Imagine living in a world where all you knew and loved was gone forever.
That is the world that Michael Grant establishes with the very first page of his very first chapter.
Sam is an ordinary, fourteen-year-old boy just trying to make his way in school, and in life, without drawing the attention of bullies. Who else remembers being at school and doing the same thing? I know I did. He came from a single family, was nearly friendless, but the friends he did have were worth something. But then something happens. Poof. His teacher is gone - just like the title. No fanfare. No build-up. Just gone.And all that is left is Sam and the others trying to survive in a world where everyone is younger than fifteen.
Michael Grant made this world so believable for me. It's the first book I've read in some time where I felt there was a strong element of exceptional world-building involved. I could almost imagine that there was a town somewhere that had been exposed to the same things that Sam and his friends had been. I could easily picture the town, the forest and the mine that held... Well, you'll just need to read the book to find out.His characters were strong as well. There was a realism to them. Touches of the unexpected.
Each character made the story somehow better for me. The bullies, at times, showed a vulnerability, even a regret in their actions. There are betrayals, but also forgiveness. Fights, babies and talking animals. What I found interesting was that while I was reading it, I saw only evilness becoming more prominent in the supernatural abilities of the villains. It was only when I finished reading the book and started to think about it that I recognized a subtle feeling of good as well. It showed in what happened to Orc - one of the characters who was a bully. I have the feeling that each supernatural gift has something that helps to balance it out.Like Sam and Caine - Drake and Orc.
There's so much more I would like to say about this book, especially about the ending, but I won't because you need to read the book to get an appreciation for it.Nitpicks (minor, very minor)The only thing I have to say is that it was a very long book to read, and there were times where I wished it would hurry up. For another, I didn't understand the countdown until later on during the book. It was kind of left unexplained
.Now for my rating. It'll be so easy to guess what it is.5 out of 5 stars