Emily May's Reviews > Hunger

Hunger by Michael  Grant
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's review
Feb 05, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, sci-fi, 2011

Whilst this book impressed me greatly, as did the first of the series, I found that there were still those little things that majorly irked me, even amid the fast-paced sci-fi and action told in a gripping and imaginative way; it was these little things that again prevented me from awarding the novel the 5 stars it would have otherwise deserved.

So what's the problem?
I can sum it up in two points:
1) Sam is a lame protagonist.
2) All the girls are 'cute'.

Let me explain.

Pointer number one: Sam is one of those over the top do-gooders that just don't exist in real life, let alone at fifteen. He is given too much credit for his age by the author and his character becomes increasingly unrealistic, Sam is essentially the very ideal stereotype of the 'good guy', the hero, the constant martyr for the greater good. Oh please, he's a fifteen year old guy in a town with no adults, he should be drinking like a fish and raiding the porn sections at the local stores. His self-pitying attitude also results in generating absolutely zero sympathy.

Pointer number two: The girls of this novel are teeth-grindingly useless. Astrid the genius is Sam's 'beautiful' girlfriend and the dark and seductive Diana is Caine's obedient sidekick. Nearly all the females are trophies and repeatedly described as 'hot' or 'cute'. They also need protecting. There is way too much of this:

And nowhere near enough of this:

Whatever happened to the ass-kicking female? She isn't in this book. Other readers might point out characters like Brianna and Lana as examples of strong females. However, in the heat of battle when Brianna is required to be strong, she instead decides to run away and cook herself a pigeon. What the hell?? And Lana is not strong enough to defeat the lure of the 'Darkness' but rather leads the others into danger and needs to be rescued. By Sam, Caine and Duck (the male characters who come swooping in to rescue her), in fact. Also, most of the battle stuff is done man-to-man. Usually featuring Sam, Caine, Drake, Edilio, Orc and Jack; the girls tend to hide behind the rubble or are used to threaten their boyfriends (i.e. Caine threatening to kill Astrid unless Sam surrender). Seriously? Why are all the strongest mutants male, anyway? Is radiation that particular?

After this great big rant, you're gonna be thinking - how the hell did it get 4 stars then?

Well, it's a great story really. It's exciting and action-packed, there are always several sub-plots happening at once meaning that the book never gets slow or tiresome. Some of the characters are interesting and highly likeable and it's a good portrayal of growing up and the difficulties of being a teenager (only times by about a thousand). Every teenager should be reading this series, my only recommendation is that they follow it up with a large dose of Buffy The Vampire Slayer to remind themselves that having a vagina does not equal weak, pathetic damsel in distress. Quite the opposite at times.
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Reading Progress

February 5, 2011 – Shelved
February 16, 2011 – Started Reading
February 23, 2011 –
page 361
February 24, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-50 of 50) (50 new)

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Heather-Jane great review thanks:) now reading it today so will write a review afterwards and i agree with the whole macho male thing, stupid blonde pretty girls x

Emily May HushHush xPatchx wrote: "great review thanks:) now reading it today so will write a review afterwards and i agree with the whole macho male thing, stupid blonde pretty girls x"

Look forward to reading it :) thanks for the comment!

Mahesh Subramaniam Yeah i had that problem as well with the female characters. Brianna was really likeable but after all that running she picks the finale fight to give up? And Lana was also a little lost in this book. And i agree with you on the Sam being lame he complained way too much.

Emily May Mahesh wrote: "Yeah i had that problem as well with the female characters. Brianna was really likeable but after all that running she picks the finale fight to give up? And Lana was also a little lost in this boo..."

Yeah, I want to see more of the Brianna we saw early on! :)

Susie Carson I disagree that Sam is lame and unrealistic. Not every 15 year old boy would go straight to drinking and porn. I find it sad that you have so low an opinion of males.
As for your view on the females in the book, I agree. I wish Astrid would get some powers, and that all the girls would start kicking some butt.

message 6: by Emily May (last edited Oct 20, 2011 11:29AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Emily May I have a realistic view, and I don't just mean males, I think teenage girls would be equally irresponsible. Do you really think it likely that a 15 year old would always be so self-sacrificing and troubled by morality? The part about drinking/porn was a bit of a jokey exaggeration, granted, but he's still not a believable character.

Heather-Jane I do see both of your points but i am leaning towards the side that most males would NOT act so self-giving and leader-like without being somewhat cocky or demanding. I think the girls are slightly too damsel-in-distress for my taste too, but the book itself is good:D

Emily May For me, Sam just acts far older and wiser than he's meant to be... it's not a male/female thing, it's because he's a fifteen year old acting like a 50 year old (and even then it's debatable as to whether they would be willing to play the constant martyr for the greater good).

Heather-Jane Hm, yeah i get that and as i havn't read anymore since the start of the year i cannot remember him all too well. I do agree with that though, i doubt the boys in my year would act heroic if they were offered the part of being leader to all.

