Author: Lynne Matson
Publish Date: March 4th, 2014
Number of Pages: 374
Genre: YA, Romance, Adventure
On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. 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 lying 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 to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.
^^That right there is my reaction to this book.
Warning: This review will use a lot of sarcasm, snarkiness, and two censored swear words.
Nil had such a promising premise. It sounded thrilling, dangerous, something that would have me turning the pages as fast as I could.
On the contrary, it was the complete opposite.
On Nil, victims have 365 years to get off of the island or else they die. No if, and, or, buts about it. It sounds exciting right?
It became a f*cking island vacation romance. It’s like if you mixed together The Lord of the Flies and Lost and then took out all of the suspense and angsty deaths.
There was no sense of urgency. There was a noticeable lack of suspense that this book really needed. They have 365 days to get the h*ll off of that really really dangerous island and they lack the motivation. The forest is filled with dangerous animals like panthers, bears, tigers, etc. I thought the system that they used was good though. It showed how they were willing to work together to help send their friends home.
“Oh! We’re stuck on an island! Oh no! We’re going to die if we don’t hurry up and try to get out!”
*Puts off finding a gate home until there’s a month left*
“Oh no! I have a day left! I can’t find one!”
And they wonder why they can’t get off the island. I understand putting priority on those who have less time left, but you’d think that they’d be smarter about it.
This lack of tone and mood development is only one of the many issues though.
Have I mentioned the sheer stupidity of the characters? Charley, our protagonist, is supposed to be the “smart” one that is confident and “beautiful”. She’s the epitome of a Mary Sue. She has “beautiful hair”, “long legs”, “great friendship skills”, etc. There isn’t a single bad trait revealed about her except for maybe her insecurity over being able to create something like soap.
This logic wasn’t what made me really hate Charley though. What I found absolutely ludicrous was the fact that she was the (highlight to read spoiler) FIRST person to ever consider that the gates appear in patterns. I can be positive of the fact that if this island were real, she would not be the first, after over FIFTY YEARS, to consider that these gates appeared in a pattern. She can’t just be “beautiful”, she also has to be the “genius” that discovers the gate pattern?
Thad is a Gary Stu. He’s “smart”, “strong”, “a great leader”, blah blah blah. They obviously get together. And it’s the most vomit inducing relationship I have ever read about. Oh and there’s insta-love.
“It was killer, and yet I couldn’t stop thinking about Charley.
Charley, standing on the beach, chin raised in defiance.
Charley, studying my face, ready to bolt.
Charley, lying on the bed, knocked out cold.”
At this point, he’s only talked to her a total of once. Oh man, I can definitely feel that chemistry (not).
Oh and then after the insta-love, the way they act together at the end is pitiful. Thad obviously can’t think clearly because of some of the really stupid things he says and does.
AND THEN LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW CHARLEY WANTS TO HAVE SEX.
AFTER THREE MONTHS.
ON A DEADLY ISLAND WITH NO CONTRACEPTIVES.
GUYS, THESE PEOPLE ARE GENIUSES.
They have the motivation to have sex before they “die” but then they don’t have the motivation to make sure they live so that they can see each other on Earth again? What type of stupid logic is that?
It’s like all these characters don’t even care that they might die. Romance is like #1 on their to-do list (before learning how to make soap, surf, and play beach volleyball).
And this isn’t even counting the other couples. About 75% through the book, a couple forms out of nowhere. No buildup, no clever foreshadowing, nothing. Just BOOM. They’re found making out. 100% A+ for that fantastic romantic buildup.
It wasn’t even just the main characters that were badly characterized. I can safely say that I didn’t give a crap about any of the minor characters. Some of them died and I felt nothing partly because of the flatness of them and partly because of the bland writing.
Nil was written from a dual POV. Thad and Charley. Thad was an incredibly unconvincing male protagonist. I could not distinguish who was who in the book at all. They both sounded the exact same and I realized, with a start halfway through, that this was written from first-person POV. It takes skill to make me speed-read the book to the point that I think it’s third-person because of a lack of personality. On top of this, the plot wasn’t even all that interesting. It doesn’t even begin to pick up until in the second half and by that point, I was way too done with these characters to really care. Then I read the ending. The ending made me extremely extremely angry at the book because it took it to a whole new level of cheesy.
I don’t even know if I want to read the sequel. I heard that it’s supposed to answer all of the unanswered questions from the first book, but Nil was such a train wreck that I don’t really feel the urge to.