The second of David Moody’s Hater trilogy continues some time after the ‘Hater’ awakening. The country is slowly collapsing as the two sides continue to attack each other with one goal in mind…to wipe out the other completely.
This review of Dog Blood will contain spoilers for the first book, Hater so read on at your own peril. You can check out a review for that book here.
Governments have fallen, cities lie in ruins and the survivors (Unchanged) hide away in refugee camps (that are slowly falling apart) while the remains of the military hunt down the haters in attempts at regaining control. Using run and gun tactics, they are having some success as the haters are so driven to destroy they can be grouped together and taken out with missiles.
This is how the book opens as we meet Mark, an unchanged out with the military on a supply run. Mark is an un-important character who lives with his pregnant girlfriend and her parents and a few others in the refugee camp. It’s through his eyes we see just how bad things are getting in the camps as food begins to run out & space becomes more and more limited.
In Mark’s designated ‘home’, space is so tight that one member of his family has to sleep in the bathroom with her 5 year old daughter. Although that’s not the only reason she’s in there, you see, her daughter is a hater & she’s keeping her tied up & drugged unable to let go especially as the girl is the only thing she has left. Her two sons are dead at the hands of their sister & her husband is long gone having ‘turned’ and murdered her father.
Sounding familiar? This is Lizzie McCoyne & the little girl is, Ellis. They are still alive having escaped the grasp of Danny when he became a hater but Lizzie is struggling to contain the hate that is inside Ellis.
Danny, having survived the mass graves of the gassing station at the end of the Hater novel has been living day by day trying to find Ellis. He knows she is like him and he knows he has to get to her somehow but he doesn’t even know where to start.
Dog Blood is a great next step in the trilogy showcasing Moody’s incredible ability to describe in great detail the destruction of the country. Returning to Danny McCoyne’s story & seeing how far he has come in not only dealing with his change but embracing it is very exciting. He’s a great character & one I thoroughly enjoy reading about. Here we see plenty of interactions with other haters too, deepening the understanding of what has happened.
The book also deals with different levels of hate as we see the people dubbed ‘brutes’. Men and woman intent on one thing, killing every unchanged they can, they don’t speak or feel pain, they just keep going until they can’t. What makes them even more terrifying is how indiscriminate it is. A brute could have been the sweet old lady next door, the shopkeeper who sold you your morning paper or your own son.
The story doesn’t stand still, although most of it is based around Danny’s journey to find Ellis and the raging war between the sides. A plan is forming, a plan to tip the scales in the favour of the haters once and for all.
Dog Blood is another great read from David Moody, one of Britain’s best horror authors. It lacks the same impact that the first book had but that’s because the change is known and understood (well, to a point). Still, it has plenty of twists & turns that make it an exciting journey and leaves plenty of room for the final book, Them or Us.
Dog Blood (David Moody)