Author: Michael Grant
Series: Gone Series
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publish Date: May 26th, 2009
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
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. GONE.
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.
I generally avoid the science fiction genre because most of the technological and scientific terminology, references, and enhancements go way over my head, leaving me baffled and disinterested. Similarly, I often dislike the storylines because they’re so immersed in the technological and scientific aspects of the book and are generally extremely unbelievable, highly coincidental, or an unfortunate combination of the two.
Unfortunately, Hunger served to merely reinforce these preconceived notions and hesitancies with a complex, completely unrealistic plot that was laden with outrageous twists and turns. I had absolutely no idea what was going to be around the corner, let alone what was happening at any given moment. Furthermore, there were a multitude of scenes that seemed entirely too perfect to be realistic; each component was perfectly alined, and the characters all “happened” to be in a given place at a given time, making the unfolding events even less believable.
That being said, the book could have been significantly shorter and accomplished the exact same thing. 600 pages of circuitous text and exceedingly unnecessary plot points was enough to make me want to pull out my own hair.
While the book was exceedingly well-written with noteworthy dialogue and consistent pacing, there were many questions that were posed and an even greater number that were left unresolved, even by the end of the work. Disappointingly, both readers and the characters are left with virtually the same information or lack thereof that was present at the conclusion of the first installment. Consequently, as a reader, I found the satisfaction factor associated with gradually uncovering new details to be intrinsically absent.
The characters, all of which were under the age of sixteen, didn’t remotely act like children. Children don’t think through their actions before committing to them – they act on instinct with little to no forethought. While they were still immature and whined more often than would be acceptable or tolerated of an adult character in a comparable novel, they were savagely killing and beating one another, backstabbing and betraying each other, entering into serious relationships, etc. To put it simply, they acted like adults, which merely broadened the separation between Grant’s fictional universe and reality. Their behavior, in some instances, would not even be acceptable or expected of your average adult (barring serial killers and the like), let alone an eleven or twelve year old. While I understand that, with the host of available characters, Grant may have altered their behavior in an attempt to create drama and suspense as well as capture reader interest, it would have been less of an issue if he had instead adjusted the ages of his characters to more closely correlate with their thoughts and actions. Maybe it’s just me, but I have a fairly strong aversion to characters that don’t act their respective ages.
On a similar note, the alarming frequency and apparent longevity of relationships was similarly alarming for children of such a young age. Perhaps the established parameters associated with a relationship were even more surprising. In reality, very, very few individuals find their soulmates at the ages of 13, 14, or even 15, and their relationships are hardly serious at that age. As adolescents, holding hands is considered scandalous and gossip-worthy, let alone making it to a six months or one year anniversary. In comparison, the characters in Hunger were completely unphased by the all-too-common kissing, possessiveness, and moving in with one another. Once again, I’m highly convinced that I read a book about adults disguised as miniature humans.
Despite this disconnect, the primary relationship in the novel between Sam and Astrid was almost laughable. They interacted for all of about 20 pages in the entire work, and their encounters were limited to business-oriented conversations about the state of the FAYZ and its inhabitants. Without any physical or verbal indications that they were a couple, I would have guessed that they were friends at best, potentially even acquaintances.
Furthermore, the novel failed to establish dichotomies between various forces, such as good versus evil or right versus wrong. Few of the characters had any semblance of an established conscience, potentially due to their ages, and there was consequently no delineation between the morality of the actions of the protagonists and the antagonists. This also caused me to lose interest to the point that I no longer cared which side ultimately triumphed.
Based upon the Goodreads reviews that I read earlier today, my opinion is a highly unpopular one. Then again, I’m generally not a fan of science fiction novels, so take my review with a grain of salt and recognize that your experience while reading Hunger could be entirely different with a much more positive spin. My sole recommendation is not to pick up this book if you are not a science fiction fanatic as it could dissuade you from reading other higher quality works within the genre.
I do, unfortunately, feel obligated to continue with the series, as I received all of the books as a Christmas present a few years ago, so this could be an interesting few weeks!
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