Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book Review: "Hunger" by Michael Grant- Also, Special Sneak Preview of "Lies", Book 3 of the "Gone" Series

It's been three months since everyone under the age of fifteen became trapped in the bubble known as the FAYZ.

Three months since all the adults disappeared.


Food ran out weeks ago... Everyone is starving, but no one wants to figure out a solution. And each day, more and more kids are evolving, developing supernatural abilities that set them apart from the kids without powers.

Tension rises and chaos is descending upon the town.  It's the normal kids against the mutants.  Each kid is out for himself, and even the good ones turn murderous.

But a larger problem looms.  The Darkness, a sinister creature that has lived buried deep in the hills, begins calling to some of the teens in the FAYZ.  Calling to them, guiding them, manipulating them.

The Darkness has awakened.  And it is hungry.

My Review:

Many of you know that I absolutely adore Michael Grant.  I had read "Gone" before having the opportunity to meet him, and after hearing him speak about the entire series,  I was even more hooked.  I absolutely could not wait to read the whole series.  

The thing about reviewing "Hunger" is that if you have not read "Gone" or at least my review of it, I am not quite sure of what you will get out of it.  That said, if you have you will surely follow along.  Whether you have or have not, I strongly suggest you read the entire series, as I am personally dubbing it one of the best YA series out there.

So, a very short re-cap of "Gone" first.  One day, all the kids of Perdido Beach, CA are going about their business when all of a sudden all of the adults (and soon to find out anyone over 15) just disappear.  Poof!  Gone, as the title would suggest.  Where they are, nobody has a darned clue.  What happens next is somewhat of a "Lord of the Flies" situation, where 2 groups, the Perdido Beach kids, and the Coates Academy (private school in the same area) start facing the problems of having no adults, no guidance, and the threat of each other.  Besides all of this, there seems to be a "barrier" surrounding most of Perdido Beach that no one can either exit through, or apparently enter through.  Basically, they are trapped.  Ok, there's a hint of what "Gone" was about so you at least have a leg to stand on for "Hunger".

By the time "Hunger" starts, its 3 months later.  The Perdido Beach kids, led by Sam have been sort of segregating into groups of kids who have mutant powers, and those who don't.  The Coates kids, led by Caine (Sam's long lost fraternal twin), who are sort of the villains in the story, are pretty much the same pains in the butt they were in the first book, having both mutants and "normals" as well.  The one thing they both share, is inevitably....Hunger.  Food is really low.  Nobody had thought ahead that at some point, being entrapped in the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone as it was dubbed) food would become scarce.  The kids are basically living off of canned food, which is also running out at an alarming rate.

While the scarcity of the food is more than enough to cause conflicts to occur, people to start to lose their mind, there is another danger.  The "gaiophage" (or the darkness) as it likes to call itself is also very hungry.  The gaiophage is some sort of being, still not sure what the heck it is, it is hinted that it was some type of alien matter that had arrived 13 years earlier by catching a ride along a meteorite that struck right near the local power plant.  This "being" has plans of it's own.  It needs to feed, which turns out to be on Uranium.  It has taken control of some of the kid's minds and has them "working" for it and controlling their thoughts as well.  This is not good.  If fed, it has figured out a way to gain an actual shape, a form that is, and go out and be the most powerful being anyone has ever seen.  Indestructible.

While the kids are trying to figure out what to do about food, there are a few other problems.  Caine and his crew have broken into the power plant, cut off electricity, therefore light to Perdido Beach, as well as obtained some of the Uranium to feed the gaiophage.  I'm not going to talk too much more about the gaiophage, as if I continue, I will give away what happens at the end, and that is somewhat huge....  Back to the problems at hand... no electricity, food scarce and to the point of even fields of crops are really not able to be used because of mutant worms that around a foot long, have razor sharp teeth and thousands of legs.  These "zekes" as they are called stay within the confines of the crop fields, but dare try to go in there and pick a cabbage let's say and you have hundreds of them swarming at you with their teeth chomping their way through you leaving not much behind.  So, for now... no food in the fields.  Next we have this little problem amongst the Perdido kids.  Some of the "normals" or kids without any powers are forming their own little group against the mutants, or kids with certain, different powers.  They feel that the freaks are treated better and they will not stand for it anymore.  

