Review: Nil by Lynne Matson
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Survival
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Expected Publication: March 4, 2014
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.
*Copy reviewed through edelweiss. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.
I've thought long and had how I wanted to start off this review. Despite all my best efforts, I don't think I can do any sort of proper introduction justice without just reverting to the Nil fan girl that I am (aka professing my love for this book excitedly while accompanied by many exaggerated hand movements) so instead I'm just going to jump right in and talk a bit about what I thought made this book so great.
One of the best parts about Nil was how gripping the story was. Every page left me wanting to know more about this mysterious island and the unfortunate souls who ended up being trapped on it. Nil was an extremely engrossing book that kept me guessing until the last moment what direction the story would take.
The character Charley was just an amazing female lead. She was goofy, awkward,optimistic and had her wits about her. I loved her and Thad together and was really rooting for them as a couple even if they didn't always see eye to eye when it came to the Island. Speaking of Thad he was great because he wasn't some tortured bad boy seeking redemption or some jock who saw the error of his ways once he met good girl Charley. No, he was just a guy who like the other stranded survivors was in the right place at the wrong time and is making the best out of the cards that have been dealt to him.
Lastly, I really enjoyed the pulse pounding action. While the story did have moments of calm and quiet for the most part it was a race for survival. These kids knew they were on borrowed time and made the most of everyday knowing that it could be their last. In fact, for a few it was.
Now although I ultimately really loved Nil it was the ending that kept this story from being the 5 star read it truly deserved to be. No matter which way you dice it the ending to Nil was rushed and unsatisfying. None of the burning questions I had about the Island or its origins were answered. Several reunions happen off page that should've been key moments seen in the story. Then to top it off Charley slides into a deep depression (which is understandable all things considered) but oh no, rather than show her battling her emotions and crawling back from the brink of despair to save those she left behind the story is instead wrapped up quickly in a nice little bow. That's it, The End. It was super frustrating and I really cannot understand how the Author can justify this ending after such an amazing build up. It just baffles my mind. If I'm being completely honest It felt almost like I was reading an ending written by a completely separate Author or perhaps ghostwriter that had been mashed onto the end of the story to form what they hoped would be a semi cohesive piece.
Nil by Lynne Matson was a wonderfully written (well at least 97% of it was) and imaginative debut. However,I highly believe Nil would benefit greatly from a sequel instead of staying as a stand alone. I really, let me stress really, hope the Author reconsiders this fact. Nil (in this readers opinion) is too great an idea to be left as is. Even a companion which the Author mentioned as a possibility wouldn't give this story the ending and exploration it rightly deserves. Due to this fact coupled with my deep disappointment I have no choice but to rate Nil by Lynne Matson ★★★★.
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