarming rate. Sinister, predatory insects terrorize Perdido Beach. And Sam, Astrid, Diana, and Caine are plagued by a growing doubt that they'll escape - or even survive - life in the FAYZ. With so much turmoil surrounding them, what desperate choices will they make when it comes to saving themselves and those they love? ]


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