Here comes the typical rest of a "Dave" review.  I will end it with some questions for you to think about.  What happens between the freaks and the normals?  What happens between the Perdido beach kids and the Coates kids?  What do they both do for food, electricity? What happens to the gaiophage?  Does it get it's Uranium, which will allow it to take over anything it wants?  Who dies and why?  (plenty of kids do die, and stay dead too :o) What the heck does that mean????)  What new powers are discovered amongst the kids?  Are there any more clues as to what in the world the FAYZ actually is and why all the adults just poofed? What the heck is going on?????

Well, I hope you can appreciate what I have and have not given to you in this review.  Like I said in the beginning, this is a tough book to review for those of you who have not read "Gone" yet.  Still, I hope that I have given you enough to at least want to go out there and try it.  I promise you will not be disappointed.  As a matter of fact, as promised I will give you the synopisis that is on the back cover of the ARC I just received of book 3, "Lies" which I believe is due out in May (or maybe a bit sooner) so those of you out there who are already "Gone" series fans have an idea what is next.  Also, I have already started it and have permission to review it as soon as I am done.  I will wait to hear some responses to this review before I do.  I want to know who out there has read either of the first two books and your thoughts.  It would be neat if we could actually have a discussion under this posting about the FAYZ.  If you have read them, you know that a discussion is definitely something that is doable.  

For all you "Gone" series fans out there, there is something I happen to catch a glimpse of when just scanning through "Lies" and I really want to share it with you.  It is not a "spoiler" at all, just something that I KNOW you have wondered about as I have many, many times throughout the first 2 books, and have been given NO clue about either.  Also, keep in mind that I just scanned a few pages in the middle of the book before starting it, so if I'm off, or what I'm about to tell you is just someone's dream in the FAYZ, and I didn't read far enough, I apologize.  None the less, I happen to flip to a chapter and see that it appears that outside the FAYZ, outside the dome, people are aware of the FAYZ.  They do not know "what" it is, but they do know "that" it exists.  Sam's mom is one of the spokespeople supposedly for the families of those who have children in the FAYZ.  The only knowledge they have is from, believe it or not, the twins from "Gone".  It does mention something about a prophetess in "Lies" being able to communicate with the people on the outside, but I didn't read on to know find out more about that interesting fact.  Somehow, when they (twins) "poofed" they landed outside in safety.  Now, that's all I really saw.  I don't know if anyone else appeared on the outside after they poofed.  I didn't want to read on.  Actually, I did, but I decided it would be better to start from the beginning and get to pg. 110 when it was really time to get there.  Anyway, I know that didn't spoil anything as I have no idea what is really going on, but I have been wondering this whole time if people on the outside knew anything about the FAYZ.  I don't know if they can see in, don't know if anyone else comes out and tell stories about what goes on inside, but I know they know of it's existence and the fact that no matter what they did to try, (and they tried EVERYTHING), they can not get inside.  Also, keep in mind, that the twins poofed early on, so there was not much they could actually tell.  Again, if anyone else poofed out, which I have no idea, they would be able to tell what has gone on to the point they left.  I will tell more about this when I review "Lies" soon, but I was super excited (and lucky) when I happen to randomly turn to that page when I was scoping out the book.  It was just one of those questions that was lingering in my mind the WHOLE time and I hope you are satisfied if that was on your mind as well..... Without further delay, here's the preview of "Lies", book 3 in the "Gone" series:

It happens in one night: A girl who died now walks among the living; Zil and the Human Crew set fire to Perdido Beach; and amid the flames and smoke, Sam sees the figure of the boy he fears the most: Drake.  But Drake is dead.  Sam and Caine defeated him along with the Darkness (gaiophage)- or so they thought.

As Perdido Beach burns, battles rage: Astrid against the town council; the Human Crew versus the mutants; and Sam against Drake (Caine's lieutenant).  And the prophetess Orsay and her companion, Nerezza, are preaching that death will set them all free.  As life in the FAYZ becomes more desperate, no one knows who they can trust.




  1. Wow, you have blown me away. I love how he has one Word for his books. I have to read Gone first and then I'm off the Hunger. Lots of stuff going on in Hunger and sounds very interesting. Thanks for the review and the heads up on Lies.

    dorcontest at gmail dot com

  2. This sounds awesome!!! I am going to have to add it to my already to long list of books I want to read...if only my children didn't need to be fed! ;)

    sugerhslk at hotmail dot com

  3. So I didn't actually read your review. I would, but I know you often include plot points and I still want to read this, so I'm going to pass on the review. I will say that I'm excited to read it though. I thought Gone was so intense and even though it's really long, it never really lets up or feels too slow. I hope both Hunger and Lies is the same.