Gone (novel series)

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Michael Grant's Gone
First edition cover of Gone
AuthorMichael Grant
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreSupernatural, Horror, Science fiction, Dystopia
PublisherHarperCollins
Published2008–2013
Media typePrint (hardback and paperback)
 
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Michael Grant's Gone
First edition cover of Gone
AuthorMichael Grant
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreSupernatural, Horror, Science fiction, Dystopia
PublisherHarperCollins
Published2008–2013
Media typePrint (hardback and paperback)

Gone is a book series written by Michael Grant. The series is centered around the fictional American town of Perdido Beach, in which every human 15 and older vanishes. The town and surrounding areas become encased within an impenetrable energy barrier, with many of its inhabitants developing supernatural powers. The books follow the exploits of the protagonist, Sam Temple, as he battles antagonists Caine Soren and Drake Merwin, as well as a mysterious, malevolent creature, known as the Darkness or the gaiaphage. The first novel in this series, titled Gone, was originally published in 2008. The second book, Hunger, was released a year later, followed by the third book, Lies, on May 4, 2010. The fourth book, released on April 5, 2011, is titled Plague. The fifth book, Fear, was released on April 3, 2012 in the US, although it was released as early as March 23 in Australia and Hong Kong. The sixth book is titled Light and was released on April 2, 2013.

Novels[edit]

Gone[edit]

Every person at the age of 15 or over vanishes from the town of Perdido Beach, causing confusion and chaos. Sam Temple, a 14-year old boy with the ability to shoot green light beams from his hands, Astrid Ellison and Quinn Gaither, Sam's best friend, set out to explore the area, discovering a barrier cutting the area off from the outside world with a radius centered at a nuclear power plant located outside of town. The area within the barrier is nicknamed the Fallout Alley Youth Zone or FAYZ for short. Exploring this nuclear power plant, the group finds Astrid's severely autistic 4-year-old brother Pete, along with a map marking radiation patterns from a 15-year-old explosion at the plant that lines up exactly with the energy barrier. Sam and Pete are revealed to have supernatural powers. Upon the group's return to Perdido Beach, its members encounter vehicles bringing students from nearby Coates Academy. Some of the students have supernatural powers, including Caine Soren (who has the power of telekinesis), who takes command of Perdido Beach along with fellow student Drake Merwin. Caine learns that he was adopted and that he and Sam are fraternal twins. Astrid and the rest of Sam's group escape across the desert when Caine orders Drake to kill Astrid. They meet Lana Arwen Lazar, who has healing powers which she discovered after she and her dog, Patrick, were wounded and were attacked by a coyote pack that abducted her earlier. Caine and his group return to Coates Academy, discovering that when a person turns 15, they are confronted by something they desire before vanishing. Sam's group escapes the coyotes but is captured by Drake and imprisoned within Coates. Sam's group escapes Coates Academy, joined by various Coates students, and returns to Perdido Beach to fight Caine. Meanwhile, Drake abducts Lana as he thinks she can help him get his arm back after Sam had burned it off. They reach a creature known as the "Darkness" down a mineshaft which uses Lana's power to give Drake a whip for an arm. Caine attacks the town with the help of the coyotes, and Sam and Caine fight in the town square. The two turn 15 and disappear, encountering what seems to be their mother. Upon identifying this as a monster, the two return to reality. Orc, who became a wet gravel monster after getting mauled by the coyotes, starts fighting with Drake, whose whip arm causes no pain to Orc. Caine leaves Perdido Beach, following the leader of the coyote pack to the Darkness. The rest of Perdido beach celebrate thanksgiving after it was organised by Albert. 19 people died during the battle.

Hunger[edit]

