Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.
The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.
To where the monsters lived.
This is the prequel to The Girl with All the Gifts, which I absolutely loved. I had this book on pre-order last year and have only just got around to reading it, shame on me! While there were elements of TGWATG that I loved more, this novel was just as good as it’s predecessor for so many other reasons!
If you loved The Girl with All the Gifts like me, there are a couple of things to note about this book before you dive in. It’s a lot slower paced! Where TGWATG quickly became action-packed and had many edge-of-your-seat moments, this one doesn’t have quite as many. Because it’s a prequel, it focusses heavily on the “Hungry” disease and follows around a group of scientists and military men who are on a mission to find a cure. Therefore, a lot of this story focuses on biology, which I personally found a little bit dull and often times confusing. It was very in-depth sciencey in parts where I don’t really think it needed to be, and because of this, some sections of the book, especially nearer the beginning, dragged. However, there were of course action packed moments and when they came about, they were just as exciting as in the previous book!
What I really loved about this novel, as I did with TGWATG, was the characters! Both books have featured a set of really interesting and diverse characters. In this book alone we have Dr. Samrina Khan who is of middle eastern descent, a gay couple, and Stephen Greaves who is speculated to have autism, although a diagnosis is never directly expressed. Not to mention there were a number of super strong women characters who kicked ass and were sassy the whole way through.
Each character in this book was full of life and you get to know each one of them very personally. Whether you end up liking or disliking them, you can’t escape their incredible character development throughout the book. There are major similarities to characters in the first book, the under-age genius, the strong independent woman, the tough-guy with a soft interior etc, but that didn’t really bother me. It was almost nice to compare the two sets of characters with the first.
Another thing I loved about this book is the small pleasure I got in reading about locations that I live close to, for example, I work in Milton Keynes & I live about half an hour away from Luton. Neither of these places are particularly small, but you rarely hear about them in books so it excited me when they came up.
This book can be read as a standalone, but you will miss out on the super emotional connection to TGWATG at the end of this novel if you haven’t read that book. I very almost cried. It was just amazing!! You could read the books in the wrong order, but the ending of this one kind of spoils the ending of TGWATG, so I’d read them in published order if you can!
I’m so happy I’ve finally read this book and I loved the way the two Hungry novels connected with each other. This is definitely worth reading if you have already read The Girl with All the Gifts! I can also recommend the duology as a whole, it’s amazing if you love creepy thriller dystopians!