Sunday, November 6, 2016
Kid has been wandering around by herself for a while now. She is about to die in the wastelands when she happens upon a group of sharks, cannibals that indiscriminately kill and create trouble. It's either die or join them, so she joins them. The cannibalism and violence take some getting used to especially since she isn't the strongest person or any good at all with weapons. Despite all this, eventually Kid feels like she finally belongs somewhere. Their entire way of life is threatened when the Saint starts enforcing law and creating order. Kid and her group of misfits decides to attempt to destroy this Saint or die trying.
I happened upon this book at a bookstore because of it's kickass cover and the subject matter of cannibals. Cannibal stories are few and far between, but many are pretty awesome. Historically, cannibals have been painted as villains in most stories like The Walking Dead comic and TV show, Ravenous, The Silence of the Lambs, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and many others. In Bite, this group of sharks comprised of Dolly, Wolf, Tank, and Pretty Boy are not necessarily good or bad guys, but somewhere in the shades of grey in the middle. They are the protagonists of the story and arguably on the correct side at least some of the time. Their own survival is the most important thing, so they fight as hard as they can using unconventional or just plain stupid methods to defeat enemies and gather supplies.
The evolution of the group is what I like best about the book. Before Kid got there, it seemed that they simply coexisted together with desire for survival being the only thing they shared. Once Kid came along, she brought a sense of community and family with her that bonded them all together more than just surviving. Her influence made Pretty Boy a marginally better person, brought out Dolly's softer side, made Tank protective, and made Wolf trust in his group. They all definitely still have flaws, but the group becomes home for them wherever they are. Despite all the blood, mean eating, and violence, the story was quite heartwarming. You would think that ravaging cannibals would be hard to sympathize with, but they definitely grow on you after a while.
The world is a wasteland because of nuclear war in the past. Radiation is a part of everyday life. Few children survive to adulthood due to the radiation, but also because of starvation, murder, thirst, and tons of other things. Other dangers include crazies (people intend on cannibalism with no reason left in them), bandits (who steal from anyone they come across), and sharks (cannibals and murderers). Life is hard and people survive in small towns, usually unfriendly to strangers unless they have goods to trade. Each town rules in their own way. The largest is ruled by the Queen, who strives to be surrounded by luxury, but in reality, has a pathetic imitation of it. I loved that the situations they stumbled into were different than the usual post-apocalyptic fare.
Bite is a feast of new ideas that turn genre tropes around into something new. A book hasn't grabbed me like this in a while and made want to sit and read it all hours of the day and night. The characters have dimensions and are frankly pretty awesome. My favorite is Dolly, showing the strong silent type can be a woman as well. Wolf makes me laugh with all his crazy ideas and love for chaos and explosives. I love this weird found family that grew to love and trust each other.. The next book will probably come out next summer and I can't wait for it.
My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins