I stumbled upon this Young Adult Science Fiction novel through Netflix. After binge-watching 2 seasons of the show, I decided to act on the line displayed during the introduction for each episode, “based on the novel by Kass Morgan.”
First I looked it up on the usual sites: Amazon then Barnes and Noble. The book is a trilogy and averages $8 each. Not so sure about the quality of writing, I hesitated to pull the trigger. I don’t even remember how the idea came to mind, but I ended up checking the library to see if they had it. Lo and behold, the first book was available. This series led me to rediscover the beauty that is the public library! After 10 years of being inactive, I finally got a new library card. How exciting is that??
I quickly re-learned the whole book check out process. If it’s not available in your local branch, you can request it and it will be transferred to your location for pickup at a later date. So convenient! You can also sign up for a waiting list for books or dvds that are currently checked out by other people. Through this process, I signed up for the rest of the trilogy.
I made my way home after the library trip on my lunch break the day before Thanksgiving. I finished work early and started reading. I didn’t stop until I finished. One book, one sitting, approximately 4 hours and some change.
I can’t really comment on this book without comparing it with the tv series because so much of the world this series belongs to is informed by what I initially saw.
For the most part, the characters are the same. The style is written kind of like Lost, where each person has their history and background story that the reader is exposed to through flashbacks and memories. The timeline constantly jumps from the present, on Earth, back to the space station.
The most notable thing about this and the series (I won’t make separate posts for each book) is that the characters stories are sometimes blended together for the tv show. I am increasingly fascinated with these editorial decisions (see post on Walking Dead where I also talk about this a bit) and am starting to appreciate some of these changes.
In The 100 there is a character named Glass who is in a relationship with Luke. This relationship addresses a social class issue as Glass is from the privileged social heirarchy and Luke is not. In the series, this storyline is merged with Clarke, and introduced with a new characters, Raven and Finn. The dynamic between Clarke, Raven, and Finn is some sort of amalgamation of multiple storylines. Oh yeah, and nowhere in the tv series is Bellamy a love interest of Clarke. They definitely show the struggle of trust between the two, but it is never romantic. I think this is as far as I’ll go comparing the books and the series. It becomes two difficult to show exactly how the plot and character dynamics have converged.
Let’s just say the show’s use of each characters’ storyline is much more intentional with a stronger narrative arc. The introduction of grounders and mountain men to create 3 distinct factions in the tv series is a bold and welcome move. This allows the treatment of politics in a new world to become a major driving force, as well as allow the examination of values in different cultures. This reminds me much of the effects of colonialism as well as Game Theory.
While the tv series is successful in portraying a transformation from mere teen adolescence into adulthood and true responsibility, the book series falls a little flat. Part of the reason I think this is the case is because it focuses too much on romantic relationships for my taste. Similar to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, I kept thinking “why does snogging seem to be on everyone’s mind when the Dark Lord is about to attack!” In this way, it is very much young adult fiction and I completely understand why the story is written this way – the audience.
All in all, it was an entertaining read. I am glad I borrowed the books from the library because I wouldn’t go back to read them again. Interesting plot, but I am more eager to see how WB treats the fertile ground of characters and foundational storyline that Morgan created.