I found this book difficult to get into but once I did it was just as good, if not better than the first book. Once again the feminist reviews point out that the book seems to make boy characters great and the girl characters not so great. I disagree with that. That might have been the case slightly in the previous book but the target audience for this book is surely teenage boys and for that reason (much like female YA has 'kick ass females who don't need a boy') the book is going to have 'beautiful' girls and strong male characters.
I don't know the target age for the book but I felt this one was a bit more 'gruesome' (for want of a better word) than the first book. There was also a lot more death, by the hands of humans and some scenes which younger readers may find uncomfortable. That said I still would have loved reading this book when I was younger and feel that kids these days have such a fantastic range of books to choose from. I have read pretty much non-stop from the minute I could read and I don't remember books half as good as the series out today being. Maybe I was just reading the wrong stuff.
One of the things I dislike about books usually is an influx of characters. However the characters introduced in this book don't confuse the story but instead serve to improve it. The main story is the hunger of everybody in Perdido Beach (if the FAYZ had of just been a couple of miles out they would have had access to supermarkets and a Burger King) however there are so many different stories taking place at the same time. Not least the resentment felt by the 'normal' kids against the 'freaks'. This is where the story felt more real to me, as this is how you would expect kids to react. Younger kids may look to an older person like Sam for guidance but I found it hard to believe that all these teenagers would just accept having one person in charge. So rebellion was inevitable.
The author also appears to be trying to 'teach' his audience maybe. You've got Albert trying to form a business and create his own currency and Mary with her eating disorder etc. I'm still unsure about Albert at this point and whether I like him as a character. Overall however this was another fantastic read that at times was difficult to put down. I keep reading reviews from high profile reviewers on here and taking their opinions as gospel, when I disagree most of the time. Some people just have too high standards I think, anyway, I digress. I loved this book.