📚 The 100 by Kass Morgan

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The 100 #1

Description⎮Reviewed Jul. 2016

Narrator: Justin Torres, Phoebe Strole
Length: 7h 21m
Publisher: Hachette Audio⎮2013

4.25 ★ Audiobook⎮ I’ll tell you upfront that I have seen all episodes of The 100 television series. Like many others, the show is what inspired me to listen to the book. After reading about the difficult experiences others in my same situation (having already seen the show) had with the book, I was hesitant about beginning it.

I was worried that the book would not live up to the very high bar set by the television show, as others have indicated. Luckily, my experience greatly differed from most other reviewers and I was easily able to enjoy The 100 book as something adjacent to the TV show.

The word adjacent was key to my listening experience and how I saw the book in relation to the show. There were similarities and differences. The similarities offered interesting insight that the TV show wasn’t able or chose not to include. It was just similar enough for the television show to provide a useful frame-of-reference (I already understood the premise). I feel like the television adaptation borrowed the outside structure of the story (and a handful of key characters) and changed some of the inner workings (backstories and character development).

I didn’t have as big of a problem with the book/show differences as I thought I would. The main three characters Clarke, Bellamy, and Octavia were mostly unchanged which added stability to my overall experience. Octavia showed the most personality differences which caused her to fall from favor with me in the book. Even so, I like the added flaws because I feel that they give her more room for character growth in The 100  book series.

Listening to this also helped to fill the Bellamy Blake-sized hole in my life that has been there since The 100 ‘s latest season finale. One of the best things about listening to this was being able to call up mental images of the television actors.

I think fans of the show could really enjoy this book if they keep open minds and trying to avoid making constant comparisons. Yes, there are differences between the show and the book, but I quite enjoyed them both and plan to continue on with the series.

By far, the main difference between the two versions is the presence/absence of certain characters. The television show chose to kill off some characters that survive in the book (Wells) and bring others back to life (Dr. Griffin). Other characters, like Raven, Finn, John Murphy, and Kane were created by the show entirely.

The book introduces a girl named Glass and her love interest Luke, although neither of them appear in the show. I hardly minded the swapping of characters and I rather enjoyed hearing about Glass and Luke. Glass’ POV was probably my favorite because her story was completely new to me. Having already seen the TV show made Glass’ chapters seem more like a “spinoff”, which I greatly appreciated.

I think differences like that could be major drawing points to fans of the show because they add an air of mystery and unpredictability to the book. The book is just different enough from the show to give it its own appeal, without being completely out in left field. The bottom line is don’t expect it to be exactly like the show, but also don’t expect to be blown away by any major differences.

Thinking of it sort of as a companion to the show is what really enabled me to get the most out of the story. Of course, all of this could be taken as reverse advice for someone planning to experience The 100  book before The 100 show, so it works both ways. Remember: It’s like they say about eyebrows, “They’re meant to be sisters, not twins”. 😉

My only complaint story-wise, is the indiscriminate way the author used flashbacks. I wish she would have had something in the text (“6-Months Earlier”, for example) that the narrator could have read indicating to the listener that she was about to do something funky.

I have this complaint a lot with audiobooks because, although books can have some sort of [visual] indicator separating paragraphs belonging to the story’s present and past, audiobooks usually have no such thing. Very occasionally, an audiobook will play a sound (chiming, etc.) letting the listeners know a flashback or POV change is about to occur. If that technique is not employed, it is up to the narrator(s) to provide a significant enough pause (or something of the like) for indication.

Narration review: I love dual narration. Justin Torres and Phoebe Strole each respectively narrated the male and female characters which really added to the audiobook’s overall impact. They both have pleasing vocal tones and I enjoyed their narration, but I wasn’t bowled over by it.

There were also some obvious production issues. Namely, “dubbing” that didn’t quite match sound levels with the rest of the audio and, although it didn’t majorly detract from the overall listening experience, it was often enough to become a minor annoyance. It was also enough (in combination with my earlier complaints) for me to detract .25 from the star rating. If I had read the physical book format, the rating may have been closer to 4.5 stars. ♣︎

$ Available at Audiobooks.comThe Book Depository (paperback) and Audible

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