The Inferior by Peadar O Guilin

Wood carved Shipibo ornamental Spear

Stopmouth and his Tribe battle for their daily existence against other rival species in an environment largely devoid of plant life and small animals. They must hunt to survive and often exchange their weakest members with their rivals to secure food. Life is hard, brutish and short.
Stopmouth is the younger, less talented member of his family.  His brother is known for his courage and skill. They have been both companions and rivals. On his brother’s wedding day, Stopmouth is betrayed when their hunting excursion goes terribly wrong. Not long later, a woman falls from the sky and through both his life is irrevocably changed. Stopmouth is a complex and well-developed character.  The first person narrative keeps us embedded in the plot and fully aware of his thoughts and feelings.
Guilín’s book is one of action and intrigue. The quest for power and for knowledge, the nature of religious belief and rituals, and the relationship between justice and punishment make this an interesting read. Guilín’s world and its primitive society some perseverance to keep straight. A good book to recommend for readers who enjoyed Hunger Games and are interested in a different take on the reality-television-game-to-the-death.
Tackles the themes of survival, relationship between hunter and prey, ethics of hunting, the role of communication in inter-personal and national relationships, the complexity of cultural understanding. Genre: adventure, fantasy. Gr. 7-up.
Rating: good
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Filed under children's lit, library, reading

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