Fed is an alternate ending to Feed. A What If scenario if you will, that you should not read unless you have already completed Feed
For those of you lo...moreFed is an alternate ending to Feed. A What If scenario if you will, that you should not read unless you have already completed Feed
For those of you looking for a spoiler free review, I will say this. Fed is an almost complete regurgitation of the last few chapters of Feed, that exchanges thoughts and dialogue between characters as if they were interchangeable plot mechanisms rather than unique characters. Many passages are word for word what they were in the original regardless of whose point of view it was in to begin with. I felt cheated by this and didn't understand the point of writing an alternate ending if the author wasn't going to give us an alternate experience. Rather than seeing the ending as an entirely new possibility, we saw the same ending through a different set of eyes, with the exact same sentences, descriptors, and dialogue.
Not to mention, the part that was actually alternate to the original events is skimmed over so completely that I was left feeling more ambivalent than the intended devastation.
If this is how the story had actually ended, I would have been completely put off of this series. To be honest, I don't think this series would have continued period, if it had ended this way. It is jarring, unnecessary, and has absolutely no correlation to the events in the following two books. Things revealed to be true in Deadline and Blackout are completely disregarded. And while yes, these plot twists aren't introduced until after the events of this short, they still existed during regardless of whether the reader and the characters were aware or not. The following example is a spoiler from book 2 and this short so please do not read it if you haven't finished both yet. (view spoiler)[i.e. Shaun's immunity to the virus. In this alternate ending, Shaun is hit by the dart instead of Georgia. However we learn in book 2 that he is immune! As Grant gives us absolutely no details to how Shaun actually died outside that van, I can't give her the benefit of the doubt that she didn't slip up and forget that little tid bit. Instead of the emotionally charged original ending, we get this sadly flat alteration. George and Rick sit in the van and play, "Is He Dead Yet" and any truly investing details are skipped entirely. I have a hard time believing Georgia, being the badass she is, would have just sat there, with her tail between her legs, trying to shut it all out. (hide spoiler)]
Fed is a weak, and utterly uninspiring rendering of a story that was absolutely perfect just the way it was. And while I love the Newsflesh Trilogy, I can't give this sad little short a five-star rating based on the merits of its predecessors.
This was a story that didn't need to be told.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The Becoming, the first book in a new trilogy and Meigs' first novel follows three main characters as they experience the initial outbreak of the zombie virus Michaluk and fight to survive. Cade, Ethan, and Brandt pick up other survivors along the way, but when Ethan insists on returning to Memphis to find closure with the loss of his wife, Cade and Brandt forge on to find a safe place for their group.
Finally! A strong female lead character in a zombie series other than the Newsflesh Trilogy! I've been reading a lot of zombie fiction lately and I have to say I'm sickened with the amount of wimpy, whiny, practically useless female lead characters. The Becoming was a breath of fresh air for me and certainly for the genre itself. Finally a woman who can hold her own and is just as gritty as the boys. While there were still times I was frustrated with Cade's often overly dramatic actions, I still enjoyed her character.
Really each character Meigs has crafted for this novel is well developed and relatable. For me, there is nothing better than well written, character driven apocalypse fiction and this novel delivers it in droves!
One other thing that really stuck out to me was how much more cinematic this novel felt to me than others I've read of the genre. In the first chapters of the book, the tension is slowly and carefully built, setting the reader up for horror moviesque anticipation for the action to kick off. The tension had me biting my nails as I waited for the first zombie to rear its ugly head. This is one of the first zombie novels that truly made me experience horror rather than simulating it with over the top gore and action. Meigs played on my worst fears from the very beginning, sucking me into her world completely.
I think the only thing that rubbed me the wrong way about this book was the fact that the main characters took forever to catch on to what was happening. As this book is set in our world, which has been saturated with zombie movies, books, and pop culture for decades, I would have expected the main characters to have caught on right away. Instead, they spend the first quarter of the novel going, "This is so weird! I wonder what could be happening?" Umm... duh... A real world example would be the incident in Miami recently where a naked man was gunned down by police as he ate the face of another naked man. Although it has been ruled that the man was incredibly high on an illegal narcotic that caused him to act this way, many people associated the actions with zombie like behavior. No, I'm not insane, I don't think the zombie apocalypse is upon us, my point is, people are smarter than you think. It doesn't take an erstwhile Marine you randomly meet to tell you its freaking zombies chapters later. I really felt this dumbed down her otherwise impressive and capable heroes for me. Really, this may not make much of a difference for other readers, but it is kind of a sore spot for me when it comes to zombie fiction in general.
