Araminta has her MFA in creative writing and teaches postsecondary writing and literature in Central Maine. Compelled to write from an early age, Araminta has always been drawn to the supernatural and macabre in literature. As a child, her father read to her from J.R.R. Tolkien every night and her mother kept a bottle of tomato juice in the refrigerator labeled "fresh blood". While vampires enthrall her, it's only zombies that freak her out. She hopes these zombies give you as much of a chill as they gave her when she was dreaming them up. This is her first full-length novel.
Blind Hungerby Araminta Matthews
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When the adults in this small town become monsters, it's time for the children to grow up. And fast. Nestled in the pine-studded hillsides of New England rests the town of Greendale, population 3,812 - and that population just got a heck of a lot smaller. That is, if the Census Bureau decides not to count the walking dead. And if all the adults have become the legions of the undead, who will protect the children?
- BN ID:
- Dark Moon Books
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I received this book from the author, Araminta Star Matthews. Over the past few years, I’ve dipped my toe into the horror genre a few times. Blind Hunger is my first read in the zombie sub-genre. Set in a small New England town, it revolves around four children – aged nine to fifteen – who appear to be the sole survivors of an event that has turned the town’s adults into zombies, and its other children into breakfast. The story deals not only with how the children try to overcome the threat they face, but also with how they handle the friction resulting from the difference in their ages and personalities. My favorite horror books thus far have been those that evoke a physical response – skin crawling or hair standing on end on the back of my neck – from time to time. While Blind Hunger had a passage or two in that vein, the response it periodically aroused was that unsettled, heavy feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know you’re in a situation that can turn very bad, very quickly. Matthews accomplishes this by insuring that the children don’t come off as small adults. Instead, their conversations and behavior are a mix of the budding maturity and the wild speculation and crazy plans of children in their age range. When they find themselves face to face with zombies, we feel the physical reactions they feel as their bodies try to make the fight or flight decision. While there were a few places that could use some editing or fact-checking, the writing contributed very well to setting the tone and feel of the story. At the climactic point, I felt that Matthews was going to take the story to a “too easy” – and disappointing – ending for what she had thus far built. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the reader is left feeling as uncertain as do the children at the end of the book.
"Blind Hunger" is a young adult zombie tale that centers around a group of kids over the course of one day when a zombie infection spreads like wildfire through their community. The band of kids, ranging in age from 9 to 15, has a "Breakfast Club" feel, that is, if George Romero wrote "The Breakfast Club" instead of John Hughes. I liked how Matthews begins with the novel with the source of the infection: a scientific experiment meant to better mankind turns disastrous in a "don't mess with mother nature" scenario. The characters are great, although sometimes their reasoning falls on the adult side, with overly scientific and seasoned conclusions. I didn't think this was a bad thing and would make the book appeal even more to adult readers. And who's to say whether kids wouldn't experience a rapid maturation if they were forced to step away from the video games and fight for their lives? I expect a sequel. The "don't mess with mother nature" theme seems to flip at the end. While the zombie virus is the result of humans genetically altering food, and it alters human genes if consumed, our kid heroes, some of them soon to turn "adult" (and therefore become zombie virus "infectable") are going to give mother nature a run for her money. The kids had a battle in "Blind Hunger" but the reader is left feeling there's a much bigger battle to come.
Unlike most zombie stories, Blind Hunger does not go the cheap route of scene after scene of detailed gore. Instead, we are treated with a nice set list of characters that, over time, we learn to care for. Overnight, all the children in a small town wake up to discover all the adults have turned into flesh hungry zombies, and now it is up to the kids to survive. There are no helping hands from parents; that phase is long behind them now. It is time to learn to take care of themselves--and the way Matthews unravels the story, you almost find yourself wondering how you would have acted in such a scenario at such a young age. But don't get me wrong, there's a lot of blood and guts here, so don't worry: your zombie fix will be satisfied--and then some.
Let's face it: unless you had a very traumatic childhood, you probably grew up with an extreme sense of personal safety. Physical injury as a consequence of any foolish risk wasn't even a consideration - and you probably have the scars to prove it. As long as your parents were there, in your young mind your safety was guaranteed. In Blind Hunger, Araminta takes that idea of inherent childhood safety and tears into its soft, fleshy torso to gorge on its entrails while it screams and chokes on its own blood. The adults: the parents, teachers, police, firefighters and all the other symbols of safety and normalcy have turned into homicidal cannibals. So sit down, get comfortable and follow Sage, Max, Kiley, Brian, and Rachel as they desperately fight to survive the onslaught of ravenous monsters.