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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blog Tour: NIL by Lynne Matson

Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Pages: 384
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
On the 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 Charley remembers is blacking out in an Atlanta parking lot, and when she wakes up, she’s naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley hunts for a way out. She discovers desolate beaches and human remains, but no sign of civilization--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 hidden dangers, their greatest threat is time.

They can’t stop the clock. They can only hope to beat it. 

About the author
Lynne Matson grew up in Georgia in a house full of books and a backyard full of gnarly pines. Back then, Lynne would stay up late, reading Nancy Drew books under the covers (with a flashlight . . . a weak attempt at ninja stealth). Now she still stays up late reading books and writing them. When she doesn't have a book in her hand, you'll find her listening to music, messing around with paint, or hanging out with her husband and their four boys . . . or all of the above.

Find her online... 

On Nil, the countdown is the only thing that matters. Everyone's days are numbered, and as the old saying goes, when you're numbers up...

A wild ride full of moments that will have readers anxious for what comes next, the simple but compelling concept behind Nil is executed with utter finesse. After a single chapter,  I couldn't stop. Steady pacing, a healthy balance of action and emotion and self-aware characters with heart made for an intense but easy read.

Charley's a rookie. Thad's a veteran. Survival on Nil is no game.

Snatched out of a Target parking lot in Georgia on a hot summer day by a shimmering wall of air that couldn't possibly be real, Charley's world changes in an instant. She's whisked away to the most exotic island she's ever seen, then confronted with the harsh reality that if she fails to catch a ride back on one of the strange gates within a year she'll die. Inside the Nil City, where the teenage band of castaways lives, the ominous crosses on the naming wall serve as a grim reminder of that.

They've adopted a societal organization that places priority on those who are down to 60 days or less. There are search teams who look for gates and the naming wall to record who made it and who didn't. Throw in some gutless gate stealing and things only get more exciting.

Thad is mere months from running out of time. He's preparing the city to go on without him, whatever his end may be, when Charley arrives. As he shows her the ropes of navigating the dangerous island full of extremes, they predictably fall for each other; however, some of the moments between them are so wonderful that their near betrothal didn't really bother me. They give each other hope and inject lightness into an otherwise bleak landscape.

Lynne Matson does an outstanding job of telling this story with a straightforward, uncomplicated style, which I found very refreshing. This novel is unencumbered by genre or machinations, making it clear from page one that survival on Nil isn't living. In many ways, it's just waiting for death.

What lent believability to the the story is the characters' recognition that life in a hell with the appearance of paradise is full of ironies that can drive you mad. Very early on, Thad is at the naming wall tracing his name and says he's "earned the right to a few whacked-out rituals" after nine months on the Nil. Matson also does a great job of not over explaining how island society evolved and where their tools came from. More often than not Thad just acknowledges the item or structure was made by someone who came before him.

If what you're craving is a dystopian tale with a solid plot that's not too far-fetched or buried in world-building, then Nil is your book. This well-done take on the genre is definitely one I'll be recommending to anyone with a taste for dystopian and a low-tolerance for literary learning curves.

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