The Final Verdict
Regardless this was an amazing read for me full of action, true horror, and visceral emotion. Well written and superbly edited, The Becoming is a zombie novel you don't want to miss. Looking forward to the rest of the series!
I was provided a copy of this book by the author and IO Tours in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation for the views stated. All opinions are my own.(less)
"Beliefs or anxieties, they don't matter. One way or another, death comes in the shape it wants and doesn't guarantee a pretty ending."
Tragedy, horror, and the instinct to survive will do crazy things to a person, but how will they effect two young men who have barely struck out into adulthood? Dead Meat follows a small group of survivors as they discover the true extent of their recently ravaged world and find out first hand that the promise of living another day will make you do things you never imagined were within your nature.
This was how I interpreted the tone of the book as there are moments you start to second guess the sanity of the main characters Benny and Gavin. As a psychology major, I was immediately taken by the depth of each character and the range of development they go through. The action scenes are well thought out and spectacularly executed, but the true achievement of Dead Meat is in its characters. The Williams boys have obviously taken great pains in bringing the main characters to life and exploring the depths of human emotion, both light and dark, and it absolutely shows. What books have you read lately where you met a character who disturbs and terrifies you one moment, charms you the next, freaks you out again, and then heads straight into becoming one of your favorite, albeit slightly douchey, anti-heroes of all time? The anti-hero is a difficult character to pull off, but when done right, these characters always top my list, because we don't often get to see authors really push the limits with the classic hero. I can't even begin to describe how perfectly Benny both fit and exceeded my expectations. I hated Benny. I loved Benny. He frightened and repulsed me and with a turn of the page, he was being charming and heroic. WTF Benny? Why are you so crazy awesome? I haven't had a character mess with me like this...well...ever!
"'Open the door,' I whisper. I swallow to moisten my throat and say it again, this time much louder. 'Open the door.'"
And that ending? Obviously I won't spoil it for you, but HOLY CRAP! I never saw it coming and I usually have the story figured out fairly early on when I read. I will say that I'm fairly heartbroken over it, but satisfied all the same.
I think the only complaint I have about this book is the female characters. There are only two, and both are fairly underwhelming. Not that they aren't well developed, they are, but one only makes a short appearance and the other is truly vile. I wanted at least one good, strong, female character, but didn't find it here. However, I can't exactly hold it against the authors as again, through the depth and realism of these characters, they show important aspects of how humans can experience and react to life and death situations.
The Final Verdict Dead Meat is gritty, stunning, character driven zombie horror fiction that asks readers, what would you do to survive when you have everything to lose? Another edition to my must read zombie fiction list.
FTC Disclosure I was provided a copy of this book by the authors and IO Tours in exchange for an honest review. I have received no compensation for my review. All opinions stated are my own.(less)
Seven Habits is definitely not your traditional zombie novel. It was so close to being an absolutely amazing read for me, but there was just one thing that irked me. The book begins with Bosley talking to detectives about the strange turn of events that lead him to their interrogation room. Bosley's chapters are written like a conversation, but we only ever get Bosley's side of the story. I was intrigued by the style, but initially felt a strong distaste towards the fact that this man got his time traveling powers through the heavy, and I mean HEAVY use of drugs. Drugs give you super powers!? Interesting concept, but not one I am entirely comfortable with. It very nearly put me off of the entire book. That is, until I read my first chapter about Ocean.
Ocean is a fourteen year old girl of the future who has never known a world other than the post-apocalyptic one she was born into. As the synopsis says, she suffers daily in her search for food, water, and comfort. I was irrevocably pulled into the story when Ocean was forced to kill her mother to survive. This is where my entire perspective on this book shifted and I realized there was a world of depth here that I had only begun to uncover. I looked forward to each of her chapters with increasing intensity as the story went on.
