I love the TV show The 100, and didn’t realize it was a book trilogy until long after I was hooked. I think that’s a good thing – because they are two very different animals.
Ok, backing up for a moment. Both the books and the show start with the same general premise: generations ago the world experienced a nuclear event, but the human race survived in a large space station orbiting Earth. With supplies (and air) running low, the station government decided to send 100 juvenile offenders to Earth (because no biggie if they don’t survive). If the 100 found it to be habitable, the rest would join them. This, and most of the character names are where the similarities end.
The TV show spans several months, and Earth is revealed to be a harsh, gritty world. The characters are well crafted and deeply flawed; their actions often have tragic consequences. The story pulls you in, and you find yourself feeling grief or anger along with the central characters.
The books (The 100, Day 21 and Homecoming) only cover the first month after the 100 land on Earth. And it’s a lighter, more welcoming world. Yes, there are struggles with survival in the wild and dealing with angry locals, but optimism and hope manage to carry on through the tale.
The story is also more focused on a smaller geographic setting, with smaller conflicts (FYI show fans: Mount Weather is completely different). And although there are losses, the trilogy ends on a pretty positive note.
Like I said, two completely different animals. If you compare them – no question – the show is far better. But really, the comparison isn’t very fair since they are so different. So I’ve tried to keep an open mind, to judge the books on their own merits.
The trilogy is entertaining, although not the most well crafted story I’ve read. The characters lack depth, with emotions being simply described rather than… emoted. Conflicts are resolved far too easily, with little consequence. The books were an easy read, but didn’t leave me hoping for more by the end. I think the best word for them would be ‘average’. Because of this, I would give the books 2.5, maybe 3 out of 5.