Wednesday, December 2, 2015

5 Heart Review: Day 21 by Kass Morgan

Day 21 (The Hundred #2)
Kass Morgan

Page Count: 311

Release Date: September 16th, 2014 (hardcover)
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, FSB Media!)
Rating♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

They thought they were alone.

They were wrong.


It's been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They're the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries... or so they thought.

Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group safe after a tragic attack. Clarke strikes out in search of other colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.

In this pulse-pounding sequel to the New York Times bestseller The 100, secrets are revealed, beliefs are challenged, and relationships are tested. The hundred will struggle to survive the only way they cantogether.
Bellamy stared wide-eyed, as Clarke told him what she remembered about Mount Weather, how it was supposed to be a shelter for the U.S. government in times of crisis. "But my parents said that no one got there in time."
"Well, maybe they did," Bellamy said. "Could they have survived the Cataclysm here? By going underground?"
Clarke nodded. "And I have a feeling they never left. I think this is where the Earthborns live."

Day 21 picks up right where the distressing cliffhanger in The 100 left off, and the plot structure and narrative flow of the two books are almost identical. As with the first book, this sequel is told from the alternating third-person perspectives of Clarke, Wells, Bellamy, and Glass, and is a combination of present-day action and revealing snippets of backstory.

The biggest thing for me, personally, that has changed since I read the first book, is that I've since watched the CW television series. I just finished season 2 actually; it had me reeling for more, which is what inspired me to give the book series another try. Unfortunately, after having experienced the mastermind of the TV show, the books pale miserably in comparison. Not terrible by any means, as the journey of teenage delinquents determining the survivability of post-apocalyptic Earth is still a thrilling one, but just very, very weakly executed, when compared to the TV show.

In short, the TV show will have your jaw dropping and your heart racing at every scene; reading the books after watching the show will ruin everything for you. So I don't recommend the series if you've already seen the show.

For the most part, my quips with Day 21 are the exact same as they were in the book The 100, which I reviewed back in August: the characters are poorly developed and the writing style is highly unseasoned—it reads like a teenage fan-fiction novel that's meant to be super dramatic, but really isn't. In a purely literary sense, this series is a major disappointment. The concept of exploring Earth for the first time in over a century is amazing, but its presentation is just really lacking in Morgan's writing.

Day 21 presents the novel situation of dealing with Earthborns, or the "natives" of Earth that never left the ground during the Cataclysm (aka the nuclear disaster that sent Clarke's, Wells's, Bellamy's, and Glass's ancestors up to space as refuge in the first place). In the eyes of the Earthborns, Clarke and the other hundred aren't just foreigners from the sky... they're invaders. The mutual distrust between the two populations lead to the book's main conflicts, which are written to be shocking and suspense-ridden, but are actually just really drawn out and don't lead anywhere (unlike in the television series, where the action and suspense are immediate). While Day 21 does expose readers to darker themes, I feel like these twists and turns had the potential to be very powerful, but Morgan's mediocre writing dulls the majority of the impact of any serious or "life-changing" implications.

Add this to the fact that the characters are all equally generic and unlikable, and all the romantic relationships are incredibly shallow, and we've got ourselves a dud with Day 21. Insignificant and gratuitous romance plot lines are among my biggest book pet peeves, and they were at their mildest and most improbable in this second installment of the The 100 series, which only intensified my dissatisfaction with it further.

Pros


A consistent continuation of the first book; in style, structure, and content, the two are very similar // Plot picks up right where it left off in The 100 // New thrilling plot twists and revelations // Darker themes than the first book and more opportunity for adventure given

Cons


Most of the "shocking" revelations and plot twists are predictable, and not that potent // None of the romantic relationships seem realistic or at all complex; there are four ongoing in this book, if you count the Wells-Clarke-Bellamy "love triangle" and they're all lackluster // Most of the weaknesses in this book are identical to those in the first book, including annoying flashback scenes, constant, confusing narrative shifts, and very unimpressive writing style (read my review for that here) // Simply not as good as the TV series. Skip the books, just tune in to the CW!

Love

Bellamy shrugged. "I don't really know how to live any other way. I've always been taking care of her. It's like... we aren't born for ourselves alone. You have to take care of other people."

Verdict


While I acknowledged all the literary and stylistic shortcomings of the first book in The 100 series, I still ate it up because I was so impressed by the dystopian world-building and the dynamic plot line involving teenage delinquents exploring uncharted territory. That was before I started watching the TV show, though, and now that I have, coming back to the book series has been a cringe-filled bore. Kass Morgan really had her head in the right place when she created this entertaining YA sci-fi series, but unfortunately for her, the TV show just did a better job of bringing it to life. Day 21, the second book in series, has proven that the storyline just needed a fresh interpretation (and perhaps, a cinematic touch!) to really achieve something. My opinions are obviously completely biased due to having watched the TV show, but that doesn't stop me from recommending it wholeheartedly; on the other hand, the book series is agonizingly bland in comparison. Americanflag

5 hearts: Doesn't particularly light any of my fires; I feel indifferent about this book (x)