Bite by K.S. Merbeth
Orbit, July 2016
Rating: 5/5 stars
Bite follows Kid- a young girl, in her teens, with an undisclosed first name she’s forbidden from saying- in a Mad Max-esque post-apocalyptic wasteland. Right off the bat she’s picked up by a group of raiders- allegedly– comprised of Wolf, Dolly, Tank and Pretty Boy, and quickly realises each of them are more than they appear to be. If you haven’t guessed from the super awesome license plate on the front over of the book, cannibalism is involved.
Bite, above anything, is a book about survival. It’s about adapting and learning how to live in a world that’s fallen to ruin, coping with loss and betrayal, and having agency when you’ve spent your whole life following the rules of people who no longer possess the power to control you. It encompasses so many themes that I find especially hard hitting in post-apocalyptic stories, when society has crumbled, and characters have to fight with not just the landscape that surrounds them, but the people, too. This book solidified for me why I love post-apocalyptic stories so much.
One of the things that shocked me about this book was how quickly I fell in love with the entire main cast of characters, regardless of how messed up they are. It’s very easy for me to become attached to characters who aren’t written as upstanding citizens with amazing moral codes, ‘morally grey’ in some respects, so this cast was perfect for me. I loved Kid from the get go, and her character development is honestly heart warming, even if the development means she does more messed up things as the book progresses. I love the way she interacts with the crew, and how she manages to change them, however subtly, by the end. I grew so attached to all of them that they made me cry, and tear up, multiple times. They really do come across as being like a little family.
The writing is brilliant. Even during intense and sad scenes, there would be a line that made me crack up and fall even harder in love with the book. The action sequences are some of the most intense and engaging ones I’ve ever read, and I found myself reading obsessively whenever I did sit down to read it. There were several instances of ‘okay, one more chap- OKAY, ANOTHER one and then I have to sleep- oh wait but this just happened, now I have to read the next one-‘, and it was great.
Bite was one of my favourite books of 2017, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it. There is a lot of heavier material in this, such as sexual assault and many violent scenes, so if you’re more sensitive to those sorts of things I would approach this with caution.
I’d love to know if anyone else read this, and if you enjoyed it. I’d also love any recommendations people have in regards to post-apocalyptic and apocalyptic fiction, for books, TV, games, anything!