Caine's mental health has suffered due to his time interacting with the Darkness, now known as the gaiaphage. He resumes command of the Coates students and with them breaks into the Perdido Beach nuclear plant in order to control the town's electricity. Caine mentally receives a message from the gaiaphage telling him to bring it a uranium rod from the plant and realizes it may be controlling him. Lana has also been receiving messages from the gaiaphage and attempts to blow up the mine shaft, but she fails, falling under the gaiaphage's control. Edilio Escobar, a student from Perdido Beach, travels to the mine shaft in order to destroy it, along with another girl named Dekka who has the ability to defy gravity in small spaces. He is shot by Lana, who is under the control of the gaiaphage. It is revealed that the gaiaphage plans to use Lana's powers, along with a uranium rod from the nuclear plant, to create a new, near-invincible body for itself. Astrid determines that the gaiaphage was created by the accident at the nuclear plant 15 years ago, and that the accident may also be the cause of her peers' supernatural powers. Sam and Duck Zhang, who can control his density, travel to the mine shaft in order to fight the gaiaphage. Caine uses his powers to bring a uranium rod to the mine shaft, but, upon seeing his love interest Diana Ladris injured by Drake, throws the rod at his chest, knocking him into the mine shaft and collapsing its entrance. Duck creates a hole in the ground leading to the gaiaphage and is then thrown by Caine into the hole. While falling, Duck becomes heavier than a mountain and smashes into the gaiaphage, dragging the creature down to the bottom of the barrier surrounding the Fallout Alley Youth Zone but dying in the process.

Lies[edit]

A young girl named Jill is beaten and thrown into an empty grave due to her powers. Sam discovers her and is told by Edilio that she was in the grave of a girl called Brittney, who has been dead for a month but seems to have disappeared. Astrid and Sam find a boy attacked by Drake, who has been seen nearby. Sam learns that Brittney is alive and in town, and meets an unfamiliar girl named Nerezza. Nerezza eventually attempts to kill Pete, who is revealed to have created the energy barrier, but fails when Astrid intervenes. When Pete finds his favorite toy smashed on the ground, he screams, causing the energy barrier surrounding the area to disappear for a brief moment. Astrid sees adults staring on the other side before the wall returns! The gaiaphage is revealed to have been attempting to use Brittney and Lana's immortality and healing powers to bring Drake back from the dead but sharing the same body as Brittney. Nerezza is not human at all, but rather the gaiaphage's avatar, brought to life through Pete's thoughts.

Plague[edit]

Perdido Beach is now run by a boy named Albert Hillsborough, whose introduction of capitalist systems to the town has placed him in a position of considerable power. Albert sends Sam and others on a mission to find a new water source in nearby Lake Tramonto, as the town's supplies are running low. On the way to the lake, Sam's group encounters an old friend named Hunter who was banished from fayz with the power to radiate anything who has become infested with parasites and dies. A coyote who leads them to creatures that are causing parasitic insect infections. The group attacks the creatures, but Dekka becomes infested with insects in the process. Upon reaching the lake, the group is once again confronted by the creatures, which have grown to the size of SUVs and are being commanded by Drake. The group escapes back to Perdido Beach. Drake travels to Coates Academy with some of the insects, having been commanded by the Gaiaphage to capture Pete. Upon their arrival, Astrid throws Pete to the insects, who realizes the danger and vanishes both the insects and himself; her hope was that Pete's death would cause the energy barrier to dissipate. Pete is later revealed to be bodiless but alive.

Fear[edit]

Pete experiments with his new state of existence by tampering with the inhabitants of the Fallout Alley Youth Zone, resulting in gruesome deaths as he clumsily changes their DNA. The energy barrier begins to turn black, gradually filling the Zone with darkness. Through mental communication with Pete, Astrid learns that the barrier is connected to the gaiaphage. Drake captures the pregnant Diana and brings her to the mine shaft. Diana gives birth to her baby, whom the gaiaphage then inhabits. Drake, Diana and the gaiaphage, now known as Gaia, head to the energy barrier, where they encounter Sam, Astrid, and Caine. They battle, and Sam attacks Gaia; sunlight instantly returns to the Fallout Alley Youth Zone as the energy barrier becomes transparent. Sam once again attacks Gaia, who is seemingly unhurt. She flees the scene along with Diana and Drake. Visual communication begins between the inhabitants of the Zone and the outside world.

Light[edit]

Light is the final book in the series. The dome around the FAYZ has become transparent, allowing the kids inside to converse with their parents. Some, such as Brianna, are thrilled to have the attention, while others, like Orc, are ashamed of what they have become and pray that the dome never comes down. In the thrill of being able converse with the outer world, the kids lose interest in their duties, which leads to sending Quinn to the island to get Albert, as he is the only one to get them back to work. Annoyed at Brianna, Sam and Astrid send her on a mission to hunt for Drake. She succeeds, and scatters the chopped off parts of his body across the landscape, keeping his head in a chest below the boats on the lake.

