I would not like to know what I would do if I was stuck inside a gigantic bubble and everyone over fourteen was missing. Add to that the fact that some of the kids have weird powers that are in developement. Take the main character, Sam. When trying to save a little girl who was in a burning building, shortly after the adults disappeared, she shot fire out of her hands at him, and he unintentionally sent light at her, and she died. Of course, he can’t do it on command, it happens when he’s afraid. So now we’ve got two groups: The kids and the bullies, as I like to call them. Even though Orc turns out to not be that bad a guy around the end, around the start he is a total jerk.
This review, added to the fact that Dragon lent me the book, meant that I decided to read it (and review it) sooner, rather than later. I read it this morning, finishing maybe twenty minutes ago? I read for six and a half hours, with almost no breaks. So let’s see, five hours, then a break to do some stuff, then back to reading. Pretty sweet, I could have finished around three or four novels in that time.
But I’m kinda straying from the topic aren’t I? Perdido Beach, with all it’s energy coming from a power plant. Sam’s in school and suddenly, his teacher disappears. As his friend Quinn put it, “poof”. Gone, which is probably why the book is called that. One word, that can make you think so many things, but probably not a situation that’s almost like the one where Jimmy Neutron told aliens about planet Earth, and they kidnapped the adults to sacrifice to some chicken thing. Soon, they discover that not only the teachers are gone, but anyone over fourteen. Why is a mystery. As I mentioned, the burning building thing happened, but thanks to Sam’s getting some kids to hose down the hardware store and the daycare center, they didn’t catch fire, and the building was…. saved you might say, though in the state it was in, “saved” is questionable.
All the kids gathered at the plaza, the bullies too, though they took out some chairs from the hardware store and set themselves up in the middle of the road. They also took mallets and metal bats. Astrid, the genius at the school, set off with Sam and Quinn to look for her brother, Little Pete. They found him at the power plant, and that night, when Sam accidentally made a loud noise, Little Pete started shrieking. No, it’s not normal shrieking, I mentioned weird powers didn’t I? Sam’s breathing got cut off, and he started choking. Luckily, Astrid got L.P. to calm down, by saying trigger words: Window seat. The window seat she was referring to would be the window seat in her bedroom, a place where he was always calm.
Speaking of trigger words, the ones that make him climb are “Charlie tuna”, which is the name of a cat he once followed up a tree. The powers were there before the FAYZ as they have started calling it, thanks to Howard, one of Orc’s toadies, thinking it up. It means Fallout Alley Youth Zone. And that’s what Perdido beach is called sometimes, Fallout Alley. Not having their parents around isn’t as great as they think, Quinn had a bit of a breakdown when he truly registered that his family was missing.
Not too long after everyone’s starting to settle down (and by settle down, I mean ransack the stores, steal the snacks, and do whatever they like, which is pretty much nothing), kids from Coates, a school for…. trouble children, come down, driving the cars. It probably took them awhile to accomplish this, seeing as some of the driving was rather jerky when not going straight forward. This one kid acted all humble, but took control of what was going on in the town. His name is Caine. Caine is a little freaky. You might want to run from Caine if you meet him. Luckily, he is fictional, so there isn’t any chance of that, unless for some odd reason, you suddenly develop powers like they did in the book, only, yours allow you to transport yourself into a story. Literally. And as cool as it may sound, I’m relatively sure that you’re only thinking of the pleasant parts of the story when you’re thinking about going into it.
Caine’s first demonstration that he had “the power” (that makes me think of that song by Snap!…), was when he lifted a huge cross in the church and made it fall. Cookie, one of Orc’s thugs, wasn’t fast enough to get out of the way, his arm got broken. So Caine organizes things in the town, Computer Jack (one of my favorite characters, Petey being another) was to set up a rough sort of wi-fi, Orc and Drake (a sadist) would be sheriffs. And Caine set up rules. These rules got Bette, a nice girl, killed.
Orc was the one who hit her, and caused the internal bleeding. Before she died, she made sure to ask the girl in charge of the makeshift hospital to look after her brother. That scene was so sad…. made me want to cry. Orc, who I had previously thought of as a complete, and total ass, got really bad after that. Not nasty bad, hollow bad. He started drinking beer, around six a day, and he believed that he was going to burn in hell. He hadn’t meant to kill her, and the fact that he had was obviously torturing him. That was when I felt sympathy for Orc, but it was soon distracted by Albert’s experience with a cat in the library.
He went to look something up, to describe what they had to be, if they weren’t to act like a nest full of rats, and he noticed a cat. He said “nice kitty,” and was going to go back to reading. Suddenly, the cat was on his face. After a bit of running and stuff, he lifted the book he was holding to protect himself….. and the cat came, but it was dead. And guess what people? *feels a little nauseous* It was in the book. Half out the back, half out the front, but also inside the book, binding the pages together. He showed Astrid, which is good. If he’d showed Caine, it might be thought that he had powers, and if he had powers, and he wouldn’t be useful, he might have been killed, or, as the other “mutants” at Coates had had done to them…… have his hands sealed into blocks of cement.
Caine and his group left and went to Coates because one of the boy’s fifteenth birthday was coming up. They weren’t going to wish him happy birthday, they were going to see him “poof”, to see what happened. Computer Jack had to set up his cameras and everything. And through this, they discovered that some green blob/mist thingy with teeth would appear, but use illusion to seem like something different to the person they’d come for, something they’d want to reach out to.
And guess what? Little Petey can’t just do weird shrieking mojo, nooooooo…… he can also teleport things. Once, he teleported Astrid into her bedroom when she was a little too rough with him. And around the end of the book, they discover that his teleportation power is what brought about the FAYZ. But by bringing about the FAYZ, he also saved all of their lives. The power plant was having a core meltdown, sirens blaring, and Little Petey just teleported the place to get away from the noise. Of course, he teleported everything that would be in the danger zone of a nucleur fallout, everything else…… well, we don’t know what happened to it, seeing as the kids don’t know what happened to it. For all they know, they could be a little bubble floating through space, or they could have been relocated to a completely different dimension… or something.
I like the book, not because you actually start feeling the things the characters do at certain points, but because of the characters, and the whole idea of something like that happening. As I said, there is that Jimmy Neutron thing, but that is to the situation in Gone what a pond is to a lake. It’s on a whole different scale. And in Jimmy Neutron, they weren’t locked in a bubble, and they knew where the adults were.
If I actually did stars on a consistent basis, I might say ten stars, or one hundred out of ten (or something equally ridiculous, I mean come on! One hundred out of ten?) I highly recommend this…. if you can stand a few sickening things, there isn’t anything that’s really graphic, but still, some of the things, even though only vaguely mentioned, produce vivid images. Like the… no wait, I don’t want people to potentially get sick reading my reviews, if that happens, they might not want to read them anymore. Hmm. Well in that case, I’ll just let you read it for yourselves, shall I? 😉
“My work here, is done.”