Friday, September 6, 2013

Written Like a Two-Hour Series Premiere

When there is a lot of hype about a new novel, and a television series already created before the novel has even been released, I suffer from two distinct and hypocritical emotional states: an overwhelming desire to get my hands on it and see what all the fuss is about and a superficial judgment that anything thought to be so cool can't possibly be really that cool. So I couldn't wait to get ahold of Kass Morgan's The 100, but I wasn't sure what to expect.

Nobody knows except those who make the decisions, but 100 of the juvenile delinquents imprisoned in the colony will be sent back to Earth. They are convinced Earth is safe to recolonize, but to be sure, they are willing to sacrifice 100 teens who would be executed after their 18th birthdays anyway. For Clarke, it is a surprise, but it isn't like she really has anyone back on the ship anyway now that her parents were executed. All she cares about is her cellmate Thalia, who is also coming along. Wells is the Chancellor's son. He knew he had to do something truly horrible to get onto that ship headed toward Earth, but what he did threatened the psychological well-being of every person aboard the colony. He knew this would be the result, but the only thing he cared about was getting on that drop ship to be with, and to protect, Clarke. Even though she didn't want him there after what he did to her.

Bellamy isn't on the Drop Ship, but he needs to be. In a colony where reproduction is heavily controlled, he is probably the only person aboard who has a sister, and she is being sent to Earth. Unable to protect her from being arrested, he must now find a way to get on the ship in order to be with her on Earth. What he has to do, though, is unheard of, even for the colony that executes so many 18 year olds for petty crimes. During the chaos of Bellamy's entrance onto the ship, though, Glass manages to make her way out of the drop ship. Originally slated to go to Earth, she knows she must find Luke. What she doesn't expect, as a now fugitive of the entire colony, is that Luke might not have been waiting for her. Once the drop ship lands on Earth, it is a race to survive with minimal supplies, a crash landing, and a world they couldn't have imagined. But life back on the ship for Glass isn't much better.

I was surprised when I saw this was already in the process of becoming a TV series without having even been released as a book yet. Don't get me wrong, the premise is fantastic, but how do you know how people are going to react to it until some have read it? So I went into this book expected to be floored by a phenomenal story, and I am sad to say I was pretty disappointed. The premise, as I said, is fabulous. But the story was really written as a two-hour series premiere, not the first book in a series. From the beginning with the snippets of all four main characters and their situations to the sudden ending, everything in this screamed TV. Honestly, there was no wrap up for the story, there was no world-building (because on TV, who needs a single description of the scenery, right?), and the only focus was the four main characters despite 100 kids on that island (ok, a few died early, but still, 90+). Seriously, there was absolutely no description of Earth save for two mutated animals, that warranted a paragraph each, and a decrepit building. What is it like there? Is there anything around you? can you see signs of what chased humans off Earth in the beginning? I got nothing. Until a tiny little snippit right before the book ended. Sound like a fabulous series permiere? Yep. Like a great first book? Nope. I just felt cheated by this book that was obvious supposed to be a screen-play. If I had not known the original of this book for the CW Network, I think I would be even more disappointed with it. At least with the TV series, I will be able to see a little of what Earth looks like.

And how fast does Morgan expect to pump these books out? If the TV show is starting now, and with so very little information in the first book, they are going to run out of story lines in like 4 episodes. So does the show carry on without the next book? Who would buy the books and watch the show simultaneously, then? Will she toss out a book every 6 months to keep up, or let the show run independently?

I also had another weird feeling when I read the acknowledgments: "I owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to Joelle Hobeika, who not only dreamed up the premise for The 100, but whose imagination, editorial acumen, and tenacity were essential for bringing it to life." So, wait a minute... Morgan didn't even come up with the story herself? So she is essentially someone's not-so-ghost writer? That makes me even less interested in this story, which is sad because the premise and the characters are an absolute gold-mine if done well. Sadly, though, the characters felt rather shallow and one-dimensional and the premise was swallowed up by the complete lack of information and development throughout the entirety of the novel. I am sad I had such trouble with this story. It could've been great!!

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