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Them or Us, #1 by David Moody
In the post-apocalyptic world of Hater, there are two groups of people: 'Us' and 'Them.' This striking contrast between the 'Haters' and the ones who are being 'Hated,' while initially something that seems very simple, creates for very dynamic tension early on in the book.
Hater begins as most apocalypses do—before all hell breaks loose. Our main character, Daniel, is a government worker who hates his job, hates his position in life and is constantly having to deal with his oftentimes-overbearing children. He and his wife's relationship is suffering, his relationship with his father-in-law in less-than-stellar, and his overall quality of life is plummeting due to his living situation. A house too small, a job too mundane, and a family almost in constant turmoil serves to make life one thing—misery.
However—when a calamity strikes the world, thrusts the populace head-over-heels and creates a violent strain of violent outbreaks that may or may not be disease-related, Daniel, and his family's, world changes—for the worse.
Hater is everything that anyone could ever want in an apocalypse novel. Fast-paced, intense, visceral—there's no lack of violence and tension in this book. It moves at a breakneck pace that makes it almost impossible to put down. I found myself glued to my seat (while at the airport) and transfixed (while reading before bed) at the brutal world that David Moody created. The speed of which the novel moves is, in my opinion, probably the best thing about it. Unlike a lot of apocalypse novels, which slow to a low lull in order to introduce certain aspects of the apocalyptic scenario, Hater never stops. The world, and the condition it is in, is quickly revealed in a rapid-fire succession, making the book constantly exciting and engrossing. My only qualm about the book is more of a personal one than one that stabs at Mr. Moody's writing. There comes a point in the novel where we are introduced to a Hater's psychology, and though the transformation from one who's Hated into a Hater seems to be a quick and sudden process, the act in which it happens is never really explained. As someone who loves reading about that sort of transformation, I would have loved to see that expanded upon. That still may happen in book 2 and 3 though, so I'm not going to discount it as a possibility.
In a nutshell, Hater is brilliant. Fast-paced, utterly-engrossing, absolutely-terrifying--this book is impossible to put down. A definite to-read for any apocalyptic fiction fan.
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Reviewer’s Notation: I purchased Hater via Amazon.com.