Nil by Lynne Matson

Posted February 28, 2014 | 35 Comments

Nil by Lynne MatsonNil
Author: Lynne Matson
Published by: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have 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 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 she has to find a way to beat the clock, and quickly.

When I first saw Nil, I was on the fence about it. Then when I saw it described on the author’s Goodreads page as a “YA thriller with a SF twist”, I got a lot more excited. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite hold up to what I thought I was getting.

Nil starts out with Charley, a seventeen year old girl vanishing from the Target parking lot and waking up on a mysterious island with other teens. All of the teens arrive the same way but at various times, and have 365 days to escape the island of Nil. Sounds exciting and mysterious, right? Yeah, not so much.

I am someone who doesn’t need everything spelled out for me, I’m perfectly fine with leaving things open and allowing the reader to infer outcomes. However, there was just too much left open. When the questions vastly outweigh the answers, then I have a problem. I mean, why only teens, why 365 days, why only warm-blooded animals, what was the meaning of the drawings … on and on. It got to the point where I had to wonder what the point of it all was besides setting up a situation for Charley and Thad to meet. Listen, I get what Charley and Thad’s possible ultimate purpose there was, but that’s just not enough for me.

The first half of the book was extremely boring and I contemplated not finishing it numerous times. I kept pushing through, though, because I thought we were going to get a mind blowing sci-fi twist and find out something big about the island. Nope, never got it. There were theories thrown around by people on the island, but that was the extent of it. Then there was a situation with a certain shady character that I was getting excited about, but that turned out to be a lame bomb too. So Nil is basically a romance set on a dangerous island.

And to top it off, I didn’t even care for the characters or relationship. Charley and Thad – I could take ‘em or leave ‘em. That played a big role in my dissatisfaction of the book, too. I know that if I had loved the characters, I would’ve been a little more lenient with everything else.

Well, I hadn’t planned on this turning so negative, but the more I thought about everything, the more aggravated I felt. So, yeah, I’m not exactly a fan of Nil and its “all tease and big set-up with no follow through” ways. I guess we just weren’t compatible. The title certainly fits, though.


More Reviews:

My Guilty Obsession – 4.5/5 | Supernatural Snark 4/5


35 responses to “Nil by Lynne Matson

  1. LeKeisha Thomas

    Aww dang! It’s on my wishlist, so I’ve been waiting on reviews to come so I can see if it will be worth reading. I hope that I don’t throw it in my DNF pile either. But, if there are more reviews that are similar to yours, I won’t be getting it anyways. No need to waste money. Great review!

    • Christy

      I haven’t seen many reviews for it, but I have seen a couple of positive ones. So it just depends on the person.

    • Christy

      I honestly haven’t seen many reviews for it, so I don’t know whether I’m in the majority or minority with my feelings. I hope you enjoy it if you read it.

  2. Bummer! It’s a shame when you find no connection at all, and you right, if you at least care and like the characters you can let a few things slide. 🙁 God bless you for finishing it, you efforts don’t go unappreciated. I had no expectations at all, in fact I come here to find new books to fill my wish list on audible 😉 but I don’t think Nil is going to make it.

    • Christy

      There were just too many strikes against it for me. 🙁 I just added a link to your review at the end of the post, though, so people can get another perspective.

  3. So, basically it should be retitled Lost. Colour me disappointed, I was really looking forward to it. It depends on book-to-book basis with world-building and me, but yeah, when questions outweigh the answers, nope. But, see this is what I mean with book-to-book, if I love the characters, I can kind of not let it affect me too much, but when you don’t care, you’ve got to have something interesting going on to keep you reading. Which, it sounds like all is pretty much not enough. 🙁 Such a shame though, it sounded so good. Not fair.

    Kirsty-Marie recently posted: Review: Panic
    • Christy

      It’s funny because I never watched Lost, but several times while reading Nil wondered if it was like it. Exactly, there were just too many strikes against it for me, no saving grace. Oh well, on to the next book! 😀

  4. Well that’s unfortunate. Hate when that happens. It really did sound like a great set up but yeah too many things just left unexplained coupled with characters you really just don’t feel much of anything for will do a book in quick. Thanks for the heads up!

    anna recently posted: The Monthly Herd: February Recap
  5. Got to admit, the premise sounds awesome. Sort of like a YA twist on Lost in a way. Too bad it just didn’t deliver and the fact that there were more questions than answers just won’t cut it for me. I’m a romance reader but if a book promises you action, adventure and intrigue and then it turns out be just another romance book with a twist I just feel cheated!

  6. I heard the romance in this one was less than spectacular (with all gazing into each others eyes thinking they’re perfect for each other) and that the first part of the book was indeed boring. It’s such a shame because the premise for this one is intriguing and it could have been SUUUUUUUUUPER epic had it delivered :/ It reminded me of Lost kinda (which I enjoyed watching, for the first few episodes haha). I’m super bummed about this… why can’t YA books now have better quality?? Huhu (Of course not to say there aren’t… there are many lovely YA books out there but the vast majority seem to be deteriorating in one way or another…)

    • Christy

      A lot of people are mentioning Lost when with comparison to this. I never watched Lost, but I did wonder if it was like the show while reading it.

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