The 100 (The 100, book #1) by Kass Morgan (2013)
YA Fiction | Sci-Fi | Post-Apocalypse
“No one has set foot on Earth in centuries — until now.
Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents — considered expendable by society — are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission.
CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she’s haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor’s son, came to Earth for the girl he loves — but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.
Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope.”
pooled ink Review:
Right out of the gate I’m going to tell you that the book and the TV show are vastly different. That’s literally one of the most common questions so I’m going to go ahead and answer it. Although the premise is the same there are some major changes including cast changes, story changes, world changes, time changes, and more.
The TV show features a larger adult cast that changes the audience of the story to widen and appeal to both teens and adults. The show’s tone also matures taking on a more serious thread while packing in more drama and tension.
For example, the show takes on the Lord of the Flies parallels much more strongly. While in the book you see similarities to how they organize themselves for survival on earth, the show really sinks its teeth into the fear, the darkness, and the selfish anarchy that is so striking in Golding’s famous book.
Another example is how the show delves into the ship’s hierarchy, politics, and the dire countdown of the human race’s time left in space. It’s either earth or death, and either way it won’t be without great loss and painful sacrifice. While the delinquents are busy trying to understand and survive earth, the adults are scrambling back home trying to figure out how to survive their ending and take as many survivors with them as possible.
Actually, back to the Lord of the Flies comparison this ties into both settings. Although the teens face this degeneration on a more primitive level the adults must fight it with a glossier exterior dressed up in laws and procedures and science. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re stranded in a forest dancing around a fire or facing dooming data reports from the comfort of an office, it all comes down to survival of the fittest and whatever actions that entails.
So as expected The CW gluttons itself on the drama that Morgan only brushes on in her book(s), both the kind that adds to the excitement and the kind that makes us roll our eyes and pull out our phones with disinterest. So while the show does many things to improve the overall translation of the story, it also stays true to form with the network’s style choices, which to some can be a downfall. The book is quite good though and it’s easy to see how it landed a deal with a TV network. Just don’t expect it to be verbatim from the show. Like most books it takes things a bit slower preferring to spend more time on careful character development and world building.
The book is told from multiple points of view including: Clarke, Wells, Bellamy, and Glass. It’s great for the book because with such an interest in character development these alternating POVs really bring insight into the different leading characters and their contrasting walks of life.
Although most of the other characters have been altered, recast, added, or written out to better fit the show’s goals, Clarke still remains much the same at the core. She’s smart, tough, and a skilled doctor-in-training, and as such she holds a valued role within the makeshift community they form on earth, one which she tries to put to good use when it comes to order and survival. She’s a likeable character and one you won’t hesitate to put your money on.
I like the inclusion of Glass in the book because she brings a teen perspective of life aboard the ship to contrast against the teens exploring life on earth. Glass helps us glimpse what life was/is like on the ship without delaying the exciting adventure of people visiting earth for the first time in centuries. She provides a link between what’s going on aboard and what’s going on down below. Glass interacts with those left behind and wonders about her friends sent to earth.
The show changes this by eliminating Glass and filling her role as middleman by resurrecting Clarke’s mother. I personally like the inclusion of Clarke’s mother in the TV show and even though I enjoyed reading about Glass I think I prefer exchanging her for Dr. Griffin. Glass might work for the book but I feel that Clarke’s mom provides a stronger and more dynamic character with greater potential as a pivotal role.
As a YA book the cast is a pretty even spread of teen characters while the show aims for a wider audience by casting older characters. I do like how the book shows characters from such varied walks of life and how despite their pasts and differences, 100 of them all ended up on earth as lab rats and humanity’s last chance. But at the same time I like how the show chose to sacrifice some of that to broaden the world building, speed up the timeline, and heighten the serious but exhilarating tone of the story.
Was this book my favorite? No, if I’m honest then it wasn’t. But it was a really interesting idea that kept me pondering. I can’t decide if I’ll read the whole series or not (although to be fair I only watched the first season of the show before getting distracted by other shows on Netflix…hmm I should revisit it) but I don’t regret swinging by the library to read this first installment.
It’s a solid premise for a good science fiction series. There’s action, romance, trauma, drama, betrayal, and every other element for a captivating adventure. The only thing holding me back I think from really diving into the series is a) I watched the show before I read the book which has inadvertently skewed my view on the story and where it’s going and b) I’ve recently felt in the mood for…not sci-fi or gah anything really. I’m in a bit of a reading slump right now if I’m honest so I might revisit this when I’m back on a sci-fi binge. Who knows 😉
The 100 presents a story that you won’t be quick to forget. Packed with all the explosive elements for a successful mission it unravels in chaos set loose by delinquents given a long awaited taste of freedom, on earth no less. As a thrilling YA sci-fi this book won’t disappoint once you’ve had a taste.
Meet Kass Morgan!
Kass Morgan studied literature at Brown and Oxford, and now resides in Brooklyn, where she lives in constant fear of her Ikea bookcase collapsing and burying her under a mound of science fiction and Victorian novels.