Published by Macmillan on March 4th 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, General, Love & Romance, Science Fiction, Survival Stories, Young Adult
On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have 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 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 she has to find a way to beat the clock, and quickly, in this thrilling debut novel by Lynne Matson.
Walking in the target parking lot has never been treacherous—that is until the ground blurs beneath Charley Crowder’s feet and a monstrous heat bears down on her. When she wakes up, she is laying in the middle of a blood red field completely naked. On her own, the island is mysterious and dangerous, but with the help of the citizens of Nil City, she will fight even harder to survive. But the island of Nil is full of secrets, but with the help of Thad, her island guide, cracking the code could be possible.
So, of course, after going to a book signing I always end up coming home with more books than expected. This was one of those books. I’ve been reviewing most of the books that I got signed at the Southeast Summer Book Bash, and even though I had only read one author’s book, I’m glad I gave this book a chance. I thought I knew what to expect when I picked up Nil and started reading, but I was wrong. Where it did have the island scene that I had expected, there was a different feel to Nil Island than your regular island. For instance, there were a lot of cats, which threw me off at first because I didn’t expect a tuxedo cat to make the list of characters. If you’re looking for an outside the box read, this would be one to pick up.
I don’t know if anyone remembers this show or not, but Nil reminded me of the show Flight 29 Down that used to come on Discovery Kids. I tried to use this comparison while reading the book and the person had no idea what I was talking about. Basically, the show is about a bunch of kids getting stuck on an island, there were no adults, and they all fought to survive with limited resources. Unlike the show, however, Nil almost acted as a separate character. I haven’t read the second book in the trilogy yet, but Lynne Matson added Nil chapters to the book. In Nil, Charley and Thad are the only ones with a voice, and I only learned how devious Nil was through Thad’s neurotic thoughts. It will be interesting to learn what the island is thinking, watching the kids fight for survival.
There wasn’t as much action in the book as I had expected. When each character’s time was up, since they only had a year to find his or her way back home, he or she would go off on their own or try and catch a gate. Whereas trying to beat the clock did have exciting moments, the island played more mind games than physical ones. Every now and then a large cat or beast was mentioned, but the characters didn’t have run ins with them as much as I would have expected. That being said, I definitely can’t imagine this book being a stand alone, because I have so many questions about the island that haven’t been answered yet.
Of course Matson included a love interest, the only difference being that the characters had a very specific time frame. Unlike when sickness looms over the characters’ heads, they knew exactly when their time expired. It drove me crazy—in a good way—at the end not knowing if all would end well. Matson did not promise the happily-ever-after, and towards the end I couldn’t put it down.
Science fiction, love, and mystery, Nil has it all.