Book Review: Hunger by Michael Grant

Hunger by Michael Grant

Genre: Young adult, science-fiction, dystopia

Publishing Info: 2010 by Egmont

Pages: 608

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

It’s been three months since everyone under the age of fifteen became trapped in the bubble known as the FAYZ. Things have only gotten worse. Food is running out, and each day more kids are developing supernatural abilities. Soon tension rises between those with powers and those without, and when an unspeakable tragedy occurs, chaos erupts. It’s the normals against the mutants, and the battle promises to turn bloody.

But something more dangerous lurks. A sinister creature known as the Darkness has begun to call to the survivors in the FAYZ. It needs their powers to sustain its own. When the Darkness calls, someone will answer — with deadly results.

This is the second book in Michael Grant’s Gone series, and I liked it about the same amount I liked the first one. It was good and kept me gripped but it wasn’t spectacular.

In terms of pacing the first third or so was quite slow and I was wondering what the main plot line of the book was going to be. Once it got going though it was very exciting and made me want to keep reading. I also didn’t predict exactly what direction it was going in so there were some surprises which was great.

The first book had a lot of characters, but this book introduces even more for you to try and keep track of. Thankfully, I’m quite good at remembering which characters are which but I can imagine some readers getting the characters mixed up when there are so many of them. On the other hand I do like that there are a lot of characters because you get to see lots of different characters viewpoints and how different people are coping with being in the FAYZ.

Some of the characters brought forwards from the first book develop further in this book but most of them are just the same as in the first book. There isn’t much character development going on. Sam’s character is done really well and we see how the pressures of being in charge of Perdido Beach get to him. But most of the characters show very little change and development.

Plot holes. This is the biggest issue I have with the book. The end action sequence is filled with two gigantic plot holes. I think the problem is there are so many characters that the editors, and Grant himself, forgot that three of them even existed and were even at the final big fight scene. Did he forget he’d sent those characters there in a previous chapter? This gaping hole just annoyed me to no end and left me stunned that the author or editors hadn’t realised.

Overall I did enjoy it and in the end gave it four stars because it really did keep me gripped, but I did find that there were some problems with it. I will carry on and read the next one because Grant has managed to keep my curiosity going.

Overused Clichés in YA Fiction

As much as I love YA fiction some of it is just so repetitive and similar. It may be marketable for books to be this way but it just gets kind of annoying.

1) The love triangle. It’s just been overused and has become boring and off-putting for many readers. Nobody ever seems to do anything different with it and it’s got to the point where I just find it so irritating.

2) The nice girl falling for the idiot/jerk character. Really? Why would the MC even want to go out with this guy? It just doesn’t make any sense. Perhaps she considers him for a while but I can’t fathom why she would actually pick him to be with.

3) The character describing themselves in a mirror. Just no. Who walks up to a mirror and describes their appearance in detail? Unless it is character/plot relevant (e.g. they have bags under their eyes from lack of sleep due to *insert life issue here* or their skin has turned pink overnight).

4) The main character is the chosen one. They have been picked out by a higher force and there’s some kind of prophecy involved. See Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, The Matrix, Star Wars, Terminator, and the list could go on…

5) Dead or non-present parents. Unless it is plot relevant or plays some MAJOR role in the arc of the main character why are there never parents around? And if they are around they’re always really stereotypical and 2D. This is especially in realistic teen fiction stories because the most likely scenario is their parents are going to be around ignoring them for convenience just annoys me.

6) Good vs. Evil. Now, I’m not saying we should ditch this completely. Sometimes it’s nice to just read a simple good vs. evil story.

7) Insta-Love. For a start love at first sight is not biologically possible, only attraction at first sight. You love someone when you have got to know someone and they have got to know you and you understand each other. You can’t know that from the first moment you see them. Insta-attraction is, however, definitely possible.

8) The “strong” female character. A strong heroine does not constitute making a girl do man stuff. What makes a strong character is the same for male and female characters. They have to be rounded, believable, have back story, have a character arc etc. Just making a warrior of the female gender does not make that character a strong female character.

9) The girl who is super pretty but believes she is ugly. To some extent this is kind of realistic for many people. But it has just been overdone in fiction now.

10) Everyone is super attractive. Not everybody is super hot and looking like a model. Yes, some characters may be pretty/handsome, but that’s not everyone in the world! One of the things I love about Jane Eyre is that emphasis is put on how neither Jane or Rochester are at all conventionally attractive and that they fall in love because of their personalities.

These are just some things that annoy me whenever they crop up. Do something new people! /rant over

Book Review: Moment(s) by Lisa Terry

Moment(s) by Lisa Terry

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, New Adult

Publishing Info: Self-published January 10th 2015

Pages: 218

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

Scottish rocker Julian McLane lives life as normally as possible. But fame can be lonely, which might be why he’d spent a year looking for the girl he caught making a wish behind the concert arena. His fans aren’t happy to share him now that he has found Emilie—too bad their violent displeasure only pushes the couple together.

Emilie needs protection from rabid fans, so Julian convinces her to tour with him and his prank-loving bandmates so his security team can watch over her too. Julian thinks their coupledom is as right as a love song. But something’s very wrong about murder victims wearing the band’s concert bracelets. Someone seems intent on downsizing the fandom.

Julian holds a twisted mess of clues about the killer’s identity, with every day bringing a different theory, and he’s beginning to think finding the killer means losing Emilie forever.

Moment(s) is a mix of romance and mystery, with a string of murders in the background of the romantic dealings between Julian and Emilie. Despite there being some issues with the book I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I’m going to deal with that issue at the start so we can get it over and done with. Basically, the book needed more proofreading. Reading a self-published book I’m expecting there will be some typos and things as the writer doesn’t have access to the editing team as someone publishing under a publisher. However, there were a few too many obvious typos in almost every chapter that could have easily been ironed out through a proofread. The last couple of chapters before the epilogue also needed more work as it was just very confusing and was nowhere near as polished as the first half of the book.

Now we’ve got that out of the way let’s talk about the actual story. I thought the plot was good and there were plenty of twists that I didn’t see coming. I also liked the mix of romance and mystery, I thought that combination of genre worked really well in this book.

The characters were great and all very likable. The interactions between the band members was realistic and humorous and just so well written. I also liked the slow build of the relationship between Julian and Emilie and thought their relationship was written very well. It was a bit predictable that they would end up together but the mystery going on in the background meant there was something to keep me reading.

I had some issues with the gymnastics described in the first half of the book. In addition to performing their songs the band also do some gymnastics on stage. I get that they are doing things that gymnasts wouldn’t normally do as they are outside the competition environment but some of it just seemed unrealistic. It was hard to visualise but at one point they were going directly from one piece of equipment to the next but given the structure of the equipment I don’t see how they could be placed close enough together for them to be able to swing from one to the other.

Overall I feel like the story had the potential to be a better novel than this. It perhaps needed a little more time to be edited before it was published. However I did thoroughly enjoy reading it and would definitely recommend it. I will be reading more books by Lisa Terry.