Nil by Lynne Matson is the story of a mysterious island that teens randomly get transported to and the relationships that form when people are trying to survive and get off this dangerous island even though they’re falling in love. I knew going in from other reviews that Nil was going to be heavy on the romance and I think that preparation helped me have reasonable expectations. Nil is a fast read with insta-love that makes at least some sense, but don’t hold your breath for an explanation about how the island works.
Note: I received Nil through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Nil by Lynne Matson
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on March 4, 2014
Genres: Sci-fi, Thriller, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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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.
- Nil’s premise hooked me from the beginning. I was a huge fan of Lost and really excited about a book with another supernatural island. Given that the characters have a limited amount of time to get off the island before they are guaranteed to die, you know that Nil is going to be fast-paced and thrilling.
- Nil pulls off packing a year’s worth of time into a mid-size book quite well. Day to day life on the island is how you would expect it and Matson is able to describe the activities of the slow periods succinctly. I got a good feel for the fact that time was passing without being annoyed that things were dragging. This all adds up to Nil delivering on the promise of a fast-pace. We get to read about the exciting scenes without too many doldrums in between ;-).
- While at first you might say omg insta-love, ew, Nil actually posited a believable explanation for the fast connection between our main characters! For one thing, when you’re on an island, things are bound to move quickly right? For another, Nil seems to be a semi-sentient island and think about how evil it is to make islanders meet their soul mates just to put a ticking clock on their time together! I like this explanation for the fast relationship progression, haha.
- Nil makes it clear right from the beginning that no one is safe on this island. Some characters make it successfully off, but a lot don’t. The believability that this grittiness added really sold me on the ending scenes of Nil since I really didn’t know what was going to happen for a bit.
- While I was okay with the explanation of the relationship between Charley and Thad, their declarations of love got a bit over the top. There were seriously about a paragraph of dialogue of them talking about how much they love each other; it gets old fast!
- There are no real answers about what Nil is or how it really works. A couple of characters posit hypotheses, but this book is not about figuring out the island of Nil, it’s about Charley and Thad falling for each other and trying to survive. I kind of hope that a second book is in the works where the surviving characters try to figure out where Nil is and how to save everyone, that would give me the answers I crave!
- Some of the phrasing in Nil got repetitious. There is only so many times I need Thad to emphasize the darkness of Nil in a single scene before I want him to snap out of it.
Nil is an enjoyable book for what it is: a romantic thriller with a bit of sci-fi because of the setting. A bit of my Lost craving was definitely satisfied by reading Nil and I think going into it knowing that it would be more romance than sci-fi helped my enjoyment quite a bit. I’m sure a lot of you will love it if you like lighter sci-fi that relies heavily on character dynamics ;-).
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Nil by Lynne Matson
© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.