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And She Read It, And It Was Good

Jenny waves a tearful but happy goodbye to some old friends in Michael Grant's Light.

And She Read It, And It Was Good
In my reviews of the previous books, I've already postulated about what an evil-genius-mastermind-pirate Michael Grant is. But the fact is, this author can write.

BOOK REPORT for Light by Michael Grant, the final book in the Gone series

Cover Story: Left Behind
BFF Charm: It's Raining Them!
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Michael Grant wears your guts for garters
Bonus Factors: Comic Relief, Diversity, Villains, Loyal Pet, Redemption
Relationship Status: And we lived happily ever after...

Cover Story: Left Behind

These books suffer from really terrible covers. Thankfully, that's the only terrible thing about them.

The Deal:

Spoilers for Books One, Two, Three, Four and Five in this segment.

We last left our heroes (and villains) at the now transparent wall that separates the FAYZ from the rest of the world. And just as the wall went clear, the world saw Sam using his light to burn up Penny and Gaia.

Now kids are camped at the wall, giving some pretty damaging interviews via notepads held up for reporters to read, and visiting with their parents on the other side -- even watching some tv someone set up outside the wall. Unfortunately, since they're doing that, no one's doing any work, and pretty soon everyone will be starving. Edilio, wonderful Edilio, makes a deal with Caine, gets Albert back from the island where he's been hiding with his missiles, and tries to restore some order. Meanwhile, Sam and Caine set off to face down Gaia, who is healing herself from her last run-in with him, and growing at an alarming rate...

BFF Charm: It's Raining Them!

These kids! I love each and every one of them, for all their amazing strength and all their flaws. Sam, I didn't think I could love you more. I was wrong. Edilio, you are the backbone of the whole group. Astrid, my wonderful, complicated Astrid, you really kick ass. And Brianna, you are a hero among heroes.

I could sing the praises of just about everybody, from Albert to Diana -- yes, even Diana! But I think my favorite of all is Lana. She's such a badass, with her sarcasm and toughness, yet sometimes -- like with her complicated relationships -- seems to have retained the most normal of young adult lives. Or as normal as you can get in the FAYZ, anyway.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

There's a lot of love going around in this book, and not all of it is the romantic kind, but every single bit of it is beautiful and touching and has built over the last five books, which gives it that much more gravity.

Talky Talk: Michael Grant wears your guts for garters

In my reviews of the previous books, I've already postulated about what an evil-genius-mastermind-pirate Michael Grant is. But the fact is, this author can write. The whole series is unputdownable. It is fast-paced, character AND plot driven, gruesome, thrilling, romantic, poignant and funny. After six wonderful, suspenseful, ass-kicking books, I felt like I was saying goodbye to dear friends, and Grant delivered a wrap-up that -- don't get me wrong, was still a bloodbath -- did his characters justice (even bringing back to mind some of those we lost a long time ago) and left me thoroughly happy and completely satisfied -- teary, but satisfied.

I don't normally pay attention to the author quotes on the covers of books, but Stephen King is right: This is great fiction.

Bonus Factor: Comic Relief

Thank God for the levity in this book. It broke up some of the fear and pain from the type of one-two punches and kicks to the gut it delivers. Whether it was Toto and his references to Spidey, or passages like the following, Grant's take on kid logic was hilarious.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.

Orc had memorized the verse In his head he said it "yeah" instead of "yea," but that didn't change the meaning. What it meant was, if you're scared, don't be, because God is there. That much was clear. But the next bit about a rod and a staff… as far as Orc knew, a rod was maybe a stick and a staff was, like, all the guys who worked for you. My staff.

I get the giggles every time I read that bit. Every. Single. Time.

Bonus Factor: Diversity

I know I'm just going on and on, gushing like an idiot, but one of the many things I love about these books is how the author folds in the type of race, gender and sexual orientation issues that face kids today, and does in a way that is natural -- a feat not seen enough in YA, not to mention dystopias.

Bonus Factor: Villains

Grant has given us some truly horrendous villains in this series -- from Whip Hand to Penny to the Gaiaphage. But he also explores the darkness in humankind in a way that is wonderfully thought-provoking without being preachy.

Bonus Factor: Loyal Pet

The last dog in the FAYZ -- literally.  Grant showed us a rare glimpse of his marshmallow heart with his treatment of Patrick.  Oh Patrick!  You are the best.  Really. 

Bonus Factor: Redemption

Not every person in the Fayz gets -- or even wants -- redemption, but for those that do -- let's just say I shed many a tear while reading.

Relationship Status: And we lived happily ever after...

This book and I have been through it all -- man-eating bugs, talking coyotes, flying snakes, Whip Hand -- and all without any adult supervision! But you know what? We made it. Despite our relationship starting under stressful circumstances, our love already stood against The Darkness. It will stand the test of time. And we're going to be just fine.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Katherine Tegen Books.  I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Light is available now.

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.