David Moody has a way of creating books about zombies without having zombies. In his series “Autumn” the “Z” word is never mentioned but there are reanimated corpses. In the Hater Trilogy he has created a bunch of mindless fighters who never eat the flesh of their victims but go into uncontrollable rages until the victim is dead. So while they may not be be zombie books, they still create the same horror of a zombie book, but without the gore.
In the Hater trilogy, it turns out that some switch is thrown in the human brain where about half of the poulation become Haters. The Haters see an Unchanged and that flipped switch causes the Hater to attack fight and not stop until the Unchanged is destroyed. Even when a Hater has all his limbs incapacitated they will still fight until one of them is dead. With this aspect Moody is able to explore the darker side of a zombie apocalypse. The darker side being how do you survive when all is gone, every aspect of civilization breaks down and no longer is there a means for food to be obtained by just going to the corner market.
In the first book, “Hater” the switch was flipped and all the population began a war that would leave the world scarred forever. In this book we were introduced to Danny McCoyne who became a Hater but first watched the world collapse, losing is family. In the Second book, “Dog Blood,” the world was at war Haters vs. the Unchanged. Danny sought to find his daughter who he knew was like himself, a Hater. The problem was, though, his wife and two sons were Unchanged. Danny had to fight the Hate inside to sneak into Unchanged refugee camps to find his daughter without being discovered. All this while a major world war was going on between the Haters and Unchanged. When he found his daughter one side, whether it was Hater or Unchanged or both is never really known, launched nuclear weapons destroying all of the major cities. Danny lost his daughter as they were trying to escape one of the blasts, when she went running back into the explosion.
Now we come to the third book, “Them or Us.” The world is torn apart and there are very few Unchanged left, what few there are are hunted down and slaughtered. A small community of Haters is gathered that is ruled by a man who gained his position by killing the man in charge and putting up all the toughest fighters up in a higher social class. So the haters now rule by might. Danny is discovered to be able to hold in the hate and Hinchcliffe, the leader of the community, uses him to inifiltrate nests of the Unchanged so the Haters can slaughter them. Danny becomes a sort of confidant for Hinchcliffe and learns all his secrets. The big problem is that once all the Unchanged are gone who is left to fight, each other? That answer seems to be yes when another community is discovered and Danny is sent to infiltrate and find out any logistical info so Hinchcliffe can attack.
With the last of humanity struggling for survival Danny begins to question whether mankind should continue or just kill itself off. The question of all time, do we really deserve to exist? If so How? And what does war prove?
This book is full of philosophic wonderings and some interesting action thrown in to keep the brain pumped. I’ll warn you once you start reading this book or any book in the trilogy you can’t stop until the last page, even then you’ll want more.