I’m not sure how or why I missed the debut of The 100 on the CW, but thanks to Netflix streaming, I’m DVRing season two and catching up on a season one. As of the writing of this review, I’m only three episodes into the series (not because I’m not enjoying it, but simply because there is a lot of good TV to watch these days!) and I’ve got to say the TV version is a whole lot better.
It’s one of those cases of two stories starting from the same point, but taking different paths. And maybe I should have read the book first because I kept getting distracted by the differences between the plot and the one that unfolds here. But honestly if it weren’t for the TV show, I’m not sure how long I’d have kept with the published version of The 100.
After Earth becomes a wasteland due to nuclear radiation, humanity has taken refuse on a orbiting space station. But after 300 years, things are breaking down in orbit and humanity is faced with some difficult decisions in order to survive. One solution is to send one hundred convicted juvenile offenders down to the surface of the Earth to see if it’s ready to support life again. Included in those are four of our POV characters (one remains behind on the station), all of whom had their own reasons for being put into Confinement on the station. Taking a page from Lost, we see characters in the present and then get flashbacks to the events that led to their being on the wrong side of the law.
Once down on Earth, these 100 teens (everyone is close to his or her 18th birthday) are forced to try to survive (thankfully everyone had a Earth skills class, though some clearly paid more attention than others) and give the station evidence that life can survive on the planet. Of course, being filled with teenagers there’s lot of angst and some love/lust triangles. Your mileage on each of these will probably vary. If you’re like me, you’ll end up muttering — get on with it already and let’s have some actual plot developments rather than just our heroine kissing one guy then quickly switching allegiances back to her old boyfriend, who she was mad at, but she isn’t quite so mad at any more.
Again, watching the TV show probably didn’t help because the third episode ended on a “Holy cow, I can’t believe they’re doing that!” cliffhanger that was, quite frankly, more interesting than much of what unfolded in the two-hundred or so pages I spent with this novel. The TV show also creates a lot more shades of grey to our characters and actually spends some time developing the adult characters on the station.
A lot of this book feels like it’s a prologue to a longer series. Given that the plot doesn’t necessarily conclude so much as come to a cliffhanger point (though it’s not quite as jaw-dropping or “holy cow, I’ve got to see what happens next” that episode three of the show ended on) and hope that we’ll want to come back for more. I’ll admit I enjoy most of what I read here to be curious to see what happens next for these characters, though I’m not sure the next installment will be a priority in my to-be-read pile.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.