Nil – Lynne Matson

Nil – Lynne MatsonTitle: Nil (Nil #1) by Lynne Matson
Publishing Info: March 4, 2014 by Macmillan
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 18, 2014
Related Posts: Nil Unlocked (Nil #2), Nil on Fire (Nil #3)

    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 was actually a pleasant surprise for me. I started reading not sure what to expect and I ended up really enjoying so many of the characters and their backstories as well as the mystery of the island of Nil. I was worried that the explanation of its mysteries would be cheesy because for the life of me, I could NOT figure out what was going on but I was very satisfied with the way everything played out!

Before I get into the details, let me tell you that my mind was racing with comparisons as I was reading — definitely in a good way. NIL was a really interesting concept and I kept seeing several mash-ups of my favorite books and TV shows… #1 was Monument 14 meets Lost. NIL has the great action that I loved in Monument 14 and teens of all ages  who are strangers working together to stay safe and survive while at the same time figuring out the mystery of a deadly island. #2 was The Maze Runner meets Gilligan’s Island. The island of NIL has a lot more secrets than we first realize and I loved the comradery that the kids built. #3 was Lord of the Flies meets Survivor. The kids don’t always work well together and… well… sometimes people turn on each other.

One of the things I loved the most about the book was the range of characters we meet. The only humans on the island of Nil are all teenagers and the “gates” that bring people to the islands collect them from all over the world. They have a lot of differences but because they’re all stuck in the same odd and hostile situation, they easily band together to form a (mostly) tight group. Obviously they can’t force everyone to get along so it was interesting the conflicts that arise as well as how each of their “mortality rates” (each person only has 365 days on Nil before Nil takes them (aka, they die)) affects how the group gets along. I really enjoyed the diversity of the characters, both in age range and home country.

The mystery of the island totally stumped me — and that’s a good thing. I really did spend the entire book trying to figure out what in the world was going on and even as the characters were collecting clues, I was still totally in the dark. The best part? It was a GOOD surprise. I think I was so worried about the book because of the way Lost ended up taking a turn. A great TV show with so many mysteries and it turned kind of weird (especially the end) so with that Lost parallel already in my head, I think that’s where most of the fear came from! I wonder if Lynne Matson had been a fan of the show because she definitely didn’t let her readers down and the explanation how of Nil worked was wonderful! There was one main question I don’t think we ever got the answer to but not enough to really feel like I was missing something!

I also really appreciated the romance between Charley and Thad. Cute island boy meets cute island girl? Come on, you know that’s starting a romance. I can understand where people might feel that it’s kind of insta-lovey but it really didn’t come off to me like that at all. There are plenty of instances where I’ve been in their shoes and developed a huge crush right off the bat, then the more you get to know about a person the more you love about them. NIL was totally that. Combine a strong attraction with living with someone and spending all your time with them PLUS he’s your island guide and person who teaches you how to survive this crazy place? Oh, please. Giiiiirl, you are totally falling in love with him. I loved Charley & Thad’s fun and easy-going relationship. They had friendly banter, healthy competition, and really just clicked.

Overall, I really enjoyed his book! I know I went in a little hesitant but I totally had nothing to worry about. It was a really interesting sci-fi book that really stayed in the realm of science fiction and I love that Lynne Matson didn’t throw too much into the book either. I feel like the intricate workings of Nil could have easily gotten complicated and easily saturated with all kinds of science-fiction and paranormal aspects, but the explanation was unique and mostly concise and it totally worked for me!


Charley // Character Obsessions: Figuring out the island, getting to know Thad, the maze.
Charley was awesome. I totally connected with her and granted I’m not almost six feet tall but I get her feelings about being a tall girl! I really liked her a lot in the book too. She wasn’t overly helpless or overly smart or overly strong. I felt like she was really realistic and a girl a lot of people can relate to!
Thad // Character Obsessions: Finding a gate, Charley, leading.
Thad was a really nice male lead as well. I really enjoyed his relationship with Charley as well as his natural charisma and ability to lead a group. I really liked his character a lot and his chemistry with everyone on the island just really felt natural!


Kept Me Hooked On: Islands. Lost made me hesitant about deserted island stories (which I think I just discovered) and NIL totally redeemed that for me! A lot of times the story lines just don’t work for me and Lynne Matson just did such a great job with this book! I won’t doubt so much anymore!
Left Me Wanting More: Science fiction. I really enjoyed the reveal of how the island worked but I also would have liked just a TAD more connection and reveal in the beginning. I think once I found out how everything worked and the explanation why, I was just anxious for more!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I hope readers really enjoy this one as much as I did! I would definitely recommend it!



(Click the cover to see my review!)

        The Forsaken      Unremebered

Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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15 thoughts on “Nil – Lynne Matson

  1. Kaniesha @ Deux Lectrices

    I’ve been excited about Nil since I first heard about it! Honestly I’ve never watched any survivor shows but this reminds me a bit of THG. (Though in THG they have a considerably smaller time frame). But I have so many questions about the book! I guess I won’t get them answered unless I look for spoilers or read it. (I’d rather read it).

  2. Alexa S.

    I’ll admit, I was a bit wary of NIL. But your review makes it sound like a great book! I love that there’s a reasonable/believable/GOOD explanation for why they’re all on that island. And I also love that you enjoyed having a whole cast of characters to experience the island with. This definitely encourages me to pick it up!

  3. Rachel

    I totally did the comparisons thing too! All I could think about was how much it reminded me of The Maze Runner, even though they’re not very alike. I’m glad we both saw the same thing. Also, our reviews are very similar haha. Like, I had all the same thoughts as you, so I would feel redundant leaving a comment about what I liked/disliked. This is one of those magical moments where we agree!

  4. Nicole

    SO when I picked up this ARC at ALA I was thinking this book could either be really really cool or a total disaster and when I saw that you and Rachel were enjoying it I got excited that it must be in the former category. I admit when I started reading your review and saw your comparisons I got really scared because I did not like the Maze Runner and I did not want it to have an ending like Lost. But thankfully you had similar reservations and the book does a better job at explaining things than the writers of Lost did. So I am back to being motivated to read this one. I still have some reservations truthfully but not as many as before 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Brittany Post author

      Oh good! I’m glad we’ve restored your faith a little haha. It’s a shame that Lost and TMR are making people hesitate about this book because it really was enjoyable! I’d say it has a sort of feel LIKE TMR but that was also more dystopian and things got a little crazy there sometimes and NIL was definitely more in the realm of sci-fi. I really appreciated how everything was explained (unlike Lost and TMR hahaha). I can’t wait to hear what you think of it! 🙂

  5. Stormy

    I’ve been really interested in this one, but sort of holding out for reviews too because the comparisons to The Maze Runner make me wary. I didn’t really like The Maze Runner and never read past the first book. I hated all the withholding of information just to be suspense–it made sense that *some* of the information would be unknown, but it just dragged on too long. The premise of this one really intrigues me though, and good science fiction is something I can always use more of. But you said the mystery of the island was a GOOD one so that makes me slightly more hopeful!

    1. Brittany Post author

      You know… I think you might like it! I was really frustrated with how everything was dragged out in TMR too but this was more of similar feeling but not necessarily a similar path… if that makes sense? I think you would enjoy it!

    1. Brittany Post author

      Let me know if you pick it up! It was really enjoyable and very different from what I was expecting, definitely in a great way. I was totally intrigued the whole book!

    1. Brittany Post author

      It was very interesting! I really hope you enjoy it! Let me know if you pick it up because I’m definitely curious to hear what other people think 🙂


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