While I was disappointed with THE 100’s focus on melodrama, it was a hugely addictive read, and one I powered through in a single sitting. Its premise – one hundred young adults returning to Earth more than three hundred years are the planet was decimated and irradiated – was ripe with potential that wasn’t fully grasped. Every plot thread that grabbed my attention quickly dissipated into humdrum teen romance. Many readers will gravitate, and latch onto it, for this exact reason. I just wanted a little more meat on the bone.
With DAY 21, Kass Morgan delivers.
It’s impossible to delve into the plot without spoiling events from the first novel. Suffice to say, DAY 21 amps up the tension. The stakes are higher, the mysteries deepen, and its climax will make you gasp. Pacing is still an issue – relationships constantly fluctuate, which is fine, but over the course of a mere 300 pages, it feels rushed. I’d love Morgan to spend more time delving into exactly how the human survivors are coping – for all their worries and concerns, they’ve learned how to fend for themselves remarkably quickly.
After a wobbly start, DAY 21 shifts the series into a higher gear, propelling it into must-read territory. I’ll be along for the rest of this ride.
Kass Morgan’s THE 100 is brimming with potential. It has all the hallmarks of epic sci-fi: three-hundred years ago, Earth was devastated in a nuclear war, and humanity now lives on interconnected space stations referred to as the Colony. For our planet’s survivors, life isn’t easy. The space station is deteriorating. It was never a solution, always a band aid, and as our story begins, resources are running perilously low. A return to Earth is their only solution, and to test the environment, 100 teenage prisoners are sent to the planet; they are effectively guinea pigs. But their survival possibly represents humanity’s survival. The mission they have been chosen for is vital.
Cool premise, right?
Unfortunately THE 100 isn’t quite the sci-fi epic I was hoping for. Based on its blurb I was expecting LOST with teenagers; a YA spin on the classic Lord of the Flies. Something innovative. Something fresh. What I got was a teenage relationship drama set in a dystopian future; romantic shenanigans set on a devastated Earth. There are hints at what could’ve been – and what still might be – but this is a series firmly founded on melodrama rather than fully exploring its narratives potential. It tries to pack emotional punches, but some of the circumstances are far too contrived to carry real impact; relationships switch from loathe to love within a couple hundred pages. Things are just too rushed. While there are plenty of interesting developments, there is so little nuance, and so little time to absorb the impact of a character’s decision, before we shift to a new scene featuring another character. Morgan adopts plenty of flashbacks to delve into her character’s backstories, but they’re effectively cardboard cut-outs; there to play their role, rather than offer anything memorable. You will not find a Katniss Everdeen in these pages Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass don’t come close.
There’s plenty of potential for this series, and I’m willing to give it a second chance. But the pace needs to slow down for the sake of character development and making the most out of their relationships. While I powered through all 300+ pages of THE 100, very little resonated with me. Give me something to hold on to!
There are plenty of good ideas on display; part of the writing process is selecting the best ones to explore. Instead, it feels like we’ve got watered down versions of ideas with lots of potential.
I truly hope that potential is realized.