Hunger (Hammer 1) by Melvin Burgess

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Hunger (Hammer 1) by Melvin Burgess

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: 'Orrible 'orror with ghouls and everything. I liked it. And slept with the light on for a night or two. Not the most developed story character-wise, but lots of very satisfying action.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: January 2013
Publisher: Hammer
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0099576643

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Beth wakes up one morning covered in dirt and consumed by a ravening hunger. She puts it down to illness and sleepwalking at first but when the hunger doesn't go and reports of a grave desecration surface, Beth has to admit that something sinister is afoot. Beth doesn't know it yet, but she is a special person. She carries a conduit from the land of the living to the land of the dead and a newly-awakened demon wants her very much. But can Beth, together with brother Louis and friends Ivan and Coll, defeat him?

Ok. Horror isn't so much my thing. But Melvin Burgess is my favourite of favourites so y'know. I try not to miss anything he puts out. I love his versatility. This man is prepared to give anything a go. Hunger is published under the Hammer imprint, a collaboration between the famous film brand and Arrow books. You get it, right? You can expect schlock and you'll get it. Hunger is aimed more at the YA sector but it's drawing on the huge success of middle grade horror from the likes of Darren Shan and adding to it the long history of shivers from Hammer and the partying and love interests of adolescents. And it is gloriously gruesome from start to finish. There's possession. There are vampires. There are ravening beasts. There's a big dark demon to command them all. And some hapless accidental heroes to fight him. Nice people that you decided to root for get killed off, goshdarnit. I never pick the eventual survivors.

And it is scary. Properly scary. Horror fans will love it. I loved the demonology aspect of this story particularly and now I'm worried there's a two thousand year-old uber-demon buried in my back garden with a brick in its mouth. Ugh.

Perhaps readers used to Burgess's previous contemporary novels will get a bit of a shock. They'll recognise his head-on treatment of parental no-nos (drinking, sex and all that jazz) but they will be thrown into the horror world of people who behave in nonsensical ways to set up the next schlocky scene. Don't read if you don't want to suspend belief. I'm also a bit annoyed about one of the deaths (see my poor picking above). My favourite was blinkin' well thrown away. Note to Mr Burgess: if you're going to kill off someone I liked, at least make the death heroic or gory. Bah.

Fans of schlock: rush out and buy Hunger. Fans of Melvin Burgess: read my review carefully and then rush out and buy it!

More schlock in Crawlers by Sam Enthoven. Beware mind-controlling, spidery monsters if you're going anywhere near the Barbican. For something truly spine-chilling and literary, try Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough.

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Buy Hunger (Hammer 1) by Melvin Burgess at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hunger (Hammer 1) by Melvin Burgess at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Hunger (Hammer 1) by Melvin Burgess at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hunger (Hammer 1) by Melvin Burgess at


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