Book Review – The Light by Michael Grant

Title: The Light

Author:  Michael Grant

Format: Hardback

Written/Published: 2013

Way back at the beginning of this blog one of the first few books I reviewed was a book called Fear by Michael Grant.  It was the fifth book in the six book series and I found that it had put a very rotten taste in my mouth.  That rotten taste is still there with some of the dark and disturbing imagery impossible to remove or forget no matter how much I try to.  Yet, despite it all having been through that horridly difficult book I had to see the series to the end.  I had to know how the FAYZ ended and who walked out alive and who didn’t.  In some ways it is a compulsion, and so when I realized the book was out and in the library I picked it up.

With a deep breath I opened the book and started to read hoping I would not have to trudge through the same horrors that I did before.  I wasn’t worried about the formatting which was another issue I had with Fear I just didn’t want to be left with more gruesome imagery at least not more of the kind that actually gets to me. (Yes the book was gruesome filled with a lot of death and destruction but it didn’t get to me as much as what was contained in Fear).

When I started the book Fear I was annoyed right off as Michael seemed to be going for something new and wiring the perspective of two people in the same scene at once it was confusing and annoying as I was trying to read and re-read to figure out if the thoughts and words belonged to the character Gaia or Diana.  Then things went to ‘normal’ and the book read like all the other books read where I was turning the next page wanting to know what would happened next horrified at the death of some and hoping for the death of other character.  There were moments where I was disturbed by this book particularly when it came to the character Alex but it was fortunate that his parts were not long or prevalent like the disturbing moments in Fear were.

In all, the book was a quick read for me despite being a little over 400 pages long.  It was hard to put down as I wanted to know who lived and who died and a lot of people died I will tell you that!  I found myself caring for some of the characters again rather than being put off by them and the last character I thought I would ever find myself concerned over was the one I hated to see go the most.  So, despite my complaints, Michael Grant can be a decent author – I mean of his seven books I’ve read, only two can I say I loathed.  Those are some pretty good odds in my opinion!

Thus I will give this last and final book a three page rating.  Some of you may notice that this is the same rating I gave Fear which I loathed but I will admit at the time I was much more generous with my ratings and if I could go back and re-rate fear I would give it a solid two placing The Light clearly above it.

As to the series as a whole considering I mentioned how I recommended in the past to others, might still recommend it but caution people that it can get very dark and gruesome.  If I were to rate the whole story from the first book Gone to the last The Light I would give it a three page rating, it had the potential to be a four page series but Fear just really drags it down that much.

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Book Review – Fear by Michael Grant

Title: Fear
Author: Michael Grant
Format: Hardback
Written: 2012
Published: 2012

This is the fifth book in a six book series best known as the ‘Gone Series,’ as the first book is titled Gone. The basic concept and premise of the series, is a world where everyone over the age of 14 disappears and children have to figure out a way to survive as they discover that some among them have something akin to super powers. It is a rather gripping, yet dark and gritty premise that has had a lot of potential that Grant fully plays with, and it was what drew me into the series. A simple quick way to describe the series is: “Lord of the Flies meets Steven King”. I know a lot of people were not fond of “Lord of the Flies” but Gone is still a worthy book to read in my opinion, particularly if you are a fan of Steven King, as Grant’s story tends to follow the unreal as King does.

With all of Grants books in the series, the title has a lot to do with the major issue of the books, this one titled Fear has to do chiefly with just that, and is exceptionally dark and gritty. To be honest, in some ways I feel it was almost too dark for a book that is produced and marketed for young adults. I certainly don’t believe in pampering and dumbing things down for those in the young adult age group and certainly the characters of the novel are in that age range, but being forced to grow up in a world with no adults makes the children in the books act much older, and the ideas and concepts found in the novel are quite heavy. In addition to much older concepts and issues being dealt with, the violence which I have come to expect from Grant was a little extreme even for me. When it comes to reading I’m usually okay with graphic and ugly imagery, but this was a little more than I cared to handle.

Over all, I think Fear was something of a disappointment for me; I had looked forward to the book for some time, and expected that I would find myself incapable of putting it down like the books prior to it, but that wasn’t the case. I had to stop due to the gruesome pictures, only able to handle it a little at a time. The beginning pace was a little slow as well. There was a lot of set up for this novel that wasn’t really present in the previous novels. In addition to this, instead of spending the entire time with the main characters, there are moments throughout the book with people who are outside of the main story arch, which I quite honestly felt like skipping over as I felt it had little to do with the main plot of the novel. Quite honestly, those chapters could have been left out entirely and the story would remain the same in my opinion, as I would not be lost having not read them. It is possible that these chapters were in the book because the characters introduced in them will play an important role in the last book, which as a writer I understand this, but as a reader was bored by it.

In the end Gone, the first book of the series, is and has been a book I recommend, but Fear causes me to call those past recommendations into question. For a person who has already started the series, I would say Fear is a worthy read simply to progress the story line further, outside of that I would not recommend Fear and thus I am forced to give the book a three page review, chiefly because I like the series as a whole, and the book did have it’s interesting moments.

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