Reviewed by Oona Juutinen
Light by Michael Grant is a colourful mixture of post-apocalyptic survival story, supernatural horror, and teenage love drama. It is also the sixth and final part of a series, and should most probably not be read the way I did, with no idea of what went down in the previous books. I got frustrated after just a couple of chapters – what the hell is going on here? What is this “gaiaphage” everyone is on about? And is that even a real word?!
Half an hour of Wikipedia later it all started to make a bit more sense. The book tells the story of what its inhabitants call the Fallout Alley Youth Zone, or FAYZ – a place where one day, almost a year ago, everyone above the age of 15 just disappeared. The teens left in the area then found themselves a) separated from the rest of the world by an invisible barrier, and b) possessing superpowers. What followed was fights, famine, a killer worm plague… And some unfortunate meetings with that damn gaiaphage, a creature that wants to destroy first the FAYZ and then the rest of the world.
Light is, as the kids in the book describe it, about “the endgame” – five books’ worth of adventure and survival all coming to an end. The road to that end is paved with gore, and during the books’ numerous battles kids die left and right, or just get horribly maimed in different ways. Light is surprisingly brutal for a YA book, and the faint at heart should definitely refrain from reading it.
The Guardian called the first part of the series a “game novel” and that’s a fitting description for Light, too – the novel does feel like an action game that has just happened to take the shape of a book. So while I’m not sure if these books count as great literature, if you want to get your kid off the PlayStation and to read books instead, this series just might do the trick.
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