Hunger by Michael Grant
|Hunger by Michael Grant|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A barnstorming sequel to Gone - page-turning, plot-driven and absolutely compelling. All fans of catastrophe fiction will love Hunger, not least because it's accessible to a very wide range of readers. Great stuff!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 608||Date: January 2010|
The kids of Perdido Beach are still within the FAYZ, a barrier erected by Little Pete - no-one knows how - when the nuclear plant went into meltdown. An uneasy truce between Sam's tribe of Perdido Beach kids and Caine's Coates Academy kids is beginning to waver. The food is running out and the Darkness has its claws in all those it's encountered. Caine himself is reduced to delirium by the voice of the Darkness in his head and Lana the healer knows it's inevitable that she too will answer its call. Sam is struggling to keep any form of order. As more and more kids begin to develop special powers and the hunger bites deeper into everyone's bellies, it's inevitable that conflict will break out. And it does, in some very unpleasant ways.
Little Pete is becoming weirder and weirder. The fields are full of murderous worms. The caves are full of glowing blue bats. Zil and his friends form a lynch mob. And the Darkness needs feeding...
I enjoyed Gone, the first book in this series, and I enjoyed Hunger even more. It's an absolutely barnstorming sequel - page-turning, plot-driven and absolutely compelling. All fans of catastrophe fiction will love it and not least because it's accessible to a very wide range of readers. Grant has chosen mid-teens for his central characters, so they have appeal for readers from ten and up. Equally, they have love interests and slip into understandable vices sans an adult presence (we see alcohol, dope and some fairly realistic and nasty violence) and so older teens won't find them at all babyish or beneath notice.
The various threads work with one another exceptionally well too - there's a Stephen Kingish horror thread with the Darkness, a picaresque with Sam as the most reluctant and vulnerable of heroes, and a Lord of the Flies look at the shocking deterioration of social cohesion that happens when inexperienced children are left to run their own affairs. So it is very hard-hitting. However, it's also in a fantasy arena, at a big enough distance for the issues explored to be acceptable to a younger reader who might find too distressing if it were closer to home.
The writing is efficient and geared to tension. So the sentences are short and snappy and immediate. At times it really is quite scary. Grant isn't afraid to kill off the odd sympathetic character either - and some of the villains do live to fight another day. It's another brick of a book, so Hunger is perhaps one for the keen reader rather than the occasional one, but it's going to find a wide market which will be crying out for book number three. And that market includes me!
My thanks to the nice people at Egmont for sending the book.
They really should read Gone before they read Hunger. Fans of this kind of catastrophe fiction will engage just as enthusiastically with The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, a dystopian thriller with just as many nods to multi media influences. The sophisticated reader shouldn't miss The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, which is equally breathless and also has some wonderfully observed humour.
You can read more book reviews or buy Hunger by Michael Grant at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Hunger by Michael Grant at Amazon.com.
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