Kids aged 14 and under are still living in and around Perdido beach without the authority of any adults of figures of authority to guide them since they all disappeared in the first book. They have survived thus far, but a hunger is starting to strike - they are running low of food supplies and things start getting desperate when the rations are running out rapidly.
I thought that this book would pretty much be exactly the same as the first book with an added hunger thrown into the mix, but I was extremely wrong with that presumption. Obviously this book still holds the same premise as the first book but the feel of it was so much different, people are starting to get desperate, tempers are flaring and people are just plain breaking down. The character development in this book to go along with this was outstanding - you saw certain characters change from the first book gradually, as you would expect them too under these circumstances, until they were completely stripped bare for their raw emotions to shine through. It was amazing reading about these changes and the way they affected the hierarchy of the characters within the book.
I thought it was as realistic as a situation like that can be, in the way that each character had a different take on the situation and changed in a different way because of it. If this indeed did happen I could imagine it happening in the way that Grant described - I know the chances are extremely slim, but I hope you get where I'm coming from. There were new characters along with the old added into the extensive cast of kids, and as in Gone, I could sympathise and empathise with each and every one of them - this is my favourite part about Grant's writing, the idea that he can have a cast of at least 20 characters and make you connect and understand every one of them.
This series' writing tends to focus more on the characters and the development of them rather than the descriptions of the places, the characters create the world rather than the description creating it. I could still imagine everything with great detail even though there wasn't a ridiculous amount of time spent on the world itself. However, when he was explaining the darkness I found it quite difficult to imagine what it looked like, I don't know quite what I pictured in my head but it probably wasn't anything like what it was supposed to look like - the description was a little odd.
With the hunger as the base line plot, there were also lots of little side stories running alongside it. These stories were so intriguing and were actually really clever - they were the kinds of things you wouldn't really think about if you were thinking about what would happen if all the adults disappeared. But although you wouldn't think about it first of all they are all actually great ideas that the kids came up with, this highlights the idea I feel that kids have a lot more common sense and ideas than we give them credit for. They are imaginative and sometimes this is the key to a lot of things.
Hunger is just as brilliant as Gone and the character development (as you can probably tell) is the peak of this book and made it what it is - and I don't think a lot of authors are any good at character development along a series of books. It most definitely didn't suffer with second book syndrome in the slightest and I am extremely excited to read the third book now. Fantastic.