Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hunger by Michael Grant [Review + Giveaway]

Young Adult, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Paranormal
Publication.Date  May 26th 2009 (Hardcover edition)
Published By:  Katherine Tegan Books
WebsiteMichael Grant 

My review copy:Review copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

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.

“Brianna dropped the skateboard in front of Sam. "Don't worry: I won't let you fall off."
"Yeah? Then why did you bring the helmet?"

Brianna tossed it to him. "In case you fall off.”
“No. I believe in free will. I think we make our own decisions and carry out our own actions. And our actions have consequences. The world is what we make it. But I think sometime we can ask God to help us and He will. Sometime I think He looks down and say, 'Wow, look what those idiots are up to now. I guess I better help them along a little'.”
“Superpowers, don't always make you a superhero."
“Sam, that's a great concept. And maybe you believe it. But I'm black and I'm a lesbian, so let me tell you: From what I know? Personal experience? There are always lines.”
“So, Diana thought, that was the bait she had to lay out for Jack. Of course. What else? He might lust for Diana, and long for Brianna, but Jack’s true love was made of silicon.”
“Then what happens? Diana demanded
“Then were hit with massive doeses of radiation. It’s invisible, but its like someone is shooting tiny bullets at you. They blow millions of tiny holes through your body. You get sick. Your hair falls out. You vomit. You die”

     Thrilling, disturbing, richly textured and breathlessly action-packed, Michael Grant's second book in the GONE series is absolutely phenomenal!

     It's been almost three months since all the adults disappeared and the forcefield - that is referred to as the FAYZ - encased the town of Perdido Beach, CA. And things are not getting any better. The food supplies have run out. The kids are starving. And no one has come to their rescue. At this point, it becomes clear that there will be no help from the outside world - there is no outside world, there's only the FAYZ.

     Sam and his friends are doing everything they can to come up with something to eat. They propose harvesting fruits and vegetables from the fields surrounding the town, but the kids refuse to work. They're just kids, they still expect others to take care of them. The already bad food situation gets even worse, when huge worms are found hiding in the cabbage patch that is their main supply of food. And they're not just any worms, they're mutated and very territorial, ready to rip apart anyone who comes close.

     Kids who turn 15 start disappearing without a trace. Poof and they're gone. One by one. And no one knows what happens to them, where they go, if they die or cross over to the other side.

     After one of the kids with supernatural powers (a "mutant") accidentally kills his "normal" friend, a group called the Human Crew is set up. Consisting of people who haven't (yet?) developed any supernatural abilities, the group refuses to follow the leadership of "freaks", believing them to be evil. It doesn't take long for the situation to spin out of control.

     On top of all that, there is also the Coates Academy crew to worry about, with Sam's twin brother, Caine, plotting to take over the nuclear power plant.
And the Gaiaphage. Awake now. Getting stronger, more powerful. And hungry. So hungry...

     Wow, what an incredibly intense sequel that was! After the absolutely mind-blowing beginning of the series, I didn't think Michael Grant will be able to keep up with the action, tension and mystery, but he totally outdid himself ten times over with Hunger! It was even more gripping and eye-popping than Gone. Even darker, grittier and more heart-pounding. Grant managed to expand the world even further - we spend more time at the power plant, in the mine shaft and in the fields/forests surrounding the town - and introduce us to some new, fascinating characters.

      I really enjoyed getting to know all the supporting cast, especially Computer Jack, Brianna and Duck. All these characters - with all their awesome abilities - added a lot of flavor to the plot, their stories were all unique, their personalities - vibrant and distinct. At the same time, we also got to know the lead characters better, which was equally wonderful. I feel that they became more real and less fictional to me. I definitely care a whole lot more about them now, even about some of the "bad guys" from Coates Academy. Hunger is less black-and-white than Gone was. The things we learn about the characters and their past put things in a different perspective, which results in this book being even more captivating and emotionally engaging!

     I felt really sorry for Sam at times, he was chosen to be the leader and he eventually gave in and accepted this responsibility, but it didn't get any easier for him. Quite the opposite, he was even more desperate, cracking under all the pressure, afraid to make a mistake, not wanting to let anyone down. He really grew as a character, became mentally and physically stronger, more fierce and determined, but never less afraid. Never less scared. He did his best, but more often than not even his best was not enough to save everyone. His desperation was almost palpable.

     I definitely appreciated the fact that Grant didn't hold back or try to sugarcoat things, making them more YA-friendly. This series is on the mature side of YA. It contains scenes of graphic violence, torture and death. It also deals with some difficult themes, such as tolerance, discrimination and bullying, starvation and how it affects people, sacrifice and betrayal. It entertains you with the non-stop action, but it also gives you something to think about. You flip through the pages like a maniac, you root for the characters, you worry and cry with them, you mourn them when they die (and some of them ARE going to die), you occasionally chuckle at the witty remarks and clever lines. You live this book. It totally and completely consumes you.

     I can't tell you how much I love this series. I am so glad I finally got a chance to read it, as it's most certainly one of the best YA series ever written. Fans of dystopian literature are sure to fell in love with this one. It really packs a strong punch!

What you can win: the entire GONE series - books 1-6! 
Open to: International
Ends: May 15th

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