Review: Nil by Lynne Matson



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.

Date Finished: 8-10-15


I’ll admit that I bought an copy of this book on a whim. I had a free 3 dollar amazon credit that expired at midnight on August 2nd, and I was hoping to find a good book for cheap so that I could get it for free. I was actually about to buy a different book when I stumbled across Nil, it’s interesting synopsis, and after reading the sample, I immediately bought the book.

Now, Nil isn’t your typical novel. With this strange island known as Nil, we’re dealing with exotic animals, strange scenery, teenagers from all over the world, and a deadline. As stated in the synopsis above, those trapped on the Island of Nil have 365 days to escape, or else they die there with no hope of ever going home. Lynne Matson managed to create a world both beautiful and dangerous, with vivid descriptions of a parallel world that make it come to life. Mason isn’t afraid to spare characters, and with the stakes on Nil Island being so high, she shows how fragile life and time can be, with either time, a gate, or other factors taking out characters.

The cast of characters was awesome. We get to see the Island through Charley, a girl new to Nil, and Thad, the boy who acts as lead in The City, which is the community where most people on Nil live. Throughout the course of the book, new characters drop in, all with different assets to add, all from different places, and it’s interesting to see how all of them accept the news of the Days and everything. I love that there’s a wall of names, showing the fate of the countless people who have come before, and, as it’s revealed later in the story, to

One thing that I loved was how Charley came to piece together a pattern for the  gates. There were issues, and there were things she never figured out, and for me, that adds to the realism of the characters. Charley isn’t a brilliant character with all the answers. She’s just another of these Nil kids, trying to make sense of her circumstances and find a way to keep herself and her friends alive and to escape. She has some ideas that are wrong, but I like that. I hate it when characters are too perfect and figure out the solution all at once. I love a slow build up, which is exactly what we get here.

Now, the one thing I wish we had gotten more of was the character of Ramia and her premonitions. She was only mentioned a few times, as a girl from before Charley’s time, but it would have been interesting to hear more about her and how her presence affected the city. She seems more like an afterthought thrown in to create conflict and drama. Aside from that, this book was pretty much perfect. We have a slow building romance, and high stakes, and selfless acts and….. oooooh. It was just such an awesome book!

I would recommend Nil to fans of James Dasher’s The Maze Runner Trilogy, or of Alexander Gordon Smith’s Lockdown series. If you’re a fan of a tale with friendship, a bit of romance, survival, escape, and tons of action, this is the book for you.


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