Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Hunger by Michael Grant

4th January 2010
608 pages, Hardback
Review Copy

Young Adult

Cushions: 5
Daggers: 4
Smiles: 1
Tissues: 2
Yunaleska's overall rating: ♥♥♥♥♥+
Content warning which is on the back cover: 12+ Warning! Contains scenes of cruelty and some violence

Summary from Egmont

The clock is ticking for Sam Temple and the kids of Perdido Beach but it's not the big one-five that they face now; it's starvation that threatens the FAYZ. In an abandoned mine shaft a faceless animal lurks, pulling the strings, toying with human and mutant alike. And he's hungry -hungry in the darkness. An uneasy calm has settled over Perdido Beach. But soon, fear explodes into desperation as starvation sets in and the mob look to place blame. For the 'normals' the buck must stop somewhere: with the 'freaks'. More and more kids are developing strange powers and, just as frighteningly, so are the animals in the FAYZ: talking coyotes, swimming bats and deadly worms with razor-sharp teeth are just the beginning. For Sam Temple the strain of leadership is beginning to show and he's got more than just dwindling rations and in-fighting to worry about - Caine is back with the psychotic, Drake, by his side. And in the background lies the greatest danger of all - and he too needs to be fed.

This review got to a great start when I wrote 2009 instead of 2010. First time this year I've done that. Anyway...

As a few of you have commented on it, I'd like to point out that the cover for Hunger follows the same style as Gone, only this time the colour scheme is orange and black, rather than green and black. Taking off the cover jacket leaves the orange person on the spine (no title, no author name) and just the title on the front cover. I think anyone who has read or seen Gone would instantly recognise who wrote this. In addition to the cover, what can't be seen is that all the pages are edged in bright orange. I like to imagine that the book gremlins got into the publication room and spray painted each book in orange highlighter ink.

Hunger follows on from where Gone left off. Getting shut off from the outside world means that supplies can't be shipped in, and there is no way of escaping the monster in the mine. I had to be brave because the evil w*rms had me feeling very uncomfortable, just as much as the flying sn*kes did. I found them marginally more disturbing than the behaviour of some of the children. Without adult, children will wreck havoc. They turn against each other. Individual feelings of hate escalate into mob rule. This isn't a book about fluffy bunnies - the faint hearted might want to skip this one.

I think that is what I love most about this series, it delves deep into the human character, exploring what happens when rules and regulations no longer exist. Some people will do anything to get food. Any action involving food can be misconstrued by other people.

I like learning more about the other characters (beside Sam/Astrid/Caine/Drake). More of the story is told by other points of view. One of my favourite characters, Mary, played a large part in Hunger. Her issue with food is the total opposite of everyone else: the depression which was kept at bay (most of the time) in Gone has morphed into an eating disorder. Hunger raises awareness of bulimia and anorexia, showing how Mary's friends react when they discover her secret, and what's going on in Mary's head.

Sam has too many burdens on his shoulders - the cracks are deepening and he is nearing a meltdown. This is another issue which I believe is well explored in Hunger: how stress affects people in different ways. Some characters implode, others explode. Their reactions affects the lives of everyone around them, not always in a positive way. Sam has more than just Caine as his enemy, yet somehow he has to find a way to fight the monster in the dark.

The monster gave me the chills. It plays a bigger role in Hunger (because it is hungry (sorry)). I loved the plot twists surrounding its creation, what it wanted, how it forced people to obey it.

There is so much to love about Hunger: the new powers that the children develop are mostly known to me although there were a few new ones. Hunger is a lot darker than Gone, which has me wondering what the next book, Lies, has in store for the FAYZ.

Check out all the latest information on the Gone series website.

Follow Michael Grant on Twitter: username = thefayz
(I haven't figured out how to do twitter links yet).

Liked this? Make sure you check out the first in the series, Gone.


RKCharron said...

Thank you for the nice review.

Yunaleska said...

You're welcome. I love writing them.

GMR said...

Enjoyed the review! I never would have guessed from the cover the book you were speaking of (let me explain)...as the US cover for GONE (and Hunger more than likely) is WAY different. Funny how they do that....you almost don't make the connection between books sometimes! =0)

Yunaleska said...

Covers definitely have a big-ish impact on how the books are perceived and read.