One can’t help comparing Gone to Lord of the Flies (see publisher’s note), but there’s a lot more to this exciting story than kids left alone and turning violent. Throw in a little X-Men and Planet of the Apes, written with a Stephen King flair, and you’ve got a better idea of what Michael Grant has achieved here.
Gone is stop-and-go action–nothing happens for a while and the story does drag in parts–and then everything cuts loose into twisted, scary, heart-pounding conflict. The reader has a hard time predicting what will happen, due to emerging powers and shifting loyalties. Our protagonist is a good guy–conflicted, but heroic. He’s easy to root for, and the antagonists are easy to hate.
Gone isn’t a masterpiece by any means. The writing can be pedantic. But it’s definitely a page turner (most of the time) and it’s a series kids with an affinity for action, the supernatural, and violent conflict will eat up.
Profanity/Language: 22 religious exclamations; 1 derogatory name; 5 scatological words; 1 anatomical term; 1 obscene gesture.
Violence/Gore: In an extended scene (3 pgs), a character is badly injured in a car accident; a character is burned to death; a pet is badly injured (some blood); characters fight in close combat with improvised weapons (4 brief scenes, 2 extended scenes); a character’s severe injury is described in detail; a character is badly injured after being attacked with a large blunt object; a character dies after being badly beaten; characters find a dead body, no details; characters fistfight (2 times); a character describes how to shoot to kill; in an extended scene (6 pgs), characters fight across two boats using knives and other weapons; characters are attacked and mauled by wild animals (3 times); characters encounter a creepy supernatural power (twice); a character sustains mild injuries while hiking; a story is told of a character’s permanent disability due to a fall; a building is destroyed, no injuries; characters are injured by a person with supernatural powers (2 times); in an extended scene (3 pgs) characters fight off wild animals; characters in captivity are subdued by encasing hands in cement (twice); characters in captivity are treated violently (3 times); a character is shot in the knee at close range; a character’s arm is blown off by supernatural powers; characters’ injuries are described in detail (twice); a character relates a story of domestic violence; a character is badly shocked; a character is cut by a whiplash (3 times); a character is uninjured after a bad car crash; a character is bitten by a wild animal; wild animals are killed and chased away by an explosion; in an extended scene (10 pgs), humans battle other human characters and wild animals using guns, superpowers, and improvised weapons.
Sex/Nudity: Characters embrace (2 times); a character relates the story of a parent’s marital infidelity; characters hold hands (twice); characters kiss briefly (3 times); a character reports attempted molestation; a character caresses another characters face; a character kisses another character on the cheek.
Mature Subject Matter:
Kidnapping, abandonment, family problems, eating disorders, theft, rioting, looting, death, murder, prescription drug abuse, supernatural powers with an unknown source.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Teens drink alcohol and smoke; a character abuses prescription drugs.