Dog Blood and Them Or Us, the 2nd and 3rd books in the Hater trilogy were an interesting continuation and end to the series. Dog Blood seemed more like a filler book, while Them Or Us was slightly anti-climatic, but had a pleasing ending.
Dog Blood starts from the perspective of an Unchanged (those who did not morph into haters). While I was initially thrown by this, I thought I would be an interesting way to show the difference between haters and unchanged. Unfortunately the story didn’t progress quite in that fashion. For most of the book, the story flips between an unchanged and Danny McCoyne, the protagonist hater from the first book.
McCoyne’s story has two main parts – the search for his daughter, who he knows is like him, and his struggle to survive as a hater when he doesn’t share quite the same passion for the relentless killings of his fellow haters. While the unchanged story focuses on his struggle to not be killed by the haters and to do his part to get food for his family. An eventual connection between McCoyne and the unchanged man provides the reason for the different perspectives, but Dog Blood lacked the quick pace and wittiness I enjoyed in the first book. There is major fighting, war actually, between the haters and the unchanged that ends in an extremely devastating manner for both sides and sets up the story for the final book. Overall I thought the 2nd book had more of a filler role than a book that helped to effectively move the story along. Not the best 2nd book but not the worst either.
Them or Us starts with “the last English summer” and paints a bleak picture for both “races” (for lack of a better term). The numbers of haters and unchanged being greatly reduced on both sides and living conditions have become almost impossible.
McCoyne seems depressed and is in bad shape. He’s living in a town named Lowestoft and, after the fall of a few short-sighted hater leaders, is under the rule of a man named Hinchcliff. Hinchcliff is a brutal, heartless man who cares only about those who prove useful to him. McCoyne is part of the rabble that fight for scraps of food each day until his ability to “hold the hate” is brought to Hinchcliff’s attention. Danny plays a reluctant role for the leader and manages to be considered a valuable person, much to his own dismay. Much of the book deals with McCoyne’s clear unhappiness about the current state of his life and his environment around him. He doesn’t see a purpose to the constant fighting and has feelings of guilt about the things he’s done and will have to do. A chance meeting with a fellow “hold the hater” continues to make Danny question what is going on around him, as well as shows his internal struggle between helping people out and just walking away.
Them or Us comes down to a final confrontation between Danny and Hinchcliff. It’s this final confrontation that provides a believable and pleasing ending to the series. It also leaves the reader to wonder if this is how things will go for the human race if we can’t find a way to deal with our differences. I certainly hope not. Pretty damn depressing if it does.
The series as a whole was enjoyable. I did think the first book was much better than the final two, but as a whole, a decent, connected story with all three. David Moody did a good job with McCoyne’s internal struggle and provided an interesting take on human nature. The first book, Hater, is to become a movie, when I don’t know. It will be interesting to see how the book translates to a movie. Hopefully it is able to keep the same wit and pace as the book.