Review: Hunger, Lies and Plague by Michael Grant

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HungerAs I read these in quick succession, I thought I’d review them all at once.

The series picked up pace in Hunger and Lies; Grant’s world continues to be horrific after everyone aged 15 and over disappears suddenly one day, and the showdown between Sam and Caine has resulted in a divided group of children who don’t know what to do next.

Things just go from bad to so unbelievably worse in the FAYZ. In these three books, there’s famine because the kids were disorganised at first and ate everything processed and sweet before the veg now rotting in the fields. The Darkness continues to grow, infecting and mutating insects, snakes, dogs and kids with all sorts of different powers and abilities.

I really enjoyed the first two but I think the pace dipped a little bit in Plague. In the first two characters are developed interestingly; Sam continues to grow, Edilio becomes more responsibility but the loose council set up to manage resources starts falling apart.

I’m not sure I actually like many of the characters after Plague, which is a shame. The ones I did, Grant doesn’t seem to be developing any more in favour of Albert, who’s frustrating because he always puts personal gain over the good of the community. In particular Astrid was irritating me – her Christian beliefs just seem even more untenable in the face of everything going on, and I found her to be very unsympathetic. To be fair, Grant is developing her own sense of confusion and the difficulty she has maintaining these beliefs, but I’m not feeling her plight really. Grant’s use of ‘mouthparts’ instead of ‘teeth’ and ‘mouth’ is also a bit of an irritating quirk of his writing.

That said, the story races on at a steady pace – I’m hoping that in Fear and Light the Sam/Caine storyline is sidelined in favour of finding out what actually is going on, especially having access to some decent research about the mutations. With any series this long – they’re thick books – I think there’s going to be some dip, and I think it’s Plague in this series, partly because the very plague of the title barely happens.

I still think this is most closely identified with the Lord of the Flies; these lack the pathos of that novel, which I thought the first one was getting towards, but I look forward to seeing what the next two books hold.

 

Hunger 4/5

Lies 4/5

Plague 3/5

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