Book review of The Hundred: Beyond expectations of dystopian novels
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By: Staff Writer Charley Hrobsky
“Maybe here in the ruins of the old world, they could start something new.” The Hundred by Kass Morgan is a book beyond the expectations other dystopian novels have set for standards. Unlike many of the young adult dystopian authors today, Morgan writes about events that many teen-agers have actually experienced in today’s world.
The history of The Hundred is a simple one: The Earth had a nuclear explosion that caused a nuclear winter, which killed off the human race. Except for the lucky few that ended up loading onto a ship and blasting off to space. This is where they live and develop their lives for 300 years. On the ship their laws are strict because of the living conditions. Anyone who has broken their laws automatically goes into their jail called Confinement. Criminals who are under 18 get a hearing on their birthdays. Recently, though, the teen-agers have all been getting released into space, their version of the death penalty, and not getting a fair trial. No one on the ship knows why, but readers soon find out later.
The plotline of The Hundred begins from Clarke’s point of view, and she is in Confinement for a crime that has to do with her parents. Readers quickly find out about the history of the ship, and how the Chancellor is going to send down 100 teen-age criminals to Earth to study the effects of Earth’s atmosphere on them through a bracelet. The Chancellor, however, is quick to inform the teen-agers that no one else on the ship is to know about the mission. When the ship is about to take off, after the Chancellor says his speech, chaos begins. Bellamy, one of the main characters, decides to run onto the drop ship and shoot the Chancellor. This leaves Wells, our third main character, scared for his dad’s life, but because of Wells being in Confinement he cannot leave the ship. Glass, another main character, gets loose from the drop ship by crawling through the interior of the ship until she gets onto the main ship. Then the ship drops down to Earth leaving the teen-agers afraid about what to do next.
Kass Morgan did an interesting way of telling the story of coming back to Earth: she writes from four point of views. Many people may say that four, or even three, point of views are too much for one book. In The Hundred it works! If The Hundred had only been written from one point of view, readers definitely would not have gotten the entire story, or even from two point of views. Kass Morgan’s characters tell the story in their dialogue and actions. This way readers can easily tell the difference when the viewpoints change.
The first character that we are introduced to in the story is Clarke. Clarke is a Phoenician, which is not from ancient times, but rather from the high-class section of the ship called Phoenix. Clarke was in training to become a doctor when she committed her crime. Next is Wells, who is the Chancellor’s own son. Wells is Clarke’s ex-boyfriend for reasons that at first is not revealed, but the tension between the two’s interactions is quickly felt. Wells’ crime has to be worse than any of the other teen-agers’ crimes because of his status, and the crime fits well. Next is Bellamy, one of the most complex characters in the book. Bellamy has a sister, which is not allowed on the ship. Because he has a sister, Octavia, he wants to get onto the dropship and be with her. He definitely does that with a flourish and bang. The last character we are introduced to is Glass. When Bellamy is getting onto the drop ship, Glass sneaks off the drop ship where she leaves to escape to her ex-boyfriend’s apartment. Glass is the only character whose point of view tells of what is happening on the ship while the other hundred are down on Earth.
Just like many books, the secondary characters stood out and contributed to the plot line. This book could not function without the two of the secondary characters: Luke and the Vice Chancellor. The Vice Chancellor works behind the scenes in The Hundred to get people killed and take power. He ends up getting Clarke into Confinement after her parent’s trials, and he also is making decisions while the Chancellor is in a coma. If that does not sound like a power hungry man, then who is? At least he wins the award for the least likable character in many people’s hearts.
Luke is Glass’ ex-boyfriend that after escaping the drop ship she goes to see. Surprise though! He currently has a girlfriend, but that does not deter Glass. She sticks around and eventually Luke and her work things out. Luke is a Waldenite, basically the Jack Dawson of the main ship. He is an engineer and has a huge part of Glass’ history that quickly reopens.
The Hundred could have easily been concluded within one book with the way that the story had been going until the last 10 pages. A plot twist was predicted about five pages before and had been confirmed without a doubt. Readers will have to continue on to reading the second book, Day 21, or watch the tv series on CW to find out what happens.