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The Inferior Hardcover – June 10, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—In this epic story of survival, betrayal, and community, the fittest humans are prized as hunters and for taking care of the Tribe, while those with a number of marks on their Tally sticks, or otherwise deemed useless, are traded for food with other tribes in the region. Stopmouth, a "savage" human with a stutter, is healed by a strange visitor from the Roof following a hunting accident. He and Indrani develop a bond that is scorned by the rest of the Tribe, but is one that will see them through some challenging times as they set out on a journey to try to return Indrani to whence she came. This well-paced fantasy/science fiction blend perfectly introduces community conflict at a base level. Stopmouth and his brother are constantly at odds over their roles in the family and their individual ambition. Power and influence are accepted and controlled in very different ways by these main characters and, from the very first chapters, readers can see that lies and deceit are strong forces on the characters. There are numerous situations that could be used to supplement classroom discussion on moral and ethical behavior. Easy to follow and intriguing at every turn, The Inferior will hold readers from page to page, chapter to chapter, to the very end.—Dylan Thomarie, Johnstown High School, NY
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About the Author
EADAR Ó GUILÍN has been writing curious stories for as long as he can remember. One of his school reports claimed that he had "a talent for communication, which he abuse[d]." Since then, he has written plays, published short stories, and performed as a standup comedian. This is his first book for children.
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Stopmouth has always idolized his brother Wallbreaker, a great hunter. Things begin to fall apart when Wallbreaker is captured on a hunting trip. Stopmouth's fleetness serves him well, and he escapes capture, but then, against all reason--by the standards of his tribe--he goes back to save Wallbreaker. In the process he kills three Armourbacks, an impressive feat. But Wallbreaker runs off, leaving Stopmouth to fend for himself, tells the tribe that Stopmouth is dead, and claims the kills for himself. Their relationship deteriorates from there. We watch Wallbreaker becoming increasingly erratic in his behavior, thwarting his brother at every turn, until finally Stopmouth finds it necessary to leave the tribe.
There's plenty of action here, and lots of gory killing, as the various species in this strange place follow the dictates of "eat or be eaten." But over and above the fighting, the killing, the cannibalism, is the mystery. What is this strange place, with its ruined buildings housed under what is obviously some sort of artificial dome? Who built it, and why? How did all these different species, all apparently intelligent although unable to communicate with each other, come to be in a situation where their only food is each other, where there is no edible vegetation, and no domesticated animals? What are the lights in the "sky" and who are the people in the sky ships?
As O Guilin alternately tantalizes and doles out tidbits of information, we come to realize that the title refers not only to Stopmouth's supposed standing compared to his brother, but encompasses all the warring beings of this place in comparison to the sky people. And perhaps the label is mis-applied there as well.
It's a fascinating riddle. I'm anxiously awaiting further revelations.
Wrapping paper? $1. Book? $5. Look on a mother's face when her daughter thanks her for buying the YA book on cannibalism that she's been craving? Priceless.
Guilín wrote an amazingly well crafted novel that far exceeded my expectations. I thought it would be interesting, yes, and imaginative, but I did not expect a book that would leave me hungering (haha!) for more.
Stopmouth was the most interesting out of all of them! However, my favorite character wasn't Stopmouth. I do have a soft spot in my heart for Rockface; he's just adorable and dedicated and goofy.
The world itself was fantastically created. I'm hoping we get to see more of the Roof in the sequel, and maybe see a little more character development for Mossheart. (A small character, yes, but when we were first introduced to her I had hoped that she'd develop into a more interesting character.)
I'd write a longer review, but frankly, you understand that I liked it - and I'm sick while setting this up, and who wants to think too hard while you're sick!?
Most recent customer reviews
Stopmouth is a human with speaking difficulty. Because of this difficulty he was almost "volunteered" (i.e.Read more