After the Hunger, the Lies… The Plague, the Fear. After a world plunged into darkness & chaos, finally comes the LIGHT…
SPOILERS FOR BOOKS 1-5 HERE!!!
Light is book 6 in Michael Grant’s chronicles of the FAYZ, a series which began with the explosive Gone. For those of you who don’t already know, the FAYZ is short for Fallout Alley Youth Zone, a name used to describe a small town in California where one day, every over the age of 15 simply disappears. Gone, without a trace. Those left behind in Perdido Beach run riot, as only kids without adults can, but it soon becomes clear that everything is darker than it seems. The town is trapped under a massive, opaque dome, the epicentre of which hinges on the town Nuclear Power Plant, & soon certain individuals begin to develop strange superpowers. Battles rage, leaders rise & the children of the FAYZ soon find that a world without adults isn’t just one long party. The series focus on several characters, the most notable being Sam Temple, a (now) 15 year old boy & reluctant hero of the largest groups of children, who also possess the ability to fire a deadly green light from his hands. The leader of the other main group, the arrogant & preening King Caine Soren, is cast as the classic bad-guy role, but is also Sam’s twin brother, separated at birth. The two brothers war often, but as the books have progressed, a bigger fight has begun to emerge, & the secrets of the FAYZ have started to bubble to the surface. It seems a mysterious force from another world, the malevolent Giaphage is responsible for the powers gifted to these young people, & the FAYZ is the defence system of one incredibly powerful autistic boy, Peter Ellison. Little Pete isn’t in a physical body anymore though, but his presence is still felt throughout the world he created. In Fear, the dome went black, & at the end, it became clear, & the residents of the FAYZ could see the outside world again, & the outside world could see them at long last. It all seems like it’s coming to an end, but who will this people be when they get outside again? Many have become alcoholics, drug addicts… and murderers. How can the world comprehend what they’ve been forced to do?
But the fight isn’t over yet. The Giaphage has plans that reach beyond the FAYZ, beyond it all…
Michael Grant’s GONE series has been one of my favourite Teen/YA series for a very long time. Expertly blending Science Fiction Mystery, with a sense of Comic Book Action, & a healthy dollop of gore drenched horror to boot, it’s always been relentless & fast paced. Light is no exception to that premise, & works brilliantly to build this world’s grandiose mythology & back story to a full, action packed conclusion. Be warned, Grant pulls no punches, & some of your favourite characters will most likely snuff it, & it will be sudden, quick & brutal. I cried at one point, I’ll admit, when a certain character went down. I’ve been fascinated from book one with the ongoing struggle, not between the children, but between the unknowable extraterrestrial entity (The Giaphage) & his Nemesis, the unemotional & omnipotent Little Pete, & this sense of terrifying unimaginable power really comes to a head in this book. The growth of each character is really well examined as well, & many “Bad Guys” get an opportunity to show that they’re really just scared kids who made some bad decisions. Some of the developments on maturity are really quite striking & bravely written too. Sam & Astrid’s relationship is maturing in a very positive way, & I think they’re a great role model to young teenage couples. Diana & Caine explore more of the idea of being “all they deserve”, & this story line is a really bittersweet analysis of how feelings develop over time in hard situations. The continued exploration of stoic Dekka’s sexuality is handled touchingly, without making too much a major issue out of it, but also treating it with the respect it deserves. We’ve gotten so attached to these characters…
I think, as a conclusion piece to such a tense series, Light does exceptionally in wrapping up all the loose ends, & the ending really answers every question we would have had left to ask. Drake is just as mean as ever, Astrid just a brilliant, & the FAYZ is just as crazy, but everything is drenched in a morose sense of anticipation. End Game is coming, the final fight is ready, and it can be felt in the air. The book is set over an amazingly short time frame, winding the sense of action & pacing to an unimaginable level, bringing tension to ceiling level, & making fight scenes seem almost lightning fast in their violent brutality.
That’s all I can say without spoiling too much! The book is published tomorrow in the UK (March 28th) & is a stunning hardback, featuring a lightning bolt motif in white on black page edging. An exclusive to Waterstones, the limited first few hundred copies will be signed by Michael Grant too, & it’s set to be the Book of the Month in Waterstones Children’s sections for April!
I’d like to thank the people at Egmont & Electric Monkey, as well as the brilliant Children’s Buying Team at Waterstones head office for getting me a proof of this so early, I was over the moon! Seriously, I did a little dance on the shop floor.
I’d also like to thank Michael Grant for creating a great, gripping read that has helped get a lot of kids into reading again.