October 18, 2014

Book review: Hunger by Michael Grant

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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.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

For the "Second Chance" square in the Reading Outside the Box challenge, I chose a book that I started reading a while ago but didn't finish. This time, I finished it for the challenge. The book is Hunger, the second in Michael Grant's Gone series. I read Gone in early 2012 and started Hunger later in the year, but it didn't hold my interest. For those who know my reading habits, I rarely stop reading a book once I start it, so that tells you something about what I thought of Hunger.

The problem with it is that Gone introduced an interesting world that I wanted to learn more about, the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone). One day, the adults all disappeared, and the children were trapped in a bubble that's disconnected from the outside world. A ton of questions jumped through my head. What caused the FAYZ? What is it? Where did the adults go? How can the kids escape it?

Unfortunately, while the first book caught my attention by prompting those questions, the questions weren't answered. I went into Hunger thinking that I would get some of those answers. Not so. Even worse, the kids weren't even interested in finding out the answers themselves. After the first hundred pages where the kids in the FAYZ did nothing interesting, I gave up the first time. This time through, I forced myself to re-read it without any expectations of learning more about the FAYZ.

With that mindset, this second reading went a little better. I liked some of the special powers that the kids had (a side effect of the FAYZ), and the plot became more interesting about halfway through the book. Hunger is still much too long. Coming in at almost 600 pages, it's about twice as long as it needs to be. The book switches between many scenes, and half of the scenes are filler. Also, the kids really started to annoy me. I get it that the author was trying to invoke some type of Lord of the Flies feeling, but it didn't work because instead of worrying about their petty problems, the kids should have focused on how to escape the FAYZ or at least contact the world outside. I can sympathize with some of the problems they faced, but I guess reading about them for 600 pages just wore me down.

Overall, this was a 2.5 star book that I'm rounding up to 3. Despite a decent first book, I don't think I'm going to continue reading the rest of this series.

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