3 out of 5 Stars
Since they made this into a TV show, I’ve been hearing a lot about The 100. I’ve never seen the show, but figured it was about time for me to check out the book and see what everyone was talking about.
No one has set foot on Earth in centuries — until now.
Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents — considered expendable by society — are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission.
CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she’s haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor’s son, came to Earth for the girl he loves — but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.
Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope.
Meh. The book was okay.
After all the hype, I was kind of disappointed with the novel. The premise was promising: humans destroyed the Earth, but a small group managed to escape to a space station. Bad news is, the station was only meant to sustain life for a decade or so, and not for such a large population. Now it’s been a few hundred years and the station is overcrowded and falling apart despite regular repairs, strict population control, and resource rationing. Society’s only hope is to return to Earth and hope that the environment is no longer poisonous. So leaders decide to secretly send a ship of 100 teens (all with juvenile records) down to the planet and see if they survive.
I struggled with the background information in this novel, or lack there of. The remaining human population lives on a giant space station, split into three main colonies based on wealth and status. But the novel never addresses the origins or reasoning behind the cultural stratification. It fails to give readers a good picture of the ship’s layout, which left me confused and annoyed with many scenes. Then, there is also the Gaia Accords, an unexplained, ultra-strict law system supposedly meant to save the remainder to humanity. Sadly, it seems more like a way to punish the poor and destroy the lives of anyone who doesn’t follow this strange set of laws.
The characterization was also lacking in this novel. We have intriguing characters like Clarke, a young woman with a love of books and family who is also training to become a doctor. Sadly, Clarke, and many of the other characters feel flat and flaky. It probably doesn’t help that there’s a confusing love triangle thrown in there.
Despite all the flaws, the book had some great societal themes that will resonate with readers. Incarceration, the death penalty, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, harsh caste systems, relationships outside of social class, and issues with overbearing parental authority. Sadly though, I thought the book would also include some aspects of survivalism, seeing that a group of teenagers is sent to survive in the wilderness. But it was sorely lacking and unrealistic in this area. A big disappointment for me.
I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. The writing style and overall story kept me intrigued, but I was left with way too many questions. If you’re looking for a new great space opera or survival story, this book is NOT it. But, not a bad read if you’re looking for a book about teen social issues and don’t mind an unrealistic setting.