More often than not, I can make a fairly accurate guess at the final plot twist the author is hinting at throughout the book, but this time, I was caught completely by surprise. I can't really go into it without giving away any spoilers, but I can say that what actually was going on with the underground clan was much more horrific than anything I had guessed at. When it comes to Ocean's story and the final plot twist I have to give Rose a standing ovation. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.
One other thing that I really loved about Seven Habits is that it had me questioning Bosley's sanity for half of the book. Taking in the fact that he had been under the influence of a massive amount of drugs and his attitude toward the events leading up to his arrest, I was very nearly convinced he was a psychotic serial killer who had created this fantasy to justify what he had done. I absolutely love a book that keeps me guessing, that keeps my mind racing trying to figure out what is really going on. If you do to, this is really the book for you.
The Final Verdict: I'm really not a fan of making druggies heroes, but honestly it works here in the end. Bosley becomes quite loveable throughout the course of the book and the final twist had me near to tears. The duel stories being told here are some of the most compelling and emotionally visceral I have read all year. The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People is on my zombie essentials reading list. If you love zombies, or just thrilling storytelling, than this should be your next read.(less)
Eight months after the zombie apocalypse took Earth, a group of brave survivors gets a chance to make their world safe again. Dr. Compton has found a cure for the virus he inadvertently created. The catch? It's back at his lab facility hundreds of miles away through the rotter infested ruins of the American East Coast. Will Mike Robson and his crew of tenacious survivors be able to bring back the cure and take back their world, or will they die trying?
Rotter World is a stomach churning, heart-pumping, zombie killing extravaganza. A true feast for the... zombie in you. I learned the hard way that it it not a wise idea to eat while you read this book. I often multi-task while reading and thought, "Hey, I might as well finish this book up while I have some teriyaki beef and broccoli for lunch." Bad idea, only a few pages later I encountered a particularly detailed death scene in which one of the characters gets eaten alive. While the scene was well written and emotionally evocative, I would have preferred to keep my lunch out of it. You see, Rotter World is very much a book that spares no detail when it comes to graphic gore. While this adds to the desperate and often times disturbing tone of the book nicely, it may not be for everyone. So...you have been warned.
Moving onward, Rotter World offers the reader a unique and intriguing alternate view of the zombie apocalypse in which the virus is spread by vampires in an attempt to distract humans from hunting them down. This of course backfires spectacularly on them and the vampires find themselves facing an increasingly desperate situation; the complete extinction of their kind. When the book begins, humans and what is left of the vampires have teamed up to better their chances of surviving in a hostile alliance that threatens to boil over at any moment. The tension is incredible as it offsets the already overwhelming threat of the zombie horde. Not all of the human survivors hate the vampires which also leads to another layer of hostilities among the group. I loved this, but wished that the loyalties of the characters hadn't been so obvious. I would have loved to have read a scene in which a human you thought neutral or for the vampires turned on one of them during a zombie onslaught. I love that kind of NO WAY! moment. Regardless there are plenty of action sequences and you get to see how prejudices effect the decisions of the group in life threatening situations. I won't say who, but I was very upset to see my favorite vamp go. I was like, "Scott, oh no you didn't!" Kill off my favorite character why don't you? Who are you, George R.R. Martin? I was sad, but it did do the trick of keeping me emotionally invested in the story.
The only thing that I can really critique here is consistency. With all the action and character interaction Baker throws at us that gets our hearts pumping, some in-between scenes come across a bit dry. I know it's hard to make colorful transition scenes when you've just allowed your characters to barely escape from a hauntingly bloody battle, but there were a few times when I felt Baker's writing was becoming more technical in order to explain rather than making readers see it through the already well established interactions between characters. I stress this is only occasionally, but these parts were just so stark in comparison to the rest of the story that they really killed the mood.
