Everyone aged fifteen and above suddenly disappears from a giant area of land called Perdido Beach and the surrounding areas, leaving only everyone who's younger than fifteen to fight for their survival, unable to leave this spherical area, encased in a giant dome. To make things crazier, some people have started to develop strange powers, one of these people being Sam Temple, the main character, who wields the power to create light and to manipulate the heat of said light from the palms of his hands.
These books have a fairly slow and meticulous pace at times, and they jump between the perspectives of a lot of characters. These two features can make reading them slightly dull occasionally, at least from my experience, as I'll be invested in what one character is doing, yet I'll have to wait for another two chapters, sometimes, only to have what can be as little as a few pages of content from that character's perspective. That being, said, however, the books are extremely interesting. If you can look-past the fact that you might forget a few details occasionally because of the large cast and the vast amount of content within this series (around 3500 pages,) you'll most likely enjoy these books if you like the action-adventure, dystopian, young adult or mystery genres as this series definitely fits into those four genres.
The books definitely escalate in excitement as you read through them, the first one, Gone, being the book which mainly serves as a way to introduce you to the situation, to the characters, to the area, and to give you a taste of what the rest of the series will be like. You should know if you'll like the remainder of the series after reading the first book, but I'll say that you should definitely finish the first book before making that decision. 600 pages is a lot, I know, but with how in-depth and thought-out this series is, it's hard to make that judgement without seeing the full picture of at least the first book.
I'd give Gone an 8/10. There were times when reading where I was simply bored, but that's probably only because of the sheer length of the series. You can't really expect to be thoroughly enthralled for every word spanning over around 3500 pages, so you should take that occasional, light boredom with a grain of salt. Alongside that, I feel like there could be a few, small things which would make the series better, like everything, really. Overall, I'd recommend that you read this series, but you probably shouldn't if you're unable to sit and read a lot in either one or two sessions, or in a lot of tiny sessions. This is a series which I don't think you can put-down and pick-up again two weeks later.
Analysis/My thoughts (Spoilers included)
The Gone series was a great read, but there are a few things that I feel could have been better. I won't be able to put my finger on everything that I think could have been improved as it's basically impossible to remember every complaint spanning over a series of this length, but I'll try to mention as many as I can.
I'll start with the smallest complaint, something which really bugs me, but I don't think that it'll apply to everyone, that being the abundance of name-drops for brands. It genuinely makes me cringe when I'm reading and I see something like Snickers being referenced in the story. It breaks the immersion for me. There's a snippet in Gone which I randomly flicked to when making sure that I wasn't misremembering the quantity of these mentions, where five different brands are mentioned in two sentences, back-to-back. Albert even works in a McDonald's for the first two or three books. It makes it seem as if these brands have paid to have their names in the books. Alongside that, something which can be grouped-in with this complaint is the fact that song lyrics from various artists appear in the books, literally as if they've been copied and pasted from the description of a lyric video on YouTube, following the lyrics being the name of the song and the name of the artist. It breaks the immersion a lot for me. Stories like this which are supposed to make it feel as if the characters are in a different world from the real one shouldn't have these references, and even if they're mentioned once or twice to remind people that this is the real world, once or twice per book should be the maximum, not once or twice per page. Stuff like this can have its place, but I don't think that it belongs in this series, definitely to the quantity which it appears.
Now, as Sam is the main character, he's obviously going to get inflated treatment from the other characters which is going to be leaning more heavily in the positive or negative direction depending on who's giving the treatment. This makes sense, in this series, definitely, as Sam acts as the leader. What doesn't make sense, however, is the probably common trope of everyone thinking that Sam is "cute" or "hot," lots of characters having crushes on him. Brianna has a crush on Sam, Diana thinks that Sam's cute after just meeting him. It just seems as if, because he's the main character, it's important that he's attractive, that he a lot of romance options. This, like the constant mentioning of brands, just makes me cringe.
One of the features of these books is the fact that we get the perspectives of a lot of characters, something which is very interesting as we get insight into the angonists' plans and the thoughts of supporting characters. We get shown things happening instead of just being told that it's happened. I think that's brilliant, but what I don't think is brilliant is how many characters are included in the scope or perspectives which we see. A lot of these characters serve no real purpose for the development of the plot. For example, Howard doesn't do anything, really, from what I remember, so why do we see from his perspective occasionally? He's usually with Orc, regardless, so just extend Orc's sections to show us more of Howard, or don't include that at all. These useless perspectives just lengthen the books to a point where it's unnecessary, in my opinion.
My final piece of criticism is the fact that it's mentioned that Sam and Astrid have sex a lot. Why do we need to know this? Yes, they're teenagers, it's likely to happen, but WE GET VERY CLOSE TO SEEING IT AT ONE POINT. WHY? THEY'RE FIFTEEN. IT'S WEIRD. On top of that, Caine and Diana HAVE A BABY. THEY'RE ALSO FIFTEEN. I get that the baby is a major plot-point in the later books, but couldn't the baby have been replaced with another baby? If that's not possible, If it had to be newborn, why make it Caine's baby? Why not just make it so that Diana mysteriously got pregnant? Had that heppned, then it could have easily be attributed to the monster's meddling without making every reader have to think about two fifteen-year-olds having sex. It just feels really icky to have fifteen-year-olds having sex and having kids, and that's coming from someone who was fifteen when reading this series.
Overall, I really like Gone. There are a few complaints which I have, obviously, but I can look past them. I'm sure that my criticism of naming brands and including songs won't apply to everyone as it's just a preference of mine to have stuff like that absent in stories like this, and so I didn't want to rate the series too low on behalf of only things like that. After all, that stuff didn't make the reading of it any less enjoyable. The last three complaints, however, did lessen my enjoyment. It make me either feel uncomfortable, annoyed or simply bored. Had those things not been an issue, I genuinely think that I would have rated the Gone series a 9/10 at the very least.