29 May 2012

Review: Meat by Joseph D'Lacey

Meat by Joseph D'Lacey

Published: 1 February 2008

Pages: 346 (paperback)

Genre/s: Horror, post-apocalyptic

Source: Own library

Check It Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

More Info: Joseph D'Lacey's blog

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Abyrne is a decaying town, trapped by an advancing wilderness. Its people depend on meat for survival, meat supplied by the processing plant on the edge of town. Meat is sanctified and precious in Abyrne, eaten with devout solemnity by everyone. A feud smolders between the town's religious and secular powers—whoever controls the food supply controls everything, and conflict is imminent. But a handful of people suspect Abyrne is evil, rotten to its religious heart, and they are prepared to sacrifice everything for the truth. What goes on in the meat processing plant? Where does meat really come from? The townsfolk are hungry. The townsfolk must be fed.

My Thoughts

I first listened to Meat as audiobook in January 2011. I love audiobooks but I'm pretty particular about them - the narrator has to make me feel part of the book, and the story needs to capture my attention enough that I'm not distracted by things around me. And the audiobook version certainly met my requirements on both, but it didn't feel quite 'enough' - I wanted to read it for myself. So although I rarely re-read books, I decided this one was good enough to get me to read it again.

Let me be completely honest - this book is grim, disturbing, gory and intense. There's not a spot of happiness to be found in its pages, perhaps with the exception of the closing pages.

Abyrne is a town that appears to be built out of the ruins of an apocalyptic event, which is never expanded upon. The town is now run by the Welfare, who are responsible for the moral purity of the townsfolk and a megalomaniac meat baron who controls the food supply with an iron fist. With the exception of rare few, the characters have no redeeming features - they are mindless, ruthless and slaves to their lust for meat.

The writing is intense and the pacing is non-stop - as the story unfolds and more and more disturbing events take place, I couldn't stop reading, just to see what happened next. And there were more than a few stomach-churning, brain-stretching moments. The 'baddies' are infinitely evil, and the characters that are fighting against them are down-trodden and outcast, but as they start to awaken to the true evils of Abyrne, they realise that there is only one thing that can be done - resist.

There is a deeper 'meaning' to this book - one of how we, as top of the food chain, treat our food sources. I wouldn't recommend this book to vegetarians unless they have a strong stomach- it's incredibly intense and disturbing, and it shows that Mr D'Lacey's inspiration came from the current and past practices of meat 'cultivation'. But if you can get past the horrific images that this book conjures up in the mind, it's definitely worth reading - Meat is a book that has stuck with me for a long time, and will continue to do so!

I originally rated this book 4 stars, but the written version was even better than the audiobook, so my revised rating is:

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