Speaking of "The Mood" Baker waxes erotic a couple of times throughout the novel showing readers both the wonderful and destructive sides of the human need for closeness. I was glad to have this part of human nature addressed within a zombie novel as the genre normally stays away from sensuality. What better motivation is there to incite DEFCON levels of the horizontal mambo than the almost definite possibility that you will be cannibalized by mindless, rotting husks of your peers in the near future? I honestly can't think of any. I know I'm outing myself as a perv here, but I genuinely wish there had been more sexy scenes, especially with the vamp, *wink wink* but I digress...
I know this is becoming one mother trucker of a review, but I do have one last thing I'd like to tell you all about. I absolutely hate reading books or watching movies where the women spend more time screaming and crying than kicking-ass and taking names. Thank God for Baker's badass squad of zombie killing femme fatales. The Angels of Death are leather clad ladies with some seriously messed up pasts they have overcome by blowing away many a zombie. If there were some AOD merch like a shirt or a mug, I would be first in line to get me some. I loved these ladies who prove you best not underestimate a woman with serious baggage.
The Final Verdict
You're invited to a deadman's party. Make sure you gird your loins and bring a hardy constitution, maybe even a turtleneck. That is unless you plan on fraternizing with some vamps then by all means... Enjoy the ride. ^_^
I was provided a copy of this book by the author and IO tours in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed above are my own.
"If you wish to know how it is that you can dismantle the undead, laugh maniacally, and continue about your existence, then please continue on."
This has been by far the most informative and concise zombie read I've come across. Pretty much everything you could want or need to know about surviving a potential zombie apocalypse is right here within ZAP's pages. I don't care if you don't subscribe to the whole idea of a zombie apocalypse being a potential threat. The ideas, advice, practical information, and tactics presented in this book are potential life savers in virtually any major natural disaster, terrorist attack, or crisis that could happen within your lifetime. While reading, I began to seriously consider getting some of the suggested supplies together in my house as a disaster kit. Do I sound crazy right now? Maybe, but when that mega, California sinking earthquake we've all been hearing about since elementary school finally happens and you run out of food, fresh water, and a power source, I guess we'll know which one of us was the crazy one. But seriously people, I don't necessarily believe that some vicious virus is going to turn us into rabid flesh eating monsters, but I"m not ruling it out either. Better to prepare and be wrong than call everyone crazy now and be the first to get chomped on.
Outside of its survival merits, ZAP is honestly an immensely valuable resource for writers looking to put out some well researched apocalypse fiction. In all likelihood, your zombies will be unique and many of the zombie facts here won't apply, but the basic weapons knowledge, supply lists, shelter acquisition, offensive and defensive tactics, and terrain survival portions of this book will indeed help you not only shape your fictional world, but also teach you how your characters can survive. As a person who doesn't know much about firearms, (I'm more of a Dragon Age kind of girl), I was excited by the plethora of practical knowledge I got out of reading up on each type. I now know what each type of firearm is best suited for. I know this may be obvious to many, but I grew up in a part of California where we had no need for guns and therefore lacked the necessity for such an area of study. I must say as a fan of science fiction, horror, and dystopia novels this came back to shame me in my adult years, but thanks to ZAP, I now have a general idea of how this stuff works.
If these reasons aren't enough for you to add this book to your shelf of apocalypse fiction essentials, I think it is important to mention the overall irreverently funny tone of this guide. Do you enjoy sarcastic, dark humor with a generous dose of geek? If your answer is yes, this should be a no brainer for you. Houchins and Thomas have infused this zombie survival extravaganza with more references to popular nerd culture than you can shake a stick at! When you're not considering taking copious notes, you will be chuckling to yourself and freaking out the people next to you.
Recommendation: I would honestly say if you have any interest at all in the reading or writing of zombie literature, you should seriously think about checking this one out. All levels of zombie lovers will learn something new and yes, Have fun Doing It.(less)
Four years after the zombie apocalypse, Paige is released from her family's locked down bomb shelter into the dessicated remains of her hometown. Her mission: meet up with her father and his fellow scientists at Disney World to help rebuild society. Outfitted with razors that extend from her fingertips and some ocular implants that do so much more than night vision, Paige should have no problem getting passed the undead. That is, until she has a chance meeting with her first love, Chris Parker, now known as Chase. Chase still hasn't quite gotten over her ditching him during the outbreak. Paige hasn't gotten over putting duty before love. Will they find love again post-apocalypse?
