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Lies is another fantastic entry into Michael Grant's popular Gone series of novels that depict the lives of a group of teenagers struggling to survive in a world where everyone over the age of 14 has disappeared. These kids now live in the F.A.Y.Z. (Fallout Alley youth Zone), a section of town that has been cordoned off by a strange barrier, with a nuclear power plant at the centre. Some of these kids have been developing strange mutant powers which are causing friction with the kids who consider themselves 'normal.' Think Lord of the Flies meets X-Men and you're on the right track.
Once again Lies is a book that is designed as a follow on for those already established with the series, and would in no way be appropriate as a jumping on point for new readers. It follows on from the end of the last book where the kids had met Orsay; a young girl with the power to enter the dreams of others, and together they had destroyed both Drake Merwin and the sinister extra-terrestrial entity known as The Gaiophage.
In Lies Orsay's power comes to the fore as she reaches out past the F.A.Y.Z wall and claims to be able to contact everyone's parents who are camping just outside. Hailed as a prophetess by a mysterious new girl Orsay instructs the children to give in and accept their fates whenever they hit 15. She claims that every child that has 'poofed out' has been reunited with their parents, and that they are happily waiting for their friends to return. Meanwhile Astrid faces a difficult decision in her new role as head of the Town council. With no way of knowing whether Orsay is correct, or if she has been tricked into establishing the first suicide cult of the F.A.Y.Z, Astrid must decide whether or not to lie to everyone in town through a smear campaign against Orsay.
Meanwhile the hostilities between Freaks and Normals escalate as Zil starts throwing kids out of their homes if they develop powers. Sam wants to charge in and take Zil down, but Astrid wants to establish a system of laws to charge him with first. Feeling throttled by the new council Sam decides to go out on his own, and is horrified to discover an open grave on the edge of town. Not just any open grave however; a young girl named Brittany was buried in this grave in the last book, and yet her grave appears to have been opened from the inside. As Sam sets out to look for evidence of Brittany's rise from the grave he begins hearing disturbing rumours that the familiar Whip handed silhouette of Drake Merwin has been spotted stalking the town at night.
So begins an intense battle of wills as everyone tries to piece the various pieces of this puzzle together before disaster strikes!
Like I said before Lies is another fantastic entry into the Gone saga. Despite having so many plot threads hanging in the air Grant manages to weave a complicated story that ties together nicely. There are many exciting battles between the Freaks and the Normals, while the central mystery with Orsay adds an added level of dramatic punch to the already suffocating atmosphere. Meanwhile the fleeting glimpses of Drake keep the suspense flowing from the start of the book right the way to the end. Drake Merwin is a villain that Grant has been developing well over the series, but here he takes on an almost mythic quality for the children of the F.A.Y.Z and subsequently becomes the strongest villain the series has had to date. I quite liked the way his mystery was developed as; while some sections of the book were still predictable, the mystery behind Drake managed to surprise me quite a bit.
On the downside there were also a few side plots that tended to slow the plot of the book down somewhat. At times these stories felt like they were in place purely to introduce some new characters, while subsequently keeping the series main villain Cain in the background. However Cain is such a charismatic bad guy that I didn't mind too much, I just would have preferred the pace of the book not be interrupted as often as it was. It was also a little disturbing to see the depths the Coates Kids are going to in order to avoid starvation. Let's just say that this is one Young adult novel that will not be suitable for all of the Young Adults out there!
Nevertheless Lies is another entertaining read that develops both the main characters and the world of the F.A.Y.Z well. I look forward with eager anticipation to the next book in the series.