Friday, April 24, 2020

Freeform Friday: The 100 Series (including The 100, The 100: Day 21, The 100: Homecoming) - Kass Morgan

I thought I'd shake things up today by reviewing THREE books instead of our usual one.  
I'm wild like that.  Watch out!

Here are my reviews  of the first three books of 
The 100 series by Kass Morgan: 

The 100, The 100: Day 21, and The 100: Homecoming
They are reviewed individually, so go ahead 
and scroll down to the one you'd like to read.
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Summary:  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 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 came to Earth for the girl he loves -- but will she ever forgive him?  BELLAMY fough his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, and GLASS managed to escape, only to find that life on the ship is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

In a savage land, the hundred must fight to survive.  They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope. (Summary from back of book - Image from amazon.com)

My Review:  I'm in a bit of an odd position with this review as I actually watched several seasons of The 100 CW TV series before reading the book it was based on.  The two formats are now inextricably tied together in my mind and so some of my review will be about how they compare and some will be about the book itself.  I can't figure out how to untangle them.

I started watching the television show because the premise sounded exciting and original (see summary above) and I quickly fell in love with the characters.  Eventually, the show took on some more adult themes and I decided to move on, but when I realized the show was actually based on a book series, I decided to see if the written version was a bit more suited to my palate.  I mean, the book is always better, right?  In this case, yes...and no.

Kass Morgan's The 100 is certainly cleaner than the show version, but the two formats have differences that would render them nearly unrecognizable if it weren't for their shared premise.  The show uses the book's basic plot as a springboard, rather than a guideline to follow. Thankfully, Clarke, Bellamy, Wells, and Octavia are still featured characters in both formats, but there a few characters and an entire narrative arc missing from the show and a boatload of characters 'missing' from the book (Finn, Raven, Murphy, Jasper, Monty, Abigail, Kane, etc.).  I kept waiting for some of them to appear and was sad when they never materialized.  It's not the book or the author's fault, of course, that the show took creative liberties, but my experience with the book feels tainted because of that disappointment.  I don't know that I would recommend this book to someone who has already seen the series, because I think their disappointment would mirror my own.  However, I do think that taken on its own, the book has promise.

The novel itself is an effortless, escapist read that I finished in less than a day.  I was fascinated by the idea of a bunch of rebel kids set down in a post-apocalyptic earth, trying to 'set up shop' and survive.  The whole thing had a futuristic Lord of the Flies vibe and some interesting potential that might still play out in the series.  There is also a love triangle that provides some romantic tension and a twist at the end that will have readers (who haven't seen the show already) exclaiming, "WOAH! WHAAAAAAT!?!?" and reaching for the next book in the series, The 100: Day 21.  (psst...reviewed below)

I feel like giving this book an official rating based on my experience is slightly unfair but I think that taken on its own merits, the book version of The 100 would probably have rated somewhere between 3 and 4 Stars. So...

My Rating: 3.5 Stars.

For the sensitive reader:  A handful of swear words (mostly of the S or BS variety), some making out, and implied (but not 'seen' or described) sex.
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The 100: Day 21 is the sequel to Kass Morgan's The 100 (reviewed above).  We recommend you read that review/book first, if you haven't already.

Summary: It's been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth.  They're the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries...or so they thought.

Facing an unknown enemy, WELLS attempts to keep the group safe after a tragic attack.  CLARKE strikes out in search of other colonists, while BELLAMY is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost.  And back on the ship, GLASS faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.

In this pulse-pounding sequel, the hundred will struggle to survive the only way they can -- together.  (Summary from back of book - Image from amazon.com)

My Review:  The 100: Day 21 pick up where its predecessor left off, the hundred having just discovered they are not the only human inhabitants on planet Earth. Much of the book centers around that issue and the 100 coming to terms with this new reality and the subsequent rising tensions.  Another arc takes place on the failing space colony as two characters fight to stay alive as oxygen supplies run low.  As with the first book, this one only resembles the TV series by the same name in that some of the same central characters have landed on earth, are continuing to fight among themselves, and have found out they aren't alone on the planet.  From there, great license is taken by the TV studio, which is not to say that the book is better or worse than the series -- just very different.

The 100: Day 21 is a fast, fun read.  I blew through it in a day with very little effort and loved that it didn't make me think too hard (which is exactly what I needed at the time).  It is a little soapy, though.  There was a lot of high drama between characters with several situations that could have been solved with a little basic human communication or a chill-pill, but instead end up coming across rather I-can't-believe-you-lied-to-me-I-never-want-to-see-you-again-oh-but-wait-I-love-and-forgive-you.  It was enough back and forth to give a girl whiplash.  That having been said, if you are looking for an quick read and don't mind a little 'soap',  you'll probably like this one.  Just like its predecessor, this one has some surprise revelations and a cliffhanger ending, so, I've already put the next book (The 100: Homecoming) on hold at the library.  Right now, Mama needs some easy reads.  (Scroll down a wee bit and you can read that review)

My Rating: 3.25 Stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  A handful of swearing, some making out, implied sex (happens off-page, not described), mention of a homosexual relationship between secondary characters.
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The 100: Homecoming is the third book in The 100 book series by Kass Morgan.  We recommend reading the first two (reviewed above) if you haven't already.

Summary:  Humanity is coming home.  Weeks after landing on earth, the 100 have managed to create a sense of order amid their wild, chaotic surroundings.  But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space.

These new arrivals are the lucky ones -- back on the Colony, the oxygen is almost gone -- but after making it safely to Earth, GLASS's luck seems to be running out.  CLARKE leads a rescue party to the crash site, ready to treat the wounded, but she can't stop thinking about her parents, who may still be alive.  Meanwhile, WELLS struggles to maintain his authority despire the presence of the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards, and BELLAMY must decide whether to flee or face the crimes he thought he'd left behind.

It's time for the hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they've found on Earth, or risk losing everything -- and everyone -- they love.  (Summary from back of book - Image from amazon.com)

My Review: Okay, party people, I have good news and bad news.

The Good News: I blazed through the first two books in this series because, at the time, I really needed some mindless, soapy post-apocalyptic fiction to get me through break (and they filled that need).  The 100: Homecoming is still mindless, soapy post-apocalyptic fiction.

The Bad News:  I'm officially over it.  The characters and story line have never been particularly deep, but this book felt utterly one-dimensional.  The story moved so quickly that characters would, for example, decide to go to war, plan an attack, and then be in the midst of battle all on the same page.  Most dilemmas the core group encountered were surmounted quickly and with very little fuss, so there was never time to build any real sense of urgency.  Add to that my annoyance that several different couples (for whom I never really felt any chemistry or relationship-development) kept professing their undying love, and I wasn't buying any of it.  When tragedy struck, I couldn't care less.  You see where I'm going with this.  It all just seemed kind of contrived and pointless.

Long story short, I'm done with this series.  There is another book (The 100: Rebellion) but I have no plans to read it.  I suppose it's possible that a younger reader might be happy with this series, but I was not.  It's time for me to move on to other things.

My Rating:  2 Stars.  Just barely.

For the Sensitive Reader:  Some kissing.  Any sexual intimacy that may have occurred was only eluded to and never described.  Some innuendo.  A handful of swear words, of the A, S, GD, and F variety.

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