Fantasy Book Review: Nil

Nil by Lynne Matson

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, in this thrilling debut novel by Lynne Matson.

The island of Nil is mysterious and strange, reminiscent of the tv show Lost. The island is a character unto itself, certainly the most interesting. There are a variety of teens on the island with varying personalities and goals. The majority have formed a “city” with a voted leader that seems to work well. However, the turnover is quick – as each person only has about one year to find a portal off the island or they die. And some of the kids don’t wait until it’s their turn.

Nil is a thrilling fantasy for young adults. It’s fast-paced and engaging, packed with suspense, mystery, drama, and romance. Charley and Thad meet on the island and quickly fall in love at an unrealistic pace and level at their age; however, this is a YA novel. The intensity builds to an exciting finale, along with a nice epilogue to wrap things up. However, there are a lot of questions still left unanswered that hopefully the upcoming sequel will handle.