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Welcome to the New Age

Mandy W. can clearly see why Kass Morgan's The 100 was destined to be a CW show.

Welcome to the New Age

BOOK REPORT for The 100 (The Hundred Book 1) by Kass Morgan

Cover Story: Haven't I Seen You Somewhere Before?
BFF Charm: Bertie Bott's Every Flavour
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Coming Soon to The CW
Bonus Factors: Life in a Space Station, Penal Colony, Earth
Relationship Status: High School Boyfriend

Cover Story: Haven't I Seen You Somewhere Before?

I'm actually fairly on board with this cover (save for the kissyface, of course), since I always dig a sleek, clean design. But there's something decidedly familiar about it...

The Deal:

Several centuries in the future, the Earth has been decimated into a radioactive wasteland (sheesh -- way to go, descendants), with humanity resorting to living in spaceships. When humankind is finally ready to reclaim the planet, they send a group of expendable scouts ahead first: one hundred juvenile delinquents that society had already given up on. For the hundred, this mission could be the fresh start that they need... if they manage to survive, that is.

BFF Charm: Bertie Bott's Every Flavour

A word of warning: the main characters all have fairly lame names. I only hesitate to flat-out call them stupid, because there are much, much worse ones in other books. (Also, have fun guessing each character's gender before it's explicitly stated.)

Clarke has all the makings of a BFF: she's smart and honourable, but I just didn't really connect with her. Girl does have some survival skills though, and she did start winning me over the longer I got to know her. I just wish I had a better sense of her personality, independent of boys or her parents.

Speaking of parental issues, Wells sure has a ton of 'em. The chancellor's son who's been exiled to Earth? He should have just painted a bullseye on himself. This character has so much potential, but I found the execution to be kind of bland. Like, Duncan Kane levels of boring. And just like Duncan, Wells does something that ensures I'll never give him a BFF charm. (But don't worry -- Wells doesn't have a sister.)

Love may be too strong a word for how I feel about Bellamy; at the very least, I like like him. Bellamy is snarky and cocky, i.e. my fictional kryptonite. He hasn't actually committed a crime (other than being too sexy), but his younger sister Octavia has. So Bellamy follows her to Earth in order to protect her -- swoooooon.

Glass manages to sneak off the earthbound transport, but her trubs are far from over. With a name like hers, it's easy to mistake Glass as being frail. Girlfriend can def. take care of herself, but I'd still like to give her a big ol' hug because reasons.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

I'm probably scoring the swoon a bit low, since it took me a while to get into the relationships. There are quite a few swoon opportunities, but the sizzle didn't kick in for me until later on in the book. And you know how I think it's super swoony of Bellamy to follow his sister to Earth? The same does not apply when someone does it because they're soooo in lurve. Because that's CRAZY intense, right? (Granted, I'm not one for grand gestures, so maybe you'll think it's romantic and not at all stalker-y.)

Talky Talk: Coming Soon to The CW

Kass Morgan has a devourable style, which makes this a quick and enjoyable read. The writing did have some minor hiccups -- like how the narration for Bellamy's perspective is peppered with "Chicks, man."-type anecdotes (like, OK already, he's popular with the ladiez, I get it) -- but nothing egregious enough to make me bail. And since the characters' backstories are so shrouded in mystery, there's a bit of "I have a secret, nyah nyah nyah boo boo!" going on. I was genuinely surprised on a few occasions, although I saw a big one coming from miles away.

Morgan also isn't afraid to veer a little darker, particularly, with Glass' story, but I don't know how that'll translate to TV. That's right -- this book already had an adaptation lined up before it was even released. (Although based on the book spoiler-y series preview, looooots of changes have been made.) And it's an absolutely perfect fit for The CW: beautiful young people, zero adult supervision, and (sigh) dreaded love triangles.

Bonus Factor: Life in a Space Station

Obvi, quality of life is greatly affected when resources are so scarce. Although one thing remains unchanged: inequality is alive and well in the future. (Yay?) The space colony is split up socioeconomically, with Clarke, Wells, and Glass belonging to wealthy Phoenix, and Bellamy and Octavia to poor Walden.*

*Oh, look -- I accidentally made a mnemonic device! Just remember PW to sort out which ship is poor or wealthy. But there's also Arcadia, another poor ship, so you're SOL for that one.

Bonus Factor: Penal Colony

So you know how the Brits used to send their convicts off to Australia? Same sort of idea, except there are no wardens, and the hundred are more like guinea pigs rather than prisoners. And I love a premise that gives characters a chance to start over and choose what type of person they want to be, à la the good parts of Lost. (Bellamy is my Sawyer, obvs.)

Bonus Factor: Earth

I will never tire of characters experiencing something ordinary-to-us for the very first time. Makes me appreciate all the things I usually take for granted, you know? But the Earth that the hundred return to is not the Earth that we know it to be...

Casting Call:

Because I am lazy it's already been done for me, I'm just going to judge the actual casting choices. Even though it seems like the TV version won't be keeping the same relationship dynamics AT ALL. 

Eliza Taylor as Clarke

She actually looks a lot closer to how I pictured Glass (and also like Kate McKinnon's lil sis). And remember how I thought Glass' plot would be tricky to adapt? Looks like The CW agrees, because Glass isn't even in the show. NBD, just one of the only main characters that I like. Sigh.

Eli Goree as Wells

So this guy was on Emily Owens M.D. -- a show that I watched for its entirety -- and yet I have no memory of him at all. Not a great sign for a character that I'd been bored with. (But also: I forget a lot of TV things. And it's hard to remember anyone else on a show with Justin Hartley and Kostas.)

Bob Morley as Bellamy

OK, I did have a better pic of this guy to use, but UGH THE HAIR. Apparently hair gel will still be in abundant supply in the future. (And I can't tell if I want the actor's name to be intentional or not.)

As for the rest of the cast, there are some familiar faces (to non-Aussies) too -- like Kelly Hu and Isaiah Washington. And most relevant to our interests (or OK, my interests) are two characters that deffo don't exist in the book.

Thomas McDonnell as Finn

From the looks of the trailer, Finn is a lot like Book!Bellamy (or at least has one of his storylines). I could work with that.

Henry Ian Cusick as Councilman Kane

HOLY SHIT DESMOND IS IN THIS. But ughhhh why won't anyone let him use his delicious accent!? And why can't HE be Bellamy instead?

Relationship Status: High School Boyfriend

This series is fun and exciting enough for me to stick around, but I'm not ready to take our relationship to the next level yet. For better or worse, I'm definitely intrigued by the personality change that seems to accompany its move to TV. We'll keep dating, but there's a long way to go before I'd settle down with it.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Little, Brown. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). The 100 is available now.

 

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Mandy Wan's photo About the Author: Residing in Edmonton, AB, Mandy unabashedly loves YA lit, frozen desserts, and terrible puns.