A copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. 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 lying 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 to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.
Nil is successful as a romance but as science fiction less so. I felt that there was a lot of attention in the summary about the mysterious island. In reality I felt that Nil was only the backdrop to the story of the two main characters and the development of their relationship. I went into this book wanting Nil (the island) to be brutal, terrifying and mysterious. To be honest, I never felt much of any of that. I never once felt a sincere fear of what the island had up its sleeve.
This isn’t to say that this book wasn’t enjoyable, because it was. It had some outstanding elements and I struggled mostly due to my expectations of what I thought and wanted the book to be like. I loved the main idea behind Matson’s story–that you end up on an island naked with no real idea how you got there and only have 365 days to figure out a way off or you would die.
Reading that there was a 365 day count down I was so excited because I knew that the days ticking off would be a huge part of the story and add such an intense nature to the reading experience. The tick-tock of the clock and days was a significant part of the story but I felt that rather large chunks were skipped and summarized. This caused me to separate from the stress of time slipping away though I think it was done for the opposite effect.
Nil is a stand-alone for now, which caused me some disappointment because I had questions that remained unanswered; questions I felt were important to the story arc.
Charley is a sweet-natured girl from Georgia. I thought she was likeable and I could easily get into her head-space as she found her way around the island. Nil is told from dual POV’s: hers and the leader of the tribe on Nil, Thad. Thad was also easy to like because of his compassion, sense of duty and loyalty. Both characters interacted well with one another and I found their blossoming relationship believable but rushed.
The secondary cast was less enjoyable for me and I honestly didn’t connect with any of them. No one but the two main characters will stick with me because I felt that the others were fairly one dimensional with the exception of Natalie. I felt that she had more depth and I was interested in learning more about her time on the island prior to Charley’s arrival.
Nil was overall an enjoyable page turner of a book. It is easy to be swept away with Matson’s words though I felt that the secondary cast was not fully realized and Nil (the island) was sorely missing some potential for brutality and eeriness. I feel that this story was very successful as a love story and I enjoyed watching Thad and Charley get to know one another.