I had no idea when I started Lies that it was the third part of a highly successful series of books aimed at readers 12+. This was something my daughter and her friends alerted me to, having all read the first two (Gone and Hunger) and loved them. Everyone I mentioned it to seemed to have read them or heard how good a series it is – with many commenting that they’d read them without realising the age range it was meant for.
The series has already gained high praise and it’s easy to see why. Stephen King has gone on record saying that he loved Gone – and many a review bears out the comparison between this series and some of his own work. Lies is packed full of great characters, much in the same way that King populates his novels and, for me, this had a real The Stand or Under the Dome feel to it, but with the mystery and plot twisting of shows like Lost and Heroes.
The tale is too multi-layered to really do justice in a short review and I’m sure, in time, there will be guidebooks and spin-offs to the novels to cover all the characters and timelines. Essentially it’s the tale of children who have been robbed of their adults. Trapped in the mysterious FAYZ, a wall-like structure which has shut them off within a 20-mile wide catchment area in the area of Perdido Beach, California, the children find that some of their number have developed mutant skills and powers, whilst they all find ways to survive in this modern Lord of the Flies.
With a Human Crew group, led by a character named Zil, out to tarnish the name of lead character Sam by looking to burn down the town and blaming the ‘freaks’, a psychopathic called Drake Merwin who has one deadly whip appendage and Brittany, a girl thought to be dead but who has crawled from her grave and just might be a zombie – Lies really does have something for everyone.
All the way through the book I could see references cropping up – the ‘littles’, the name given to the youngest children, was also used by Justin Cronin in his fantastic epic The Passage, and there are close references to Lost and, more specifically, to director J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield. But, for all that, none of it takes anything away from the fact that, once I’d accepted that I really needed to have read the first two books to get a real hook on the huge cast, Lies does not let up and I devoured the last 300 pages in one sitting.
The clever use of a timing countdown under each chapter heading is also a guide to how fast the action is moving and how close the outcome is becoming, making you want to keep reading.
The huge following the series already has, the great iconic look to the book jackets and the fact that Plague (book four in the series) has just hit hardback all adds up to something really quite special and exciting here. It’s clearly one of those rare treats of a series of novels that has captured the imagination of readers young and old.
With such a wealth of characters and great storytelling, if justice is to be served and a production company are looking for something fresh for the big screen now that the boy wizard’s grown up and put his broom away – then they need look no further.
Fast paced, packed with great characters and set pieces, Lies is incredibly entertaining.