Thursday, 4 February 2016

Book Review: The 100 Society by Carla Spradbery

For sixth-form student Grace Becker, The 100 Society is more than just a game; it's an obsession. Having convinced her five friends at Clifton Academy to see it through to the end, Grace will stop at nothing to carry out the rules of the game: tagging 100 locations around the city. With each step closer to the 100-mark they get, the higher the stakes become. But when the group catches the attention of a menacing stalker - the Reaper - he seems intent on exposing their illegal game, tormenting Grace with anonymous threats and branding their dormitory doors with his ominous tag.

As the once tight-knit group slowly unravels, torn apart by doubt and the death of a student, they no longer know who to trust.

With time running out, Grace must unmask the Reaper before he destroys everything she cares about for ever...
I kinda feel like this book has been given a bit of a raw deal. I have read a lot of reviews for The 100 Society and I can't help but feel that maybe it has been a little misunderstood. Don't get me wrong I completely understand what a lot of the reviewers had to see. This book wasn't perfect and I didn't love it but I did like it a lot more than others. The beauty of not only books, but the arts in general is that each individual piece of work can mean different things to different people. For others this book didn't work, and that's fine. But I saw it a different way, I saw it as a homage to the horror movies of my teens. It reminded me of days gone by, it bought back happy memories and because of that I can't hate this book.

When I was a teen the slasher horror movie genre was at its peak. I remember nervously going over to friends house for sleep overs and watching movies like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legends. We used to swoon over Skeet Ulrich, Ryan Philipe and Jared Leto and we used to pretend that watching these movies didn't scare us at all. Of course we were all terrified, I used to go home the next day exhausted after a sleepless night. A night spent believing that every small sound, every creek of a floor board or rustling of branches outside was a killer coming to get me. These movies were a part of me teen years and I love them. Sure, they had more plot holes than a sieve, dumb characters who could never make a smart decision and questionable messages about girls who have sex. But still I liked them.

The 100 Society reminded me so much of those movies. Just with less plot holes and a more teen friendly tone. Whilst I will admit that this book had its problems I still had a really good time reading it.

So, I will start with the things I liked. I thought the writing was pretty good. I enjoyed Carla Spradbery's world building, I found it easy to slip into the book. The plot was well thought out and well executed. Normally I am freakishly good at figuring out who the bad guy is in books and movies and although I did figure out who it was this time it took me a little longer than usual and the motivation of the killer only became clear to me at the end. I thought Spradbery did a good job of building the creepiness. The intensity built up through the book and came to a crashing end during the last quarter making it the strongest section of the book. Also, I want to thank Carla Spradbery for having the courage to terrify, maim and kill a majority of the characters in this book. To many time YA authors opt for something a little softer. There is none of that here.

All that being said it had the potential to be even darker and there were times when the story dragged a little bit. These tended to be the moments when the teen angst took over from the horror. Characters were another issue. Grace was ok, I neither loved nor hated her. She wasn't completely stupid but she wasn't bursting with personality either. Trick was my favourite character, he had a little more depth than the others who fell flat for me. I felt like I didn't know them enough to invest in them, which led me to not care enough when the bad stuff happened to them. What didn't help was the love triangle. It was important to the plot, so I didn't resent it being there but it felt underdeveloped.

The 100 Society has its problems and it is far from perfect but there were aspects of it that I really enjoyed and on the whole I liked it. I hope to read more from Carla Spradbery in the future.

3 stars

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Published September 4th 2014 by Hodder Children's Books
A free copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.  Image courtesy of Goodreads.

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