Monday, 13 May 2013

Hunger by Michael Grant **Review**

This is the second book in the Gone series, so this review may contain spoilers for the first book. Read my review of Gone (book one) HERE.

Hunger by Michael Grant
Series: Gone #2
Pages: 586
Publisher: Egmont
Release date: 6th September 2010
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

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Goodreads synopsis:
This is the second book in the Gone series. If you haven't read Gone, but intend to, don't read this synopsis or review, as it contains spoilers for the first book.

It's been three months since everyone under the age of fifteen became trapped in the bubble known as the FAYZ. Things have only gotten worse. Food is running out, and each day more kids are developing supernatural abilities. Soon tension rises between those with powers and those without, and when an unspeakable tragedy occurs, chaos erupts. It's the normals against the mutants, and the battle promises to turn bloody. But something more dangerous lurks. A sinister creature known as the Darkness has begun to call to the survivors in the FAYZ. It needs their powers to sustain its own. When the Darkness calls, someone will answer -- with deadly results.
I was so impressed by the first book in this series, Gone, that I knew I had to pick this book up straight away when I'd finished it. I'm so glad that I'd decided to continue with the series, because this was even better than book one.
The book begins three months after the end of Gone, and not a lot has changed - except the supply of food, which is dangerously close to running out, and kids are starting to starve. When we catch up with Sam and his friends, they are out, attempting to find food growing in various places in the FAYZ that is still okay to eat. They find a field of cabbages ripe for the picking. But things were never going to be as simple as just walking out and picking them.
The Coyotes and the Seagulls were not the only animals to have mutated along with some of the kids, evolving in strange and unexplainable ways - so are the worms. They have become territorial eating machines, and they will not let the kids get their hands on the cabbages. They've sprouted razor sharp teeth and an improbable sense of sight. E.Z., a kid we haven't met before, pays the price for this new discovery.
This is how Hunger begins, and it soon gets a whole lot worse.
I really enjoyed how the book started - straight into the action, and into the heart of the biggest problem the kids are currently faced with - hunger. The kids are starving, and they're looking for someone to blame - and because he's in charge, that someone is Sam. I honestly don't know how he managed to cope as well as he did throughout this instalment of the series - he was under some serious stress even at the beginning, and problems were just about to start piling up and getting out of control. I really felt for him, and I know I definitely couldn't have done what he did, if I found myself in that situation!

The story is alarmingly similar for Caine, and the other kids up at Coates (except we don't feel sorry for them, because they're the bad guys - boo!). They are nearly out of food, and have problems of their own to deal with. After being pretty much defeated by Sam in the battle at the plaza at the end of the first book, Caine goes missing, wandering off into the desert with Pack Leader - the head Coyote - and doesn't return for several days. When he finally reappears, he is dehydrated, and apparently mad - having nightmares, hallucinating, and destroying things (and people) with his powers in his madness. This has gone on for the three months that separate Gone and Hunger, but now Caine is starting to return to his senses - but his mind is still not entirely his own. The creature, the monster - the Darkness - that lurks in the mineshaft in the abandoned town has found a way into his head, and it seems to have sinister plans to use him for its own evil will.
In Gone, I hated Caine (which makes him a great character). He was the bad buy - not as bad as Drake, but still pretty bad - the one that caused all the trouble for Sam and the other kids of Perdido Beach. But in Hunger, he isn't quite himself, and by the end of the book, I almost felt sorry for him. I loved how Coates kids' story changed in this book, and the power dynamic of their group seemed to shift slightly - it was interesting seeing how quickly things could change, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will change again in book three, Lies.

Like in Gone, the point of view that the story is told from switches from character to character, and there are quite a few that we get to see. Obviously Sam and Caine are two of them, but we also have Lana, Astrid, Edillio, Drake, Diana etc, and then we have some new characters, Zil, Duck and Brittney, and I loved learning about all of these new characters - especially Duck and Brittney, considering what happens to both of them. We meet Duck when he's lying out in a swimming pool he found and cleaned for himself, relaxing away from the mayhem that the rest of the kids seem to cause. He likes peace and quiet. But that is soon shattered when Zil and his little group of bullies arrive and try to take the pool away from him. He gets mad, and that's when his extremely strange power starts to emerge. I think Duck's power is one of my favourites so far - not because I'd want that power, because I really wouldn't - but because it's one of the strangest and most intriguing, and eventually, he uses it in a few creative and cool way. Brittney also seems to have developed a power, but it's not one that any of the other kids are going to know about - she has no way of telling them, and it seems, by the end of the book, that she may never be able to (but that's all I'm saying - I really don't want to give it away!).
I really enjoy that the books in this series switch between so many characters, and so often. I don't think that using so many different characters' points of view usually works, but in these books, it really does. It makes the story fast-paced, more gripping and much more interesting, as each switch to a new character gives us a glimpse of a different story line, and it has kept me glued to the page all the way through both books.

I have to say, at the end of Gone, I wasn't entirely sure where the story would go next, and if I would be as gripped by it. The story in the first book is really clearcut - everyone over the age of 14 has disappeared and the kids have to learn how to work together to survive. But there is a rivalry between the kids of Perdido Beach and Coates Academy - between Sam and Caine - and the unknown danger of what happens on your fifteenth birthday.
The story in Hunger, although there is obviously the problem of starvation, is not as immediately obvious. However, once a tragic accident occurs in Perdido Beach, things start to get ugly between the 'freaks' (those with a power), and the 'normals' (those without), and the threat of the creature, the Darkness, in the mine, soon becomes very prominent and all-too real.  It was just as thrilling - if not, more so - than the conflict between Sam and Caine in the first book.

I loved every moment of Hunger - it was fast-paced, action-packed, nerve-wracking and hugely exciting. I can't wait to see what's going to happen in the third instalment of the series, Lies!
If you haven't already picked up these books, or if you've only read book one, I really urge you to pick them up. It's like nothing else I've ever read.

4.5 stars


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