Every survival story has some degree of a plodding, who's-going-to-get-picked-off-next feel to it. In spite of this, The Grey is strong on characters. It's described as also being philosophical, though to me, it seem more to deal with reality. The reality of the situation the characters are in. The reality of who they are, where they've come from, and who they hold dear. And amid that reality, what do they do, and how do they respond?