Diamond Eyes Your complaints are the stuff that make the story REAL. Yeah, Sam is a good-doer... because people have expectations of him and he feels it. Hunger shows how much he would rather be drinking and being a kid... but unless he cracks that just isn't in his personality.

Why is Sam in the position that he is in? Because he let a girl manipulate him... because he is trying to get sex. Yeah... he doesn't have it all figured out yet - but you can see him working on it and he KNOWS he's being used.

I had the same personalty type when I was that age... and relationships were politics.

Breeze was set up and lost out on the battle because she has a super-woman complex... what stuck me most was that she kept moving even though she was hurt.. probably about the same as Sam and Sam almost didn't make it with his injuries.

The difference between the heros of the Gone charectors and other books... these guys seem to have a normal kids weaknesses.

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

So true, it actually annoys the hell out of me when Sam and Caine are all high and mighty.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

So true, it actually annoys the hell out of me when Sam and Caine are all high and mighty.

message 13: by Bobatastic (new)

Bobatastic Is 11 too young to read this

Emily May There's some gory parts later on but it depends whether you're okay with that or not - I would have probably enjoyed this at 11.

Rashika (is tired) well okay i agree with the whole girl hiding behind the dudes backs, i was hoping that there would be ass kicking females as well as males. But i really like the fact that Sam is so good. I mean if all the characters were like people in real life it would just be depressing.

Emily May It's just a matter of taste, I guess. I prefer characters who seem "real", but I understand others prefer something unlike reality.

message 17: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin Why are all the strongest mutants male, anyway? Is radiation that particular?
Haha, I love it. Fantastic point. I wish there were at least one or two female characters with powers that were useful for fighting, although I think that maybe Dekka could. But despite their lack of equal powers, I really do adore some of the girls in these books... Lana especially.

Emily May Thanks :) And I do too, just wish some of them were a bit tougher at times instead of being there just to be the guy's girlfriends. That aside, I love how this series has been consistently good throughout, IMO anyway.

message 19: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin That's really good to hear! I've only read the first two, and while I really enjoyed them I'm a little nervous about whether or not the series will lose steam.

message 20: by Josh (last edited Jan 29, 2013 10:14PM) (new) - added it

Josh Um if you have a problem with the protagonist not being your stereotypical teenage boy then you shouldn't really read young adult novels. Especially if their fantasy. No one seems to have a problem with that when it comes to the Harry Potter series. It's under FICTION for a reason.

What I'm getting out of your review is bitterness due to the high and almighty males and not enough "tough" females characters. Sorry I just can't take your review seriously.

Emily May 1) In the past year I've read over 200 young adult novels and I've found plenty of examples of excellent male teen characters. Sam is not only an unrealistic teen guy, he is also an unrealistic human being - everyone has flaws, no one is that much of a hero.

2) I'm not sure what the point of your second comment is other than to mistake a negative review for some kind of bitter vendetta.

message 22: by Josh (last edited Jan 29, 2013 10:28PM) (new) - added it

Josh Hense the word "Fiction". Not every young adult novel is going to portray your typical teenage hormone-filled boy of today. That would just be boring, and the book would lose it's true meaning. And Sam does have flaws, did you not read Gone?

And yes that is the exact point of my second comment. Personally, I don't think I mistook anything. It's just my personal opinion on your review.

Emily May Obviously you don't understand the idea of having personal opinions or you wouldn't be attacking my opinion of Sam.

But whatever. What I'd really like to know is why on earth you think, out of all the books I read, I've taken the time to target Michael Grant and this series in particular for my bitter and evil plans? Come on, you know that doesn't make sense, don't you? And I think we both know that the only one suffering from bitterness is yourself because you can't respect any negative opinions of books you like.

Read your original comment again, think about it, and grow up.

message 24: by Josh (last edited Jan 29, 2013 10:43PM) (new) - added it

Josh Calm down it's called an opinion. You posted your review for everyone to see so I can comment about my thoughts as well. And I'm not "attacking" anything. You obviously can't handle anyone going against what you have to say as if we all have to agree with you.

You're telling me to grow up? lol You should really take your own advice on this one. You're just coming off as a bit hypocritical now.

message 25: by Emily May (last edited Jan 29, 2013 10:52PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Emily May I see, now you're crying victim. Of course.

Let me outline again for you what actually happened here.

I posted my opinion.
You commented on my opinion accusing me of being "bitter".
I responded politely and suggested you were mistaken.
You commented again reiterating your initial accusation.
I no longer feel like being polite to a troll.

"You obviously can't handle anyone going against what you have to say as if we all have to agree with you."

Do you genuinely not realise that your statement here describes yourself completely?

message 26: by Brice4795 (new)

Brice4795 I feel that if you have read the rest of the books your opinion has to have changed?? If not, why?

Emily May My opinion of this book hasn't changed, why would it? As for the series as a whole, it gets better but still suffers from the same problems.