Meanwhile, Gaia and Diana are out in the desert, where a rapidly-aging Gaia schemes to take out all of the FAYZ residents in order to put an end to Little Pete's powers, who gets his strength through the power of the other FAYZ residents. Intending to stop Gaia and rescue Diana, Sam and Caine go on a hunt for Gaia together. When they find her later, however, she easily defeats them. Gaia proceeds to attack the lake, and with few with powers to protect it, the kids there get slaughtered and several minor characters are killed. The kids regroup at the town and discuss what to do next.

It is revealed that Gaia, though possessing every power of every living person in the FAYZ, loses that power when the person dies. Sam contemplates whether he must sacrifice himself in order to stop Gaia. Meanwhile, after saving Drake by connecting his living head to the body of a man she killed, Gaia attacks the town and kills off Brianna and Jack. With the situation desperate, Caine goes to get Albert's missiles and launches them at Gaia. They hit the FAYZ wall and kill Orc, who was fighting Gaia at the time. Realizing that there was only one option left, Caine invites the spirit of Little Pete to take control of his body, and using it Little Pete fights Gaia, sacrificing both himself but taking her down as well.

After the FAYZ wall comes down, Sam has a final encounter with Drake and defeats him. The remaining kids reunite with their parents and mourn their losses. To get them out of legal trouble, Caine writes a confession note claiming that he was controlling the kids and making them do all of the thing that they did. The series concludes with Sam and Astrid inviting Diana to come live with them, of which she agrees.

Characters[edit]

Sam Temple: Through the series, he develops a relationship with Astrid Ellison and eventually becomes a leader among the inhabitants of the Fallout Alley Youth Zone, although near the end, he finds out that he is more of a fighter than he is a leader and passes on his leadership role to Edilio. He is the fraternal twin of Caine Soren and is the oldest twin. He has the power to create a deadly heated green-white light from his palms.

Astrid Ellison: A 14-year-old girl seemingly knowing everything. She is dating Sam Temple and is the sister of "Little Pete", whom she is dedicated to caring for. Astrid is highly religious and through the later books has many moral struggles, eventually giving up on her faith.

Peter "Little Pete" Ellison: A 5-year-old autistic boy with many powerful supernatural abilities, including teleportation, psychokinesis, levitation and creation. Although he is very powerful, he is unable to properly control his powers. He is revealed to have created the energy barrier surrounding the Fallout Alley Youth Zone, after some of gaiaphage's power was directed into him, making him Gaia's "Nemesis" and the most powerful mutant. He is loved and cared for by his older sister, Astrid Ellison.

Caine Soren: The fraternal twin of Sam, Caine is capable both of great acts of good and of greed, cruelty and malevolence. He has telekinetic powers, but struggles with his mental health after meeting the gaiaphage. He ultimately attempts to stop the gaiaphage alongside Sam, and sacrifices himself to allow Little Pete to possess his body in order to fight Gaia.

Drake Merwin: Caine's former cohort, who willingly serves the gaiaphage and possesses a whip in place of his right arm Sam had burned off in Gone. After being killed by Sam and Caine, he is resurrected by the gaiaphage and used for its purposes, sharing a body with Brittney. Gaia later fuses his severed head upon Alex's body, and Drake ultimately dies at the end of "Light" after Gaia's defeat causes his head to detach from his new body.

Diana Ladris: Caine's chief assistant, whose baby later becomes the vessel of the gaiaphage. She has the power to tell how much supernatural power a person possesses. She is a sneaky girl who claims she only uses Caine for her own protection but ends up actually having feelings for him.

Quinn Gaither Accompanies Sam Temple in the initial exploration of the Fallout Alley Youth Zone. He works to feed the kids at Perdido Beach with a small team of fishers, and as such becomes known as The Fisherman.

Edilio Escobar: A Honduran boy who at one point attempts to destroy the gaiaphage. He ends up taking on leadership roles towards the end of the series. In Fear, it is revealed that Edilio is gay and has been in a relationship with Roger.

Lana Arwen Lazar: A Native American girl with healing powers. Like Caine, she is influenced by the gaiaphage, and at one point attempts to destroy it. She is haunted by her memories of being susceptible to the gaiaphage's influence, and takes comfort in smoking and her faithful dog, Patrick.

