I think the book’s blurb explains it quite well without any need of paraphrasing so without further ado, “Stopmouth and his family know of no other life than the daily battle to survive. To live they must hunt rival species, or negotiate flesh-trade with those who crave meat of the freshest human kind. It is a savage, desperate existence. And for Stopmouth, considered slow-witted hunt-fodder by his tribe, the future looks especially bleak. But then, on the day he is callously betrayed by his brother, a strange and beautiful woman falls from the sky. It is a moment that will change his destiny, and that of all humanity forever.”
I enjoyed this book a lot. It is well written for a first novel and the themes of cannibalism and survival in an apocalyptic future mark a boldness that is often missing from science fiction today. I like how the author handles the pro and cons of both without being too judgmental of the differing perspectives. World-building was also well done and left me desiring to know more about the background and universe. I think the characterization was the strongest part of The Inferior. It is quite well done and realistic with the protagonists and antagonists feeling multiple motivations and conflicting emotions. I applaud the author for making his main character not quite an hero or an antihero, but somewhere in between. Stopmouth is perhaps not the strongest or the smartest hunter of his tribe, but he is the best survivor, which in this setting is the most important thing of all.
The only real downside is that at times I felt the book read like a young adult novel, that the emotions and actions of the characters were too simple for the seriousness of the book’s subject matter. I also felt that the book could have been expanded a little bit more. However, both complaints are minor and I’m hoping for another book since there is plenty of material for a sequel.
Final rating: 8.5/10.