Nil by Lynne Matson | Book Review

May 15, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 13 ★★

Nil by Lynne Matson | Book ReviewNil by Lynne Matson
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers on March 4, 2014
Genres: Adventure, Romance, Science Fiction, Survival
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
2 Stars
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.

Any book that is marketed as “Survivor meets Lost” has some pretty gargantuan shoes to fill. And honestly, I think this might have hurt Nil, because I went into the book with really huge expectations. I am a Survivor fangirl, and got addicted to Lost very quickly. So I was expecting to fall head over heels into crazy love with Nil. And I didn’t. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The premise sounds AMAZING, right? People are randomly showing up on this unknown island and have a year to get off or they die. I mean, what a unique and creative idea! That’s why I was so drawn to the book in the first place, I just feel like I wanted more from it. More details. More surviving. Less of what we got.

2. I really, REALLY did not like the romance aspect of the story. It completely overshadowed the craziness of the Island. The great thing about Lost was that the island was a character. It was the main character. Everything that happened was because of the island. Nil needed that same treatment. I did not care about the lovebirds, I did not believe in their love story of convenience, and I got really annoyed by the fact that Thad kept not wanting to get off the island because he did not want to leave Charley. Are ya kidding me? He wants to risk his life and, ultimately, die to spend a few extra days with a girl he has known for less than a month? Less than a few weeks? I don’t like dumb characters. It would have made so much more sense for him to do everything he could to get off the island and then hope the same for Charley. Because then they might have a chance. And I got so tired of hearing how hot he was and how long and lean her legs were. And her hair. And blah, blah, blah.

3. I feel like a lot of time was spent reading about the characters as they ran as fast as they could to try and catch an exit portal to escape. There is only so much an author can do with running scenes.

4. I did like the society on Nil. The teens who live there all pull their own weight, have different talents that make life easier or more comfortable, and all look out for one another. I liked that they set up searching groups for exit portals and did everything they could to try and help people get out. I like that they keep track of who makes it off the island and who doesn’t. They really care about one another, and I felt like these friendships made me care much more about the people involved.

5. I’m not sure whether or not I liked the dual point of view from Thad and Charley. I don’t like dual POVs unless they are done really well and add something to the story, rather than rehashing things we already read about. Sometimes the dual point of view was enlightening, but other times I found it to be predictable and re-hashy.

6. There were so many characters that nobody really got enough time spent on them for you to care about them individually. I liked a couple people here and there, but I could not even remember their names. For this reason, I wish more focus had been placed on surviving instead of the people and the romance.

7. I loved the mystery and intrigue of the inner workings of the island. I love puzzles and figuring things out. I wish more time had been spent on this.

8. Everything ended SO FAST. You’re kind of left hanging, yet there’s no sequel.

Basically, Nil had large shoes to fill before it even hit the shelves and I feel like it suffered as a result. I wanted a crazy, twisted survival story and got a lukewarm instalove instead. The story had SO much potential, too. Yes, there were some good moments, but I was disappointed overall.

This book is a 2014 debut

Share this:
Facebook Twitter Email Pinterest

13 Responses to “Nil by Lynne Matson | Book Review”

  1. Maddy @ Symphony of Words

    Aw, I was really looking forward to this one! I haven’t actually ever seen a single episode of Lost, but conspiracies and teens trapped on an island? True, an amazing premise. But characters are a strong point for me in a book, and well, the insta love thing really doesn’t work anymore. I still want to pick this up, though, because I just have to know the mystery surrounding the island. Great review, Jana :)
    Maddy @ Symphony of Words recently posted…Book Blitz: Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay Excerpt + Giveaway

    • Maddy @ Symphony of Words

      You’re completely right. Hyping up the book so much can only lead to a multitude to disappointed readers. Or maybe not, since it’s been done so much that readers go into the over-hyped books with the least expectations…?

  2. Stephanie Allen

    I was hoping for something that read more like Lost, so I’m disappointed to hear that the romance overshadows everything else. I might still give it a try, though – I’ll just check it out from the library, instead.
    Stephanie Allen recently posted…My Writing Process

  3. Danielle

    I really like your reviewing style. A lot of long reviews are hard to read being they go off on a tangent (I may be guilty of this) but your system makes it fun and easy to stay focused.

  4. Kaitlyn A.

    Thank for the honest review! I have read some mixed reviews on this book, but mostly positive. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one!

  5. Jennifer Bui

    What you wrote on your review is very understandable so thats a bummer. I wasn’t really thinking about the instalove so I enjoyed it. But when I read a book I dont really analyze it that much, I just think about the romance most of the time when I read books. I’m not very critical about books.
    Thanks for your honest review!

  6. Sui generis

    I love your honesty! I actually read that a lot of people were disappointed about the book. Tbh, I like it but I can only give it a 3 stars. And I totally agree with you, this book has so much potential.

  7. Valerie Pennington

    I don’t think I would have read this book had I not met Lynne. I’m hoping that I’ll like it though when I read it.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge