Book Review: The Hungry

This is the 10th review I am doing for the Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge. The goal was to read and review 12 books in 2011. I’ve read way more than 12 books, but have been very slow in the reviewing. Only 2 more to go though, I think I’m going to make it!

This review is of The Hungry by Harry Shannon and Steven Booth.

The Basics

As the name suggests, The Hungry is a zombie horror novel. We follow Sheriff Penny Miller and a small group of survivors as they battle their was through hordes of zombies and a secret military base trying to survive, and trying to put a stop to the zombie apocalypse.

Sheriff Miller is determined to protect the people in her group, even though one of them is a bad-ass biker who murdered her partner in cold blood.

The Good

While the basic “group of people trying to survive the zombie apocalypse” theme has become the staple form of this genre, I have rarely seen it done better. The Hungry is less about the zombies themselves and more about the people who are trying to survive. The characters are somewhat stereotypical, but the quirks of personality are fantastic, and Millers sarcastic evaluation of minor characters is often priceless. This makes The Hungry stand out above boring-list-of-weapons Day by Day Armageddon and well-written-but-I-couldn’t-care-less-about-her Zoo City.

The zombies themselves, while taking a back-seat to the character’s story at times, are all kinds of gory and awesome. The authors describe them beautifully. They are the relentless horde, mindlessly pursuing their next meal. They are an ever-present threat and they are scary.

The book is one intense, scary, fast paced ride.

One of my favorite quirks in The Hungry is Sheriff Miller’s wedding dress, but I suggest you read the book to find out why.

The Bad

The Hungry is not all good. As I said before the minor characters are quite stereotypical; the bad-ass, anti-government biker, the handsome gay guy who would be perfect for her, the hell-bent-on-power military mad man. It is disappointing in a book that is so much fun.

The Bottom Line

The Hungry will never be great literature, but it is one hell of a fun book. The characters are cool and I love the torrents of explicit insults that tumble from Sheriff Miller with regularity. Read it!

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