Following on from Hunger, Sam and the rest of the council have found a way to provide enough food to keep everyone alive using a new coin system developed by Albert. However, Sam is not coping well with the power and responsibility that comes with the position he has assumed as unofficial leader of the FAYZ, and the council (including his girlfriend, Astrid) wants to take control. Sam is sick of all the constant talk and lack of action, especially as there is a group of “normals” who have started to rise against the “freaks”, meting out their own cruel justice.
In this, the third book, Grant suddenly introduces several new characters. There are a group of kids from a variety of cultural backgrounds who were adopted by a mega-rich film star couple who also disappeared with the appearance of the dome. When Caine and the few kids who are still following him escape from Perdido Beach, they head to the island in the hope of finding food. Then there is the mysterious Nerezza who no-one recalls from before the dome who encourages kids to listen to Orsay who can visit dreams – and appears to be visiting the dreams of adults outside the dome; parents waiting, hoping their children will appear. And on top of this, Brittany, who had appeared to die in the previous novel, has suddenly reappeared; alive, but not alive. As has Drake.
These new elements keep the story fresh; especially the idea that there is life outside the dome. Plus, there are so many different areas which require exploring – from ensuring that everyone is fed to trying to figure out how these apparently dead people are alive, or whether the stories being told by Orsay have any truth.
This, the second of the Gone series by Michael Grant, continues the story of the children in the dome in Perdido Beach, the place they now call the FAYZ.The children who are still around have figured out how to avoid the leap, where everyone previously disappeared when they turned fifteen. There are those with powers, everything from the ability to stop gravity to the ability to heal and many, many others. Then there are those who are normal. In addition to this, there are the kids from Coates College who want to control the FAYZ who have been fighting with the other kids who are wanting to have a democratic system for running everything, including taking care of the babies. And then there is the creature in the dark that controls wants to run everything and everyone.
In Hunger, there has been a battle between the two main groups – good vs evil – and good has prevailed. Now, there is the problem of food. Most of the goodies have been eaten; all of the ice-cream and sweets. Despite the best efforts of entrepreneur Albert, much of the perishable food has gone. Plus, there are increasing discoveries of mutated animals – talking hyenas, swimming bats and flesh-eating worms. The council is left to deal with figuring out how to feed everyone whilst still battling the Coates kids and the evil in the dark.
Grant has continued to maintain and developing the relationships of the various characters whilst bringing in new and more sadistic issues for the kids to deal with. I particularly like that he is including things which would be challenging for teens in the real world; of course, eating disorders, same-sex attraction and all of the issues relating to teenage relationships would continue regardless of the fact that their world has changed so greatly. The problems that the teenagers seem insurmountable, and in trying to deal with them friendships are challenged and destroyed. The series definitely draws the reader in, and I could not wait to move on to the next book, Lies.