Sunday, 16 March 2014

Review: Nil by Lynne Matson

Title: Nil (Nil #1)
Author: Lynne Matson
Release date: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Format: eBook
Pages: 383

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days--to escape, or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.

Nil definitely lived up to my expectations! Filled with danger, mystery and romance, this book is a total must-read. I seriously couldn't put it down while reading, not once. Oh, and I just have to say something about that cover because doesn't it just completely draw you in? I sure hope it does, because everyone who loves sci-fi/dystopian books needs to read this one.

Charley's in the Target parking lot on an incredibly sunny afternoon, when all of a sudden a shimmering portal appears in front of her and takes her to the island of Nil. She has no idea where she is, she's naked and alone, and she has to figure out how to survive. Luckily after a few days, Charley comes across Thad, the current leader of the inhabitants of Nil City. Thad shows her the ropes, and Charley can't stop wondering how the island came about and how to get back home. Because each kid only has 365 days on the island to escape, and Thad's time is beginning to run out.

We get a dual POV - Charley's and Thad's. I think this was a great idea, because from Thad's point of view we get to see what living on the island for months has been like, while with Charley we can experience the fear, apprehension, and even wonder that she felt. I got confused sometimes between the switching, but their voices are quite clear to distinguish so there shouldn't be much trouble with that.

I found it intriguing how Thad always refers to Nil as 'she', like she's a living being out to get all of them. It made the island seem a lot more interesting, and sometimes I even believed it was a being with conscious thought, like Thad does. He believes Nil to be pure evil, and that sort of instigates his pessimism about getting off the island. That and a girl's prophecy - which I won't say any more about, because I don't want to spoil anything.

Charley's different from most female protagonists I read about in the sense that she's extremely tall, like six feet I think. Most MCs are extremely short, and I was kind of tired about reading that. So a tall MC is a nice change. She's quite self-conscious about her height, though. But she gains a lot of confidence during her time on the island. From reading this book, I could tell Charley's extremely smart, and a quick thinker. She's got a curious and open mind, and she questions everything, which leads her to find answers that no one on the island has found before. Basically, they'd all be screwed without her.

I liked Thad well enough, though his pessimism got on my nerves a little. Thad's seen people come and go, in the good and bad way. Good as in they've managed to escape the island through the gates, and bad as in they've died after 365 days. He's only seventeen, but he has a lot riding on him as leader. I liked that he takes Charley under his wing and teaches her about the island. But the insta-love between the two annoyed me. After knowing each other only a few weeks, they're suddenly in love. Though I guess that would have had to happen in such a limited time frame. I also found it weird that for a certain period of time all the two of them could think about is how hot the other is. Thankfully there wasn't too much of that, though.

There's a lot of danger throughout the novel, and deaths are inevitable. The best parts for me were when a Nil inhabitant is running towards the 'gate' to escape. You feel the pressure, your heart pounding, silently cheering them on like their friends are. And you have no idea if they make it or not, so it's pretty incredible.

I don't want to say too much about the plot because I don't want to give anything away, but let me just say there's a lot of suspense and mystery and action, and it's all just fantastic. The ending is perfect, though there was a certain thing Thad did that make me think he was really stupid. But anyway, overall I loved this book. It's so different from anything I've read before, not the premise on its own but paired with the characters and the plot threads. This is one book I'd definitely want to re-read sometime.

Rating: 4/5

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