Book Talk: The 100

8:30:00 PM

I first became acquainted with The 100 through one of my great loves - television. Those that know me know that I watch far more television than a sane human should, and I have absolutely no regrets. I love stories, whether they are books or shows, and I love adaptations, too, so when I discovered that one of my favorite new CW shows was based off the novel of the same name, it was only a matter of time until I checked it out.

Surprisingly, I found this novel a little lackluster. Perhaps it was because I already had such an ingrained idea of the world and characters from the show (some of whom are completely different or nonexistent in the novel) but I found myself struggling to engage with it. I plowed through, remembering that the show took several episodes to truly get its hooks in me, and hoping the book would be a similar experience. It wasn't.

I don't think this is a reflection of the author's work, but instead a reflection of the way I went about reading the book. This isn't the first time I've been disappointed by a novel after seeing the adaptation (I had similar experiences with North and South and The Vampire Diaries) and I think a lot has to do with the order in which I read and watch the content.

Usually, I've read the book before I watch the adaptation, and I'm able to reconcile the two versions of the world I'm presented with. Instead, with The 100, I watched the show well before I read the novel, and it made it extremely difficult to visualize a world so completely different from the one that played out on the screen. As is typical for the CW, the show runners took the original premise and characters and ran with them, really making the show their own - loosely based on the novel, certainly, but evolving and deviating naturally as things developed. I had the same experience when watching and then reading The Vampire Diaries, whose show is incredibly written and developed, but whose novels are some of my least favorite that I've read.

The majority of the novel is condensed into the first couple of episodes, which made it even more difficult for me to read, as I was impatiently waiting for the novel to develop to what I had witnessed in the show - but it never did. I have since remained wishy-washy about whether I should continue to read The 100 series - I recently discovered that there are two more books - but I want to make it clear that I absolutely love the television show. For a CW show, it demonstrates surprising depth, asks really good questions about the nature of humanity, and provides a refreshing genre change for the network, all while showing powerful females in leadership and science fields and LGBT characters. Basically, I think the show is great and well worth the time it takes for it to get good (at least a couple of episodes), but I can't say the same for the book.

I'd love to hear other opinions about this book and tv show combo - did you have the same experience I did, or did you like/dislike both? Is it all about the order in which you experience these stories, because it seems to be that way for me! Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Sparkles and Scribbles has read 21 books toward their goal of 75 books.
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