Monday, January 13, 2014

Review: Nil by Lynne Matson

Nil by Lynne Matson
Publisher- Henry Holt & Co
Released- March 4th 2014
Pre-Order- Amazon / B & N

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.

My Thoughts:
When you go into any survival-type story you’re already prepared to go into it with an open mind and some kind of suspended belief and just accept the world building and explanations given. But for this book, there are no real explanations or reasons as to what Nil is, why it exists and for what real purpose it holds for the captured teens. This is the kind of fantasy that ‘just is’ so if that’s an element that will bother you, then this may not be a book for you. However, what lacks in plausible realism makes up for with driven characters, compelling writing and a romance worth fighting for.

Nil island is deceptively beautiful. Its lush scenery is wild and breathtaking but the twisted mysteries and impending dangers the island holds is anything but.
The workings of Nil are really very simple. No one really knows what Nil is, all the survivors know is that from the ages of 13 to 19 teenagers are thrown into a gate and land into Nil naked, randomly and from all over the world. There is only one way on or off the island. Through a portal or gate that shows up sporadically throughout the entire Island. Catch the gate and your home free, but here’s the glitch, you only have 365 days to do it or its game over.

Pretty cool concept huh? It’s like that reality T.V show, Survivor but dipped in crazy sauce with a side of twisted. Such a me book! Push aside the fact that, yes, I did want a little more explaining with the why’s and the how’s of Nil, I still had a lot of fun with this book. And since it’s never really been established properly, I’m gonna go on a theory about some whacked out goddess bored, out of her mind pulling a few teens out of their world and plop them down on an exotic island and see if they can dance. But yeah, it could be aliens too. Just saying. My point is, when push comes to shove, it doesn't seem to matter to me about how realistic this novel is, it was still dame entertaining. Lynne Matson's writing is quite addictive, once I started this book I was simply compelled to keep reading till I hit the last page.

Even though this is told in Charley and Thad’s perspective, all the characters were all pretty amazing. They each had different personalities that complemented their strengths or weaknesses but I love that they come together as a mini community. Working together to chase down their food, gather supplies and hunt for gates. They have each other’s back (or well most of them do) and they all feel genuinely loyal and dedicated to making sure the Priority survivor catches their gate.
It did feel a little strange how oddly calm everyone seems to be, given this is set in an alternative universe. They’re fully aware of the threats that may come at any moment but still have enough down time to enjoy ‘paradise living’.  When you hear survival story, you think of panic, outrage and desperation, but in this book mostly everyone was calm and collected with the occasionally visit to the darker side of reality or when nerves were hit like a live wire. I wouldn't use words like action packed, heart pounding or explosive to describe this book, but I would describe this as very moving, engaging and intriguing adventure that makes your pulse pound with pure hope for pretty much every single character in this book. It’s a new kind of exciting then you typically find in this kind of genre, which I loved.

But my favorite aspect about this book is the sweet bubbling romance between Charley and Thad. It may seem a little rushed to some, but I think it was perfectly paced. Nil is a place where there are no promises, where your days are being counted and your living your life in the moment. There may not even be a tomorrow, so make it count today, and Charley and Thad do just that. They give each other a reason to hope, a reason to fight and a reason to live. The connection between them sparked the minute they met but it never felt forced or fake. Charley and Thad are also both fiercely strong characters with a lot of passion and fire. I loved Thad’s natural leadership and Charley’s resourcefulness and kindness. They are both very protective of one another and I couldn't seem to get enough of those quiet tender moments when it was just the two of them before jumping back into the unpredictability of Nil. They made the story feel less ugly and more real in a very unreal world. They’re definitely a couple worth rooting for.

All in all, I kinda just loved this one. The story-line could have been a pushed a little tighter, but other then that, it has everything I like in a good survival fantasy story. Intense writing, likable compelling characters, mystery, adventure and romance. I also really loved the ending, but I do wish an epilogue was included to see what happened to the other characters on Nil. I grew quite fond of a couple of them and would have liked to see the outcome of their survival. I was also pretty surprised this was a standalone novel. It’s a refreshing concept since I rarely (if ever) see books with a single shot, especially for this type of genre and since the ending was satisfying it feels right to have just the one book. 
An excellent read and an impressive debut, I can’t wait to see what Matson comes out with next, she’s got a new fan! 

Find the author:
Goodreads / Website                             4.5 Snowflakes


  1. great Review!!
    This looks amazing! I can't wait to read it.

    1. It was a really fun read, hope you enjoy it:-)

  2. This sounds like a wonderful read. I'm willing to stretch logic and accept some things for fact, especially since the rest of the book sounds great. Lovely review, Tina!

    Kris @Imaginary Reads

    1. Thanks Kris:-) Yeah, it really does stretch your imagination, but its a lot of fun getting there. Hope you enjoy this :-)

  3. This is one of my highly anticipated 2014 book debuts!!! I can't wait to get my hands on it! Great review :)

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