Start with one part William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Everyone’s gone except for the kids. No one over the age of 14 is left in the FAYZ (Fallout Youth Zone). There are no teachers, no doctors, no police and no parents. Also gone are the internet, phones and television. There is no way of finding out what happened, and no way to get help from the outside. Who will take care of the younger children? How will they feed everyone? Who will be in charge?
Add one part Stephen King’s Under the Dome. As the teens get older, they start exhibiting new powers- some helpful, some dangerous, some deadly. Deceased children reappear among the living. Animals mutate. A highly contagious and fatal pestilence spreads like wildfire. And, let’s not forget the rapacious insects that begin to terrorize the FAYZ.
Stir in with one part Star Wars and a dash of Heroes, X-men, Survivor and Lost, and you have Michael Grant’s Gone series. Underneath the FAYZ is a creature known as The Darkness. It summons some of the teens, maneuvering them like pieces on a chess board, using their fear to control them.
The Gone series is extraordinary. It’s thrilling, addictive, fast placed and unpredictable. This series is one that kept me reading into the wee hours of the morning. Yes, it’s a long series (six books), but it’s shorter than the Harry Potter books. Heroes, villains, morphing animals, mutants, monsters and no adults-what’s not to love?