Monday 7 July 2014

Dog Blood - David Moody

Rating: 3 Sandwiches out of 5

'Dog Blood' by David Moody is a bleak post-apocalyptic book where humanity has been changed forever, dividing people so they are either the 'Unchanged' or the changed 'Haters'.  I have to say I didn't even realise this was the second book in a series until I saw the first listed on Amazon, so it reads well as a stand alone book and there is enough explanation of the back story to keep you from getting confused.

The hero, if you can call him that, of 'Dog Blood' is a Hater called Danny McCoyne. In a twist on the more traditional zombie novel, like so many others when Danny changed he viciously attacked and killed a family member before fleeing the house dazed and confused.  His world suddenly became a maelstrom of violence as he felt a burning need to kill any 'Unchanged' he came across and was soon joining other Haters in hunting down and destroying any he came across.  Like someone with an addiction, the 'Hate' would rise up within him as soon as he sensed there was an 'Unchanged' anywhere near him, sending him into a killing frenzy that could never be sated, being further fuelled with every kill he made.

Danny McCoyne fully agrees with his fellow 'Haters' that the world must be cleansed of every single 'Unchanged' who survived, but unlike most of his comrades he also had another mission he was driven to take on.  Because Danny's five year old daughter Ellis, whom he had left behind when he fled his home was a 'Hater' just like him and he wanted nothing more than to find her, protect her and have her fighting alongside him.

So Danny sets off on a perilous journey to find his missing child that takes him back to his old family home and ultimately deep into the heart of the city where the 'Unchanged' have flocked to find protection and wait to be rescued.  But there will be many twists on Danny's journey and some of the people he encounters are not all they seem.  In a world where you can trust nobody and where our hero wants nothing more than to let go and lose himself in the slaughter, will he ever find his daughter?

This is a book which offers little hope for humanity.  The 'Haters' want to kill all the 'Unchanged' and the 'Unchanged' as well as trying to destroy as many 'Haters' as they can are also fighting among themselves.  I got the distinct impression the author had more than a sneaking preference for the 'Haters'  as in their world view they are decisive, strong, and fearless, whereas the 'Unchanged' are weak and apathetic.

It questions what it is to be human; which of our characteristics are worthy and admirable and which are not. Do you keeping loving your husband or children even if all they want to do is kill you?  Or do you abandon them or even kill them first?  However, I couldn't help wondering what the 'Haters' planned to do with their burning need to kill once they had slaughtered all the 'Unchanged.'  Is it possible for humanity to survive in any form in a world filled with hate and violence?

Not my favourite book of the year as it is very dark and doesn't seem to point to any light at the end of the tunnel (yes, I am a sucker for a happy ending or at least the potential for one!), but it was intriguing enough to keep me turning the pages to see what happened at the end.  It is also, perhaps not surprisingly, very violent and bloody, so maybe not suitable for those gentle readers with a delicate constitution!

You would have to have a pretty strong stomach to be reading this over lunch, although you may need a double brandy at the end, but I award it three sandwiches for being an original take on a heavily written topic and an interesting story.

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