Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tea Time: The 100

**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**

The 100, Kass Morgan

In the future, humans live in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth's toxic atmosphere. No one knows when, or even if, the long-abandoned planet will be habitable again. But faced with dwindling resources and a growing populace, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland... before it's too late.

Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents are being sent on a high-stakes mission to recolonize Earth. After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet they've only seen from space. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. But they're haunted by their past and uncertain about the future. To survive, they must learn to trust - and even love - again.(source:goodreads)

Narrative-This book is told in the third person POV from the perspective of four different characters: Clarke, Wells, Glass, and Bellamy. Three of them report from Earth, and one the spaceship hovering in outer space, and while I did like seeing what was happening both in space and on the ground, I found the narrative extremely jolting at times.

To start: there are too many points of view. Period. One of them I'm fairly sure wasn't even needed, which means this book could have easily been cut to three POVs maximum. Because there are so many characters telling the story, it was hard to get a grasp on any of them, and I felt like I only got to skim the surface of each before a new chapter came and the perspective shifted, which didn't do much in the department of shaping well-crafted characters.

Also, there was a huge reliance on flashbacks to tell the backgrounds of these characters. There were too many, almost one per chapter (not always, but almost) and it took a lot of time away from shaping the present; in addition, I couldn't really see a connection between many of the flashbacks and their present counterparts (as in: the present part of the novel is supposed to offer some kind of lead in, but it seemed totally unrelated to the flashback that came with it most times).

I love books with multiple character perspectives; there's so much that can be done with them, and I like that they offer so many different outlooks on the events happening. Overall, though, there was so little depth to the characters and the plot that I feel like having so many characters tell the story, as well as relying on flashbacks to tell the reader what's already happened, was a setback.

Plot-The plot of this book is what pulled me in. From the moment I read the back cover blurb, I thought to myself: "Teenage criminals being sent to Earth as an experiment and they're expected to make a community? Totally Lord of the Flies-esque. Sweet!"

The idea still appeals to me. The basis of the story is: 100 young criminals are sent to Earth in order to determine whether the atmosphere is livable. Right as the dropship is launching, a sibling of one of the siblings fights his way on board, and in the midst of the struggle one of the criminals escapes back into the ship. That criminal is pardoned (for nefarious reasons, certainly), and the rest of them crash-land to Earth, where they attempt to create some semblance of a civil society and where it doesn't quite work out that well.

Like I said, a plot line that I thought would be incredible. But:

-I felt like this is only the beginning of a story. Yes, there's a sequel, but what I mean is that I feel like the events of the story were an exposition. There wasn't enough depth, and I ultimately felt like not enough happened within the story to give me enough satisfaction upon finishing.

-This story also relies heavily-too heavily, in my opinion-on a series of love stories between multiple characters. And I mean, I love a good love story, but not when it's done so...stereotypically? Superficially?

-The flashbacks told more of a story than the actual narrative did, and I, as the reader, was kept in the dark about way too much for way too long. Halfway through the book I was a bit angry at the fact that there were always these almost moments, and then it was dropped. I almost didn't finish the book for that reason.

-I mentioned this before, but: depth. The story was too shallow. There wasn't enough background delivered in a comprehensive way, so I didn't feel like this book was fleshed out too much.

-There were a lot of plot holes and things that were sort of glossed over in a not-so-nice way. Like when Glass is pardoned, when all her mother did was leave, come back, and then say: "It's all taken care of!" Why was she so easily pardoned when she could have just been executed? What did her mother do to smooth things over? Basically, things like that.

Characters-Okay, I would love to go through these one at a time, but let's just say that I found the same problems with each of the characters:

They were all too shallow. What was a bit disconcerting was that each of them was portrayed as a love-sick fool. Even Clarke, who I wanted to love (I wanted to love her so freaking bad because her first chapter was so freaking awesome). She's definitely the strongest of the group, in my opinion, and I loved that she actually had some kind of knowledge inside of her: she's dubbed as the medical expert when they land on Earth, since she was a medical apprentice under her parents-both previously well-respected researchers.

Yet everything kept coming down to hormones. Clarke kissed a guy she barely knew; right after that she kissed a guy she was supposed to hate. Her best friend, lying injured in a tent the entire novel, keeps going on and on about Clarke is meant to be with Wells. Glass breaks every rule conceivable to get back with her old boyfriend, who she rudely dumped instead of trying to talk things out with him. Then they get back together and can only say and do mushy things towards each other.

Wells does everything in his power to be with Clarke, which by the end (learning a few of his secrets) came off as more of an obsession than a cute, "he'll do anything to be with her" type thing.

Bellamy? Well...I really have no clue what he was doing there except for providing a weak love triangle for the Clarke-Wells thing.

Basically: a lot of their decisions didn't make sense. They all have extremely powerful pasts, and I think those pasts could have been used to make their characters a lot stronger. Yet...they were all a bit cardboard. Which made me really sad.

Also: the minute anybody disagreed with anyone, or asked a question "the wrong way," or attempted to figure things out, the answer was always: "You Phoenix girls are such snobs and sluts and why did I ever think you were different?"

Yeah, that was the result for every single girl who came from a particular section of the spaceship. First result for all of them. The only kind of response that the one guy from this section got was a series of battles in which he and the other boys flexed their muscles and eventually...nothing happened. He eventually got everyone's respect, and I felt like it happened really quickly.

Again: I really wanted to love these characters. Especially Clarke. I think she was the best-developed character out of all of them, but even she fell flat sometimes.

Final Answer: 1.75 / 5

I might pick up the sequel. Maybe. Because I kind of would like to know what happens next. Yet, at the same time, I felt like there was a lot of work that could have gone toward polishing this book, and if the next is the same way?

Well, we'll see.

Have ya'll read this book? What'd you think? Am I just missing something?

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THE 100 @kassmorganbooks looked promising, but fell flat in quite a few ways. Read the review via @Rae_Slater (Click to Tweet)

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