Patrick: Patrick is Lana Arwen Lazar's loyal and faithful dog. When Lana is struggling for survival he protects her from everything that tries to hurt her. He is a golden Labrador.

Albert Hillsborough: An African American boy who gains power and influence within the Fallout Alley Youth Zone through his building of capitalist systems. He later retreats to an island away from the mainland, but is brought back in the last book by Quinn in an attempt to restore order to the town.

Darkness/Gaiaphage: The series' main antagonist, a malevolent being that feeds on nuclear energy and has the ability to influence and control people. The gaiaphage is locked in battle with Pete for supremacy over the Fallout Alley Youth Zone. It eventually possesses the newborn baby of Diana, becoming known as Gaia.

Duck Zhang: An Asian boy with the power to control his density. He uses his power to pull the gaiaphage deep into the earth but is killed in the process.

Dekka Talent: An African American Mutant girl from Coates, who harbors feelings for Brianna. She can remove gravity from a limited space, causing everything in that area to be lifted into the air. She is loyal to Sam and shares many battles with him.

Brianna aka "The Breeze": A 13-year-old mutant from Coates, with the ability to run at incredibly fast levels of speed. She is known to be talkative and seems to be the person who embraces their power the most. She likes to be powerful and is the last to back down from a fight. She is the love interest of Dekka. She is eventually killed by Gaia in "Light".

Computer Jack: Jack is a Freak, from Coates, with super strength. He is also the tech guru of Perdido Beach. Originally from Coates, Jack has joined Sam and his team in Perdido Beach. Despite his strength, he lacks confidence and is very easily manipulated. He is killed by a stray bullet meant for Gaia in "Light".

Zil Sperry: A non-freak boy, who constantly makes fun of Mutants. He threatens Hunter which leads to the death of Harry. He decides that mutants get all the breaks and food, and comes up with the Human Crew in an attempt to take over the town. He is killed.

Charles "Orc" Merriman: A half-human, half gravel-like boy. His tough exterior makes him invulnerable to even drake's whip and the most physical damage and also gives him superhuman strength. He developed an alcohol problem after hitting Bette with a baseball bat and accidentally killing her, and will only do assignments in exchange for beer. In Fear, Orc becomes sober and starts reading the Bible. In Light, he is killed in the resulting blast when Caine shoots a missile at Gaia.

Mary Terrafino: Known to all as 'Mother Mary,' she is the main caretaker for the littles- the kids of the FAYZ, especially the younger ones, who look to her as a mother figure. She is highly respected throughout the FAYZ. Despite her good nature, Mary struggles with depression, anorexia, bulimia and the inevitable stress of being responsible for too many other children. She later tries to take her life, under false pretenses from Orsay's visions and encouragement from Nerezza, by jumping off a cliff. She tries to take the kids with her as she believes that death in the FAYZ will teleport you alive and outside the dome.Brianna, Taylor and Dekka save the kids but leave Mary, Mary teleports outside the dome but has mutated and is severely injured and later dies in a hospital.

Taylor: An Asian teen with the power to teleport, or 'bounce,' Taylor is a loyal supporter of Sam and his doings in the FAYZ. She is also known to openly have a crush on Sam, which is a source of hostility between her and Astrid. She is later mutated into a strange gold-skinned being by Little Pete, but is brought back to life by Lana and Sinder. Pete later contacts her and restores her hair, but not her skin. She saved Sam when he was stranded along the Highway; she is later seen by Astrid. Later it is mentioned she was spotted briefly by a camper months later somewhere in the north of the FAYZ.

Howard Bassem: Orc's follower, usually does negotiating for him. He is sarcastic and rude. He runs a black market for drugs and alcohol in the FAYZ and made a still at the deserted Coates Academy. He and Orc eventually form a close friendship. He is killed by Drake and coyotes in Fear.

Sinder: Sinder is a goth, making her first appearance in Lies where she warned Sam of Orsay, who claimed she was contacting her parents, who, of course, were outside of the FAYZ. www.thefayz.com is where you can read her journal. Sinder's power is green-thumb, meaning she can make plants grow. In Fear, she and Jezzie grow a garden patch at Lake Tramonto. Her Bars are unknown, though most likely two.

