Review: Hater, David Moody

6444093“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….
In the tradition of H. G. Wells and Richard Matheson, Hater is one man’s story of his place in a world gone mad— a world infected with fear, violence, and HATE.”

This was a terrifyingly brilliant read. Hater really gets you with the ‘what-if?’ factor. Moody’s portrayal of inexplicable paranoia and primal rage is absolute genius.

Danny is a great point of reference throughout the novel. As readers we identify with him so easily, with his frustrations at work and home, and once we’re on-side with him it’s a hell of a journey through the final stages of the novel. He’s an uncomfortable character in many ways, not least because you do get sick of his eternal whining and self-pity, but at the same time those qualities are so common in so many of us that you can’t hold it against him, and feel uneasy when you can see the lesser parts of yourself mirrored. Same goes, I think, for the brutal level of pure, unencumbered violence here.

There’s an element of repetition to the novel that’s annoyed some readers, and I can understand why. Danny whines, a lot, and the descriptions of the Hater attacks all follow the same format and in some ways lose their impact therein. Add to this the fact that the ending of the book gets you no closer to finding out what’s really going on and you do have some seriously dissatisfied folk making narked comments all over the internet. And I get it, I really do, but the thing is, it doesn’t matter because it’s such a unique and compelling read that I’m lavishing five stars on it, niggles and frustrations and all. Yes, the ending was a bit of a let down, but it’s book one of three and you know there’s always going to be plenty held back. Obviously it would have been nice to find out more without having to part with another £7.99, but money’s the name of the game isn’t it? I ordered the second book as soon as I’d finished the first.

The intensity of the paranoia is what made Hater such a winner for me. The them vs us mentality, and being able to experience it from both sides was powerful, and this one stayed in my head a long time after I finished the last page. It’s one I’d heartily recommend, far from perfect technically, but it really doesn’t matter because in terms of sheer entertainment and originality, it’s genius.

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