Title: Lies Author: Michael Grant Rating: 3.5 Stars My Review Ok, to start I want to warn you that this review will contain spoilers. I usually like to avoid them but when you''re 2000 pages and 4 books into a 6 books series, that''s kind of...
Author: Michael Grant
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Ok, to start I want to warn you that this review will contain spoilers. I usually like to avoid them but when you''re 2000 pages and 4 books into a 6 books series, that''s kind of hard to do. So don''t say that I didn''t warn you.
Where do I begin with this story? You may wonder why I gave it 3.5 stars rather than 4 stars. I will be more specific about this later, but I think that generally I felt somewhat less enthusiasm for this installment than the prior three. Now, on to specifics...
As with the first three, I find Mr. Grant to be incredibly brave. It''s obvious that he''s written these stories the way that he wanted to do so, and not according to any of the proscribed theories of "how to succeed" in writing. Those theories including things like, "ya readers won''t read more than 100,000 words," and, "ya readers want 1st person POV like Bella...not multi-POV," and, "you have to keep the number of characters to a minimum to avoid confusion."
Now, as a ya writer, I''ve heard these dictates directed at me as if they came from on high, and seeing as I have not yet snagged an agent with my stories (which defy the dictates as well), I have a tendency to be swayed. But no more! Mr. Grant has shown that you can write a captivating and POPULAR story that includes a whole gol-danged mess of goings on! Good Lord a''Mighty at times it''s even too much for me and I like that sort of thing.
The other thing that makes him brave, IMHO, is that he is willing to explore so many themes at once: us vs them (Freaks vs Normals, Whites vs. Minorities, Rich vs. Poor), God vs. Evil, right vs. wrong, and working together vs. going it alone. His bravery is what makes this such a complicated and layered story. On the surface, it''s Lord of the Flies meets Marvel, (as I said about Gone) but beneath the surface there are more themes running together than I may have encountered in any other single story. And yes, it is a single story. There are consistent elements, the most central of which are Sam, Astrid, Little Pete, Edilio, Albert, Mary, Dahra, Brianna, Dekka, Jack, Orc, Howard, Lana, Caine, Diana, Drake, and the Gaiaphage. "WOW!" I hear you cry (if you haven''t read the others yet). "THAT''S the cast?" No, that''s the CENTRAL cast, peeps. There are many, many, many, many other characters. Pack Leader, for example (How do you make a talking coyote a character? Ask Mr. Grant) If I were to list all the characters, I''d run out of room on my blog.
Even so, the central story is based in the phenomenon known as the FAYZ. How do they all survive (hopefully without killing each other) until the FAYZ is ended? What if it doesn''t end? And where does the Gaiaphage come into it?
In LIES, you think that the Gaiaphage was destroyed in Hunger (silly you!), only to find out it''s come back strong and is using deception to manipulate the children of the FAYZ. Due to Albert''s overwhelming (if also selfishly driven) sense of organization, a self-sufficient FAYZ society has emerged from Hunger. Caine and his cohort have been banished (essentially) to Coates where they are steadily starving. Sam and the rest of the children of the FAYZ are living off the farmed, hunted, and fished foods provided by some of the children...and a market using currency invented and named after Albert (`Bertos) has emerged. All seems to be well, if abnormal, in the FAYZ.
But of course, it''s not. It''s all about the LIES.
The Gaiaphage has survived and is wreaking all kinds of havoc. It''s created (with Little Pete''s unknowing help and supposed-to-be non-functional Game Boy) a girl named Nerezza who manipulates the Dreamwalker, Orsay, into convincing children that the "poof" at fifteen will return them to the former world and the loving arms of their parents. It also manages to raise Drake from the dead using Brittany''s broken body.
At the same time, Zil and his idiotic and zealous "Human Crew" are still making trouble and looking to make more.
What I liked about LIES was the action, the new characters, the lost characters, the changing characters, and the basic 15 layer cake with a gooey, evil, green center (the Gaiaphage).
What make me hold back a star or two was the 15 layer cake with a gooey, evil green center. Huh? Well, let me tell you that even I find it hard to keep up with all the characters and Grant is NOT holding back in adding (and killing) more of them. And he switches POVs MUCH more often and casually than in prior books, so you definitely head-hop a TON.
There is a new group of characters that are revealed to be living on an island off the coast in the home of the super-rich former movie star couple that adopted them. The rip from Brangelina was definitely tongue-in-cheek, but also so direct that it was kind of an eye-roller. That being said, I loved Sanjit and Choo (Wisdom and Virtue). They were really enjoyable additions.
Also, there was drama between Sam and Astrid that seemed a little...overwrought. Then again, you''d expect everyone to have mentally broken by now so it''s not implausible that Sam would break down and that Astrid would drive him away, but I found it a little tiring, given everything else that was going on. It''s like the constant state of imminent disaster is so exhausting that I don''t have the energy for romantic teen drama at the same time.
Of course, I can''t say that I didn''t soak LIES up like a sponge, because I did. The ending was well done and made me excited for the next one (which I''ve already read...review coming soon), and I continue to like the carefully wrought chaos of this story.
One thing I''d like to add. Stephen King loves these books, and this may give those of you who are not into horror pause. I''m not a horror buff, but I like a good story. Does this qualify as horror? Not directly. Does it have horrifying elements? YES. There is a ton of violence and darkness and fear. And all the people suffering this terror and darkness and death are children. Prior to the popularity of the Hunger Games, I might have warned readers more heavily, but given that fact...this should be an enjoyable read for all but the most sensitive of readers (no disparagement...violence isn''t for everyone).
I still highly recommend this series. It''s so incredibly imaginative that I am eager to see how Mr. Grant ties it all up in a pretty bow at the end. It will be quite the undertaking, but unlike my prior worries, I no longer think that he won''t be able to pull it off.