Caraline hmm... I think you're opinion of 15 year old boys is really wrong and stereotypical...

Caraline I thought Sam was super believable actually... I guess I see what you mean about the girls, but don't you see a change in them by the series end???

Emily May It is my personal preference that I don't like "heroes" because they are unrealistic. However, I made a mistake in using the term "guy" at all because my opinion on this isn't gendered - I believe many people would abuse and exploit a situation like this to their own advantage if possible and I believe no one would be as much of a moral do-gooder as Sam was in the first two books.

BUT, I did believe there were improvements by the series end and I said so in my review of Light. I wrote this review when I had only read the first two books.

Caitlin Well said!

Jasmin mm.. I like the books, nd since I generally tend to be feminists. this goes to show I read this books in a earlier stage in my life, because I hadn't noticed.
you are so right..
though I still likw the books nd still waiting to see how things turn out in the end.

message 33: by Conor (new)

Conor Mcevoy Brianna is only 12. I am too and I would probably do the same if that was the case . but great review

Emily May Thanks :) I think it wouldn't have bothered me so much if I felt like the guys were equal in their weaknesses. But, because the guys were all superheroes who did all the big fighting, it put more emphasis on the girls being weak.

Fanny Totally agree. I didn't think much of it first as Brianna was often the one to go fighting against Drake, but now that I've read your review, I remember that it's true - the boys are the strong ones. I often see that in many series, and I see it now in this series too. But don't get me wrong - I still think this is the best series I've read.

Emily May I agree. I also think it improves a lot later as the characters become more developed and we are shown all sides of their personalities - the strengths and weaknesses.

Fanny Indeed.

message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

I wish more people admired Buffy, like old times.

Emily May *sigh* Buffy is still my favourite show ever.

Jessica Go Girl!!

message 41: by Veronica (new)

Veronica Emily, Buffy is seriously my favourite show in the history of TV. It is still one of the best demonstrations of a strong heroine out there, in my opinion. Thank you for your balanced, thoughtful reviews. I have not read a lot of the books you have, but your reviews make me think that we are similar in what we value in a story. Definitely adding this one to my list of possible books to read.

Vandita Undoubtedly, this is the best review of Hunger on GR. Well done!

But I have a slight disagreement on the point of Brianna. She didn't run away from the fight and eat pigeons. In fact she wanted to go inside to scout. But Sam had ordered her not to go in. So she had tried to get to the roof for a better view. Though that didn't happen as she got stuck on the roof.

I feel that Brianna is a strong character. Probably the strongest among the females. She is bold, intelligent and has a good sense of humor. I like her better than the other characters.

I have only read the first two books, so I have yet to see how she fairs in the rest of the books.

Other than that, I loved your review. :)

Matti I agree with the weak female portrayal but I loved the story and was hoing since Diana read Astrids mutant level that that would mean she had a growing power we might discover later on so she isn't JUST Astrid the genius, girlfriend to Sam and sister to Petey

message 44: by Hannah (new) - added it

Hannah I love the last line about having a vagina doesn't equal a weak woman. I read these books years ago and I agree with what you say about the girls in it.

Daniel McFarlane oh dats deep!

message 46: by Fantasticwolf (new)

Fantasticwolf Nice

CharlotteCarol About Sam raiding porn stashes? I would guess that he is aware of it. I think it's just because he hasn't really developed any sense of "dirty humor", like Quinn or even Zil. Having a really dirty-minded, fun and laughable protagonist kind of takes away the point of the GONE series. To grow up when there's nobody's shoulder to cry on anymore. Sam had to grow up pretty quickly to take care of the kids. Why he appears 'weak?' He comes to a point where he begins to question why he is running Perdido Beach if nobody is going to listen to him. So saying that he isn't raiding a porn section isn't really a sin for the book. I can agree with the fact that everyone (excluding people like Drake's Power Plant soldiers) to be beautiful and slightly useless. I also kind of exclude Diana and book 1 Lana in this, too because they are both strong and independent people, unlike most of the other female characters in the FAYZ.
But saying that ALL the female characters (good or evil) are airheads or runners isn't very fair because the ones that are, are supposed to be. Take Zil Sperry's girlfriend as an example, the hair twirling, giggling girl. She is definitely supposed to be partially useless and dumb when she's written in, I think.
That's just my opinion, though =P

message 48: by Fatimah (new) - added it

Fatimah Rashid I totally agree with you! I love this book but the female characters definitely should've been badasses too!

TheBananaLord I agree with your statement about how the girls aren't as strong. In the book Hunger if the girls were stronger they wouldn't have needed the boy's help. If that had happened many of the other conflicts would have been resolved earlier. Like when Orc saved Dekka, she thought she didn't need help, but she did. Deck was the only girl other than Brittney who is strong.

Arran Trott started reading this book and it has an amazing story line but lacking that special ingredient.

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