“The Inferior” is based in a fictional world, which, arguably, could be futuristic. It highlights the main attributes of humanity, perhaps questioning our own society, and yet I consider it light reading that is addictive and pleasurable. Stopmouth, the protagonist hero and main character of the novel, faces humanity’s responses to a desperate situation. His brother, Wallbreaker, betrays Stopmouth on a very personal level, and Stopmouth is left questioning everything that he has ever known. This then leads him to a journey to another land, free from the apocalyptic scene of Stopmouth’s world.
I was intrigued by the way that the author, Guilín, succeeded in portraying murderers and cannibals in a good light, because Stopmouth and his people were forced into eating whatever they could to survive, attacking creatures and beasts to gain their “flesh”, and even devouring their own dead, because survival was everything. Later on in the novel, we discover that this suffering was all for the “entertainment” of those watching them from above, and this brings to mind the potential futuristic feel to the novel; game shows and television programs satisfy our need for entertainment now, but in the future, as children’s games get more and more morbid and dramatic, we could thirst for something more powerful. This coincides with Suzanne Collin’s “The Hunger Games”, where she considers similar ideas.
The power of “The Inferior” is the passion that Stopmouth fights with, even though he is inexperienced, and encounters love and innocence for the first time through his later wife, Indrani. He, along with his people, are brutalised by a society that they didn’t even know existed, and yet they are still human. Instant emotions of pity are evoked for Stopmouth, a boy who had to cope with a stammer for his entire life, and yet dared to believe there was another way to live.
Guilín takes his readers on an exciting journey as Stopmouth’s courage grows, and he goes from being the chief’s scared brother to the leader of his own tribe, who would find a way for humanity to change and adapt; to survive, no matter what the cost.
Personally, I’d recommend reading “The Inferior”, although it must be appreciated that some of the descriptions of the other creature’s in Guilín’s world lack serious description in parts. The novel is well written, though, and easy to read. Personally, I loved it, even as a vegetarian who is repulsed by the idea of “flesh”. It’s because of the potential reality of this world at some point, through the desperation of humanity, and its constant need to survive that I find this novel particularly interesting, and recommend reading it if only to pick up on some of these ideas.