Orsay Pettijohn: She can come into your dreams, and appears in Sam's Mum's dreams. 12-year-old Orsay Pettijohn, also known as the Prophetess, has the power of Dream Weaving. She is able to walk through dreams of others. Orsay's prophecies include Mary's big jump from Clifftop. She told many that when people die in the FAYZ, they reappear again "out there". She has three power bars. She was killed by Nerezza in Lies.

Bug: A mutant originally from Caine's band of followers who has the ability to make himself invisible, a power which he uses for his own selfish, and often questionable, motives.

Toto: Has the power to distinguish truth from lie. He knows when you are lying. He was found talking to a Spider-Man cut-out that gets destroyed.

Penny: An Asian mutant teenager who is one of the antagonists in Fear. She has the ability to inflict horrifying illusions on people that seem so realistic they feel real to her victim things like make giant bugs appear and torture her victims. Her legs were broken by Caine earlier in the series but was healed by Lana. In Fear she is described as "an evil witch" who tricked and tortured Caine in front of everyone in Perdido Beach. She later is stopped by Lana and forced to leave town at gunpoint. She meets Drake near the end of the book and they join forces alongside Gaia. She is later killed at the end of Fear by Sam and Caine.

Connie Temple: The mother of Sam Temple and Caine Soren. She was the nurse at Coates Academy before the FAYZ.

Critical reception[edit]

Reviews have generally been mixed to positive, though many note Gone's success in its intended demographic. Mal Peet, for The Guardian, pointed to the series' "rave reviews, most of them posted on websites by teenagers", though noting that such success stemmed from literary sacrifices that made characters into "crude two-dimensional digitisations".[1]

Amanda Craig, for The Times, noted that Gone was "heavily influenced by TV series such as Lost and Heroes, and described the book as "Clever but a little too predictable."[2] Jayne Howarth, for the Birmingham Post, called Gone "superb" and said she found the book "full of suspense, action and the supernatural. Think of a potent mix of Lord of the Flies, Heroes and Lost and you get an idea of the audience this will appeal to." Describing the pace of the novel as "frantic and frenetic" Howarth summed up: "This is an incredible mystery story, with twists and turns, cameos and protagonists, to keep readers engrossed... Violent in parts, Grant does not hold back at showing the feral nature of humans when faced with a world without order. Unputdownable."[3]

Dinah Hall, reviewing Lies for The Sunday Telegraph, also drew comparison with Lord of the Flies and Lost, and wrote: "While it's never going to make it on to the GCSE syllabus, it definitely has the addictive pull of a cult television series... I would sell my soul for the next instalment."[4] Toby Clements, reviewing Hunger for The Daily Telegraph, wrote: "Grant's world is hard-edged but thought-provoking, a Stephen King novel for youngsters in which the children are challenged with reshaping society while fighting off evil. Hunger ought to be required reading for any teenager who thinks adults suck."[5]

Stephen King has also praised the series, writing: "These are exciting, high-tension stories told in a driving, torrential narrative that never lets up. There are monsters, there are kids with mad-crazy super powers, there’s the mystery of where all the adults went. Most of all, there are children I can believe in and root for. This is great fiction.[6]

Television adaptation[edit]

On July 30, 2013, author Michael Grant announced that Sony Pictures Television had acquired rights to produce Gone as a TV series.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peet, Mal (April 17, 2009). "Gone: Mal Peet on the novel as Xbox". The Guardian (London). Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  2. ^ Craig, Amanda (April 4, 2009). "Save the Truffula Tree: Amanda Craig's Easter round-up will give young readers a spring in their step". The Times (London). p. 12. 
  3. ^ Howarth, Jayne (April 17, 2009). "Don't let sci-fi theme put you off reading this great novel". Birmingham Post (Birmingham). p. 8. 
  4. ^ Hall, Dinah (December 5, 2010). "Flicker like bats, slip like cats: Dinah Hall picks the best books to fill children's stockings". The Sunday Telegraph (London). p. 38. 
  5. ^ Clements, Toby (March 27, 2010). "Ancient prophecies - and a dog called Elvis". The Daily Telegraph (London). p. 27. 
  6. ^ "Blurbed By Stephen King". Stupid Blog Name. March 14, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ Michael Grant (July 30, 2013). "Tweet Number 362263828622360576". Twitter. Retrieved December 2, 2013. "(1 of 4) To all GONE fans: Sony Pictures TV @SPTV has agreed to acquire TV rights to GONE. Does not yet mean we have a TV series. But..." 

External links[edit]