Gone: Light by Michael Grant – Book Review [Bane of Kings]
Bane of Kings shares his thoughts on the conclusion to the epic YA series, entitled Light, published by Egmont Books and written by Michael Grant.
“A satisfying conclusion to what has been an epic series. You won’t be able to put it down.” ~The Founding Fields
Warning! As this is a conclusion to a series, there may spoilers for previous novels and this review presumes that the reader has read all previous novels in the series.
So, this is it, ladies and gentlemen. The finale. Sam, Caine, Drake, Astrid, Little Pete – the characters that we’ve grown to care for and despise have all been leading to the final moment. We’ve followed them through the initial stages of discovering that all the adults had vanished in Gone, battling food problems in their isolated world in Hunger, dealing with treachery and falsetruths in Lies, and in the penultimate book, dealing with Fear. So what could be worse? What could Michael Grant bring to the table that he hasn’t thrown at the poor kids of Perdido Beach already, and make it seem believable within his universe? As it turns out, fans of the previous books already know the answer. Gaia. Diana and Caine’s daughter, the first baby in the FAYZ. She’s far more than your average birth though (for adult fans looking for a comparison, think Melisandre’s shadow-figure that she gave birth to in Garden of Bones from the second Season of Game of Thrones), and poses a threat that could spell the end for the inhabitants of the book. But whilst it may deliver on scale, did Light prove an epic conclusion to the series that some of us (like myself) have been following since the beginning? In short, yes. Oh, hell yes. Michael Grant steps up and knocks the ball out of the park for an incredible finale to one of my favourite YA Series, that with this novel, makes it onto the list of my favourite YA books of all time.
It’s been more than a year since every person over the age of fifteen disappeared from the town of Perdido Beach, California. In that time, countless battles have been fought: Battles against hunger and lies and plagues and worse, battles of good against evil, and kid against kid. Allegiances have been won, lost, betrayed, and won again; ideologies have been shattered and created anew, and the kids of the FAYZ have begun to believe that their new society is the only life they’ll ever know. But now that the Darkness has found a way to be reborn, the tenuous existence they‘ve established is likely to be shattered for good. Will the kids of Perdido Beach even survive?
Light, the sixth and final book in the New York Times bestselling Gone series (which has spanned more than 3,000 pages!) asks as many profound and provocative questions as it answers, while bestselling mastermind and author Michael Grant creates an unforgettable, arresting conclusion that readers won’t able to stop talking about.
Let’s get this out of the way first. Grant has been no stranger to killing off characters, and that of course means that some will inevitably bite the bullet in Light. Some favourites, even, some people who you think might make it through. The unpredictability that we’ve gotten used to in the previous books continues here, and Grant builds up to a conclusion that is immensely satisfying, and unforgettable. I’m not going to go into spoilers here, but rest assured – you’ll want to be in the know for this one.
The characters here have changed, changed again, and have grown to the point where they are virtually unrecognisable from where they were at the start of the series. Every. Single. Character has undergone this transformation, and that’s saying something – because over the course of the series, Grant’s included a vast cast of characters that’s grown so big that I can’t name them all of the top of my head. But rest assured, the ones that everybody cares about – Sam, Caine, Diana, Astrid, etc – they all undergo some massive character development not just in this book but throughout the entire series. If you compared any one of them from who they were at the beginning of the series, you’d struggle to find many similarities. Sure, the basics may still be there, but everything’s changed, and the resident status quo has switched multiple times. It’s everything a good, six-book series should be, and I hope other YA writers follow in Grant’s footsteps with his ability to make the reader invested in the characters if we haven’t quite yet cared about them already. Sure, whilst plot idea may be unrealistic, his characters certainly are, with one of the most multi-cultured series that I’ve come across (I think it probably might be the most multi-cultured series that I’ve come across in YA), with characters from all angles of society. The fact that he manages to give them all a decent amount of page-time and not push aside certain characters is exactly why he’s shown himself to be such an awesome writer.
If you’ve wondered about the fate that lies in store for the characters after the events of the series, then rest assured, you need not worry. There’s Aftermath Chapters, which readers have been practically begging for ever since Book One ended. Do our characters survive, though? That’s what I’m going to leave up to you for discover. Everything is handled well though. There’s plenty of twists and turns, and the outcome really does leave you thinking about what life will be like for those that survive now, and how it will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Now that the FAYZ is done, I can look forward to where Grant takes his BZRK series, which reminds me that I need to look out for BZRK: Reloaded when I can. On a side note, I should point out that whilst I’ve been reviewing a lot of high scores lately, I really do think that these books deserve it. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson was incredible, as was Chris F. Holm’s The Big Reap and The Tyrant’s Law by Daniel Abraham. I am on a really awesome book run at the moment, and if you’ll look at my Goodreads User Challenge, then you can see just how many books I’ve enjoyed recently. On the first page, there’s only one book that I didn’t like.