Gone is such a disturbing mix of violence, cruelty, horror, and supernatural activity that I find it surprising that it is so popular with the target audience: young adults. Are children aged under fifteen really capable of such cruelty and lack of empathy? I’m no child expert, but I shudder at the thought of such a world ruled by kids. Perhaps it is good that when we become adults, we learn that we must adhere to certain norms and rules in order to co-exist peacefully.
Not that adults do not commit atrocities, but at least there is an understanding of organization and an attempt to control chaos. Sam Temple, the reluctant protagonist, wants peace but is not willing to be a leader. Antagonists Caine Soren and Drake Mervin want it all for themselves, each dreaming about being the overlord of the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone). The result is disastrous for the children of Perdido Beach, who are lost without their parents and teachers.
The book is the first of the Gone series and ends with a hint that something happens to Pete, the autistic four-year-old (who is supposedly responsible for creating the FAYZ), after a huge chunk of plaster falls on his head. I just hope he gets better and brings things back to normal. The story is predictable because there can’t quite be any other conclusion. In between, there will probably be more gruesome things happening—food and drinking water running out, supplies getting over, and electricity dying out, with the resulting conflict.
There’s also the mysterious Darkness and the talking coyotes—I’d really like to get to the bottom of that. I want to know what happens to Drake and Orc. I also want to know what happened at the power station that caused the mutations. I want to know if Sam and Caine have a future face-off or if they join forces. Enigmas like these compel the reader to seek the next book, even if it means wading through more horrific scenes of violence.