Okay, first let me start off with a little disclaimer: I love young adult dystopian novels. There, I said it. They’re my guilty pleasure when it comes to reading and including The 100 series by Kass Morgan, I’ve read at least six different series in this category. I even route my senior thesis on female protagonists in YA dystopias. You could say I’m a little obsessed… The 100 is unique because of the fact that it is now a popular TV series on the CW and yes, I’m still a little bitter that Delirium didn’t get picked up (I’m looking at you Fox). With that said, you’ll probably see more than a few book reviews on this blog and most of them will probably be YA dystopias. I’m sorry.
So a few months ago, I picked these books up after binge watching Season 1 of The 100 on Netflix in less than 24 hours. I knew nothing about either of them but I was hooked from the get go. While the books and TV series are starkly different, I did really enjoy reading the books, even if they weren’t what I had originally expected and a little more on the young side of young adult. Here’s what I love about the books (collectively):
Pacing – All good books have good pacing. It’s a must in order to keep the reader engaged with the text. If you’re looking for a quick, easy read then this series is for you. I read the first two books in one day (it was a Sunday and I don’t have a life) and the third over the next three days. So, in less than a week, I knocked the series out. I strongly suggest buying all three books (The 100, Day 21, and Homecoming) at the same time because you will not be able to put them down.
Characters – Whether you read the books or watched the show first, one of the strongest aspects of this series is the characters. Clarke Griffin is another strong female lead, much in the way of Katniss and Tris. Okay, so my love for the characters was maybe a little biased going into the reading of the books because I had already fallen for them in the show, but they’re good, people! I think the writing could have been a little more in depth with character development but this is one of the reasons why the show is so successful. These characters are simple in their complexity: you like them, love them, or love-to-hate them. What’s more is that they’re all relatable. At one point or another you will be able to identify with what these characters are feeling even if you haven’t experienced returning to Earth after a nuclear apocalypse.
The World – The world of this series is huge. I’m talking MASSIVE. Anything literally can and will happen. The TV show also uses this to its advantage. The world is your oyster with these babies. If you love getting sucked in to worlds where you can create within them, these books (and show) are for you.
Vagueness – In the books, it’s pretty vague what actually happened when people had to flee Earth. They talk of The Cataclysm and nuclear bombs but no one ever really gives any specifics. You’re probably thinking, “But, isn’t that a bad thing?” and my answer to you is this: NO! The books take place 300 years after humans leave Earth (the show is only 97) but think about how vague the stories would have become over time. History is always twisted and rewritten through generations, especially something as major as this where almost the entire human race is destroyed. This is one of the things I absolutely love about this world. It adds a sense of realism that you don’t get from other post-apocalyptic stories.
Themes – While the books aren’t nearly as theme driven (in my opinion) as the show, the themes are still present none-the-less. Redemption and family play a major role as well as acceptance and love (holla Bellarke lovers). It is interesting to see how all of these ideas act upon one another and drive the characters forward.
If you’re a fan of the TV series will you like the books?
This is a total toss up. I like the books but I don’t LOVE them the way that I love the show. They are so different that they could honestly be two completely unrelated things if they didn’t have the same characters and title. Both have their strengths and weaknesses but I think that the show takes what was laid out in the books and just pushes the characters, themes, etc. to the limit.
If you’re already a fan of the series what are your predictions for Season 3?