Book Review: The 100 by Kass Morgan / TV Review: The 100 Series Premiere

The 100 by Kass Morgan
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Scifi
ISBN: 978-0316234474
Source: Library & Bought
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In the future, humans live in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth’s toxic atmosphere. No one knows when, or even if, the long-abandoned planet will be habitable again. But faced with dwindling resources and a growing populace, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland… before it’s too late.

Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents are being sent on a high-stakes mission to recolonize Earth. After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet they’ve only seen from space. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. But they’re haunted by their past and uncertain about the future. To survive, they must learn to trust – and even love – again.

The 100 was good. It could have been great. It could have been amazing. It had the potential to be really compelling. Hmmm…where to start…

The characters. The story is told through four POVs. Wells, Bellamy, Clarke, and Glass. I loved the Glass POV because she is our connection to what’s happening back in space. I loved following Wells, the son of the Chancellor – the man who ordered the one hundred to earth. Clearly, Wells is not very popular with the teen convicts.

Then there’s Clarke and Bellamy. Bellamy is an anomaly since 1) he’s not a convict and 2) he has a sister and in this society, parents are only allowed to have one child. Conservation = survival in space. Then there’s Clarke. Love interest to Wells and later down the line Bellamy it seems. Between Clarke and Bellamy, I really think one of these two POVs could have been cut and their stories could have still been told well through the POV of Wells and whoever would be the winning POV of the two.

I’m a fan of multiple POV but there’s an art to it. I felt like not a lot happened in this book and part of what contributed to this problem was having four solid POVs and stretching out a decent story instead of having three amazing POVs and telling a fascinating story by moving the story along.

The relationships are all dynamic and intriguing but need more conflict. They don’t really go anywhere because so much of the book consists of flashbacks introducing these relationships so there’s no time to build them up from where they currently are.

What makes this book so compelling is in fact not fleshed out but instead rushed through. In the book, BEGINNING OF SPOILER ALERT one of the characters is almost raped, there’s a miscarriage, there’s a mother who almost kills her daughter and ends up committing suicide, and there’s drug addiction. END OF SPOILER ALERT.

All of these elements are rushed through. Where’s the grief? Where’s the anger? The only anger I’m getting is the anger from Clarke towards Wells. The emotions of the other characters, the arcs seem incomplete. Yes, this is a series but for a book to stand strong on its own and for the first book in a series to encourage me to read more, it needs to have some heart.

The book has all of the right ingredients but it uses too much of one, doesn’t use enough of another, and the end result is potential for greatness instead of simply greatness. The groundwork of the characters is solid but the characters are still a bit dry. The relationships have strong themes, for example, sacrifice but I don’t feel like I was made to care why certain sacrifices were and when I did care, there was that lack I’ve been talking about. There’s a difference between anticipating something that you’ll get in the second or third book of a series and expecting something that should be in every book of a series.

Loved the concept. What a fascinating story about love and living, survival of the fittest and honesty and trust. So so much. Most of all, a story that while fluid as it is needs to have a bit more depth so it really goes somewhere and even before it gets there feels full. Which brings us to The CW adaptation that takes the ending of The 100 and essentially makes it the inciting incident…

Photo Credit: Cate Cameron/The CW

Thoughts on The CW Adaptation:

The 100 recently premiered on The CW and after viewing the first two episodes of the show, I can say that I will definitely be watching again.

As with most shows on The CW, the first few episodes are full of cheesiness – which I’d never let slide on another network but for some reason I’ve accepted this on The CW and, and, and it’s also quite clear that the cast is still getting to know each other so the chemistry essentially is lacking big time. Can’t fault the actors for still feeling each other out in the first few episodes. As long as the lack of chemistry isn’t cringeworthy and it’s clear that they’re working on it, I can forgive this lack for the first few episodes of any series.

So when the cheese fades and the chemistry grows, I’m sure this will be one killer show for The CW. I absolutely love the changes that have been made for the TV adaptation. Even though it seems like Glass, one of the four POVs we follow in the book has been cut but it makes sense to me why the writers chose to do this and instead make who we follow on the spaceships the adults. I like that balance. It’s unclear if Glass will be written into the show in future episodes as an adapted version of herself but I’d rather her character be completely cut than reworked as much as it would have to be now.

The main change from the book to the TV series is the pacing. Thank God the pacing was pushed to the max. Just as it should be. I love it. Bravo, The CW. Bravo. I can tell the writing team really took their time planning how to best adapt this book and they are doing a marvelous job. That said, the way it’s been done, after the first few episodes, this show will really turn into its own animal. So I am very excited about where the show is going. If it’s smart, it could end up being like a young adult version of Stargate Universe. Talk about compelling. To recap…love the show. You should watch too.

The 100 by Kass Morgan is available now.

Watch The 100 Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW.