Review: Nil by Lynne Matson

Saturday, January 11, 2014
Title: Nil
Author: Lynne Matson
Genre: young adult, thriller, dystopia
Series: N/A
Pages: 384
Published: expected March 4 2014
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 2/5

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.

Nil, how you disappointed me. It's said love cannot be measured, but I didn't love you. You let me down, though I didn't have all that much to hope for.

 Let me count the ways in which Nil fell short:

  • bland characters, who have
  • a strong, incurable case of instalove
  • more clearly focused on a love story than on a tale of survival
  • a ridiculous plot that even the best suspension of disbelief cannot countenance
  • nondescript writing that did nothing to make me invest in story or characters

Met Charley. She's pretty much the most gorgeous thing ever, according to Thad, who is of course, her true love and the first person she meets when on Nil. Their love is a Thing for the Ages. They are Meant to Be. Unfortunately, do to whatever rules govern the island, they have less than four months before Thad has either "escaped" or died. Because reasons.

If you go into Nil expecting reasons, logic, and answers, you will be disappointed. This is not a book that requires thinking. The very opposite, in fact. Come prepared with your suspension of disbelief firmly in place because sense is not a word known to Nil or most of its characters. I mean, it is a group of teenagers on an island so maturity wasn't something I was really anticipating, but no one really impressed me. Not with their leadership or even with personality. As far as characters go, outside of Charley and Thad, characterization is scarce and scattered.

Though I don't have a lot of good things to say about it, I don't hate Nil. It's another of those books I nothing. I read it, I laughed at it (not with it), I got bored, and finally, I got to put it down. It was the last book I read in 2013, and chances are on the eve of 2015, I won't remember anything but the cheesy line about Charley's name ("Charley with a y because a girl like her couldn't have a name that ends with lie." --- which could change from the ARC I read.) Like a lot of YA stories that just don't quite pan out, the premise sank under the execution.   

In the end, I don't have a lot to say about Nil, its plot or its characters. It's not the worst book I've ever read. It's far from the worst -- it's just kinda silly and weird and soon to be forgotten. It's too long and takes itself far too seriously, but it's not enough to cause any sort of real emotional reaction. If you're looking for a Survivor/Lord of the Flies scenario, I would suggest you search elsewhere.


  1. Yep, I had some of these same complaints. I wanted a creepy island that really messed with the teens. I needed some brutal, scary stuff but instead it was a backdrop to a love story. I thought that aspect was decent but I didn't want it. Great, honest review...oh and that line about her name...ugh. I hope that's dropped for the final version. I will say that it was very readable--being fast paced and entertaining but somehow I'd convinced myself it was something it so clearly was not.

  2. I'm so glad I didn't request this one. Because her name couldn't end in lie. Oh, my. The snort that just came out of my face. This sounds pretty horrible. Definitely passing. Thanks for the funny, honest review!

  3. Wow, this sounds bad.. The synopsis looks really good, but if the romance takes over the plot, I really don't want to read it. And not another case of insta-love! I need my books to be believable, logical and with little to no romance, so this one probably isn't for me. Great review, thank you for being honest!


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