Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Hater" by David Moody

Format: Hardcover, 288 pages

REMAIN CALM DO NOT PANIC TAKE SHELTER WAIT FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS THE SITUATION IS UNDER CONTROL Society is rocked by a sudden increase in the number of violent assaults on individuals. Christened 'Haters' by the media, the attackers strike without warning, killing all who cross their path. The assaults are brutal, remorseless and extreme: within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people become frenzied, vicious killers. There are no apparent links as a hundred random attacks become a thousand, then hundreds of thousands. Everyone, irrespective of gender, age, race or any other difference, has the potential to become a victim - or a Hater. People are afraid to go to work, afraid to leave their homes and, increasingly, afraid that at any moment their friends, even their closest family, could turn on them with ultra violent intent. Waking up each morning, no matter how well defended, everyone must now consider the fact that by the end of the day, they might be dead. Or perhaps worse, become a killer themselves. As the status quo shifts, ATTACK FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER becomes the order of the day... only, the answers might be much different than what you expect....

Two premises made me want to pick up David Moody’s “Hater” and start reading it. First, the novel presentation promises yet another apocalyptic scenario and with all the everyday news that seems to point us toward the upcoming of such an event I am always curious to read such novels. Second, the David Moody’s novel will be adapted into a movie being produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Juan Antonio Bayona and since two movies that really impressed me lately were “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Orphanage” my curiosity reached new heights.

I’ll start by saying that almost all I’ve imagined and expected from “Hater” were surpassed through a shocking and disturbing story. David Moody writes a horror novel but as I said on other occasions it is not the blood or violence that attracts me the most to such a novel, but the mental fear and the psychological terror. And David Moody manages to create those with masterful talent. The setting of his novel is our every day society and the characters are average members of that society. All the society put in motion in “Hater” is worrisome realistic and the atmosphere of the story is kept almost persistently on claustrophobic and paranoid levels.

Page after page my relationship with the main character, Danny McCoyne, grew tighter and tighter. This is one of the best and realistic characters I met through my readings lately and David Moody excels in building his character. The story is told in day to day chapters and that made me follow Danny’s day to day schedule, almost like following his journal. Every little aspect of the characters’ life breaths realism, every one of his interactions and relationship with the other characters sounds true and is known by every one of us in a smaller and greater degree (well, except the situation in which the story puts him) and I could feel every single Danny’s emotion in the proper way. I also liked a lot the fact that I was as clueless about the whole situation and the outcome of the story as the main character was. The other characters are good as well, but their presence in the novel is not as strong as of the main character.

From the first page the tension builds to its boiling point and the general situation constricted me in a powerful grip. The novel bursts into action in its final part and the respective portion I’ve swallowed in one bite. However, I believe that the novel takes a bit too long until reaching the action point. Although it is not a major problem after reading the final part I would have liked to see more action from an earlier part. Also, I would have liked to know how these events come to happen, the reason that catalyzes these events and why not everybody is affected.

“Hater” offered me from the first setting an exhilarating and thrilling reading. David Moody creates such a realistic scenario and a believable story that I believe that his novel can give reasons for nightmares.


Ben said...

I've had this one towards the top of my list for a while now and your review only makes me want to read it more! Thanks!

Jon Snow said...

Hey, another nice review and very in depth. I've seen this on the shelves at borders a lot but have never even picked it up to look at.

However, from your description it just seems like the movie 28 Days.

Any comment on that?

(Jon Snow)

Mihai A. said...

Ben, it is a very good book. I hope you'll enjoy it :)

Jon, it feels pretty much as "28 Days Later", but with a lot more emotions involved in the process. Especially from the main character point of view :)

Rabid Fox said...

Well, I really like "28 Days Later," so if this is following in the same vein, and it's a good read to boot ... count me in. I'll be looking for it.

Sweet Book Delights said...

What a brilliant review. Awesome, will have to grab a copy next time i'm in Borders
Chilli x

Mihai A. said...

Rabid Fox, I really liked "28 Days Later" too. And "Hater" feels like the movie, but has its unique feeling as well. I am thinking where to put it in my top 10 list so far :)

Chilli, thank you very much :)
I warmly recommend this book. And since it's the first in a trilogy, I am looking forward for the others.