The Inferior

The Inferior

Author: Pedar O Guilín

Publication: 2007, David Fickling Books

Pages: 438

Overall Rating: bth_5-star-rating_zps467d5332[1]

Rating for Action: bth_5-star-rating_zps467d5332[1]

Quantity of Action: bth_4-star-rating_zps38e772a0[1]

Age Category: 13+

Brief Summary: Stopmouth and his tribe fight every day just to survive.  To live, they must hunt other intelligent species, killing them with spears, knives, and slings – and every day those other species are trying to hunt them.  It is a world where you must eat or be eaten. 

Then a strange and beautiful woman falls from the sky.  She inhabits the world of the globes – metal machines that live above Stopmouth and his family, always watching, always waiting.  And her arrival will change everything about Stopmouth’s life and the very nature of his world.

Age of Main Character: Uncertain – they don’t count by years

What I Liked the Most: This is world building at its finest.  The wild variation among the beasts that inhabit Stopmouth’s world, the intriguing role played by the globes, and the clever interweaving of stone age weapons and space age technology make for a wild ride.

But even that is overshadowed by the sheer bloody eat-or-be-eaten reality of the book.  This ain’t no deer hunt.  When Stopmouth and his companions go out in search of food, they’re hunting prey that’s just as smart as they are – prey that can think, prey that can talk, even if Stopmouth can’t understand the language.  And if you don’t kill, then your family doesn’t eat.  That basic truth underlies everything in the book.  And it comes out most starkly in an early scene where a dead boy is being mourned.  His family cooks his body and divides the meat out among the tribe.  In Stopmouth’s world, being buried or cremated is an insult of the highest order – stripping the dead of their last chance to serve the tribe.    

What I Liked the Least: This is one of those rare occasions where, after thinking about it for the better part of a day, I couldn’t come up with anything.  That’s how good this book is.

How Good was the Action? Visceral.  Primal.  And any other word you can think of to describe the fight for survival at its most basic level.  Time and again, Stopmouth and his friends have to fight for survival, and Guilín never lets us forget how terrifying that can be.  The fights crackle with raw energy.  The descriptions are crisp and brutal.  And once the action starts, you won’t be able to stop reading.

How Engaging was the Story?  Guilín is a masterful storyteller.  The character development here is deep and rich, the world is fully engaging, and you won’t be able to pull yourself away from Stopmouth’s desperate quest.  And as the true role played by the globes is slowly revealed, you’ll find yourself cringing at the sheer horror of it all.

Overall Assessment:  A gripping read – powerful, horrifying, and masterfully written.  Don’t let this one get away.

Profanity: None

Sex: Some – a bit of kissing and very mild references to more.

Violence: Yes.  Stopmouth’s world is violent and bloody.  He has to kill to survive, and he does so without hesitation.  The violence here isn’t glorified, and it isn’t some splatterfest.  But it is real, and it inhabits almost every page of the book.

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