First, I'm going to touch on the split chapter element as it seems to be dividing reviewers. The book is set up with chapters alternating between past and present; before the apocalypse and after. Some have found this bothersome, awkward, and confusing, but I thought this was a brilliant way to tell the story and loved how the juxtaposition of the two timelines allowed Chase and Paige's back story to unfold within the action. This kept the book fast paced and made for a truly enjoyable read.
I loved the combination of strong love story and zombie action. Mancusi doesn't shy away from the darker elements of this genre, but still manages to keep the tone intrinsically young adult. These two are still teenagers trying to figure out who they are while they fight to survive. You even get the fairly annoying relationship tug-of-war aspect so common in YA fiction. A bit of this is necessary to keep the story moving, but it got to be too drawn out for my taste. The character development was so-so for Paige, but quite a bit better for Chase.
In the chapters concerning past events, Chase is the scraggly, soft hearted nerd who just wants a shot at the pretty popular girl. In the chapters concerning present events, he has been shaped by the apocalypse into a harder, more world weary version of himself. Obviously this works for a number of reasons, not only has he grown out of his scrawny body, but also his naive view of the world. I even enjoyed the fact that Marcusi was brave enough to tackle teenage drug addiction. She blended it well into the plot and made it one of Chase's eventually redeemable flaws. Overall, the development of his character was very satisfying. However the one thing that really bugged me was I felt like some of his sentimentality wasn't realistic for a nineteen year old boy. All three of my brothers are around this age and let me tell you, when daydreaming they would not be imagining their girlfriend/love interest as a Disney Princess. The imagery I got out of the last third of the book from Chase concerning Paige felt very out of character for a guy his age and broke me out of the rhythm the book had going. It felt much too feminine and not in sync with the more realistic tone of his thoughts from earlier on in the story. To me, this just felt like a rushed effort to tie together the whole Disney themed undertone of the novel, which while kinda fun at first felt a bit out of place in a story that had started out so gritty.
What I loved about this book was the technology aspect. Paige's razors and ocular implants made her a unique and kick-ass heroine. The zombie origin wasn't exactly unique. The zombie virus is spread by a vaccine that should have been a cure for a disease that has been plaguing mankind, in this case HIV/AIDS, but instead backfires turning everyone to mindless, flesh eating monsters. Cure gone wrong has been done quite a bit, but the implementation of it all was done very well.
The Final Verdict:
A very sweet post-apocalyptic love story, awesome tech, and fast-paced story make this a quick and enjoyable read, but the occasional lightness in tone was more awkward than complimentary. Tomorrow Land will please fans of fluffy YA fiction, but may not appeal to more hard-core fans of the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genres.(less)
The final book in the Newsflesh trilogy played out like the last 45 minutes of an action packed thriller. Well... that is, an action packed thriller w...moreThe final book in the Newsflesh trilogy played out like the last 45 minutes of an action packed thriller. Well... that is, an action packed thriller with an anti-climatic ending so disappointing, it had me shaking my head and mourning the unfulfilled potential. It wouldn't have been so bad had the first two books in the series not finished with such heart-stopping, epic conclusions! With the bar raised like that, one could only expect the final book, the book Grant promised would reveal all, would eclipse the other two in the shadow of its behemoth of a finale.
No. This was not the case at all.
While I enjoyed the majority of the book, the "endgame" as it was called, was left until the last 100 pages and didn't offer much more in explanation that readers didn't already know. Oh, and a very key plot point was almost completely skimmed over!. Please only read the following spoiler if you have finished this series in its entirety.
(view spoiler)[The evil doctor from the CDC tells them there can never be a cure for the virus without destroying peoples' immune systems and that individuals with reservoir conditions must be eliminated in order to prevent people dying needlessly from second-guessing themselves. I get that, I really do, but once the good old doc is dealt with and it is revealed to the actual fucking scientists that Shaun is immune from his prolonged exposure to Georgia and her reservoir condition, it is completely overlooked as far as future cure research is concerned. Sure they must immediately make a run for their lives and don't have time to really think it over, but in the epilogue, which is over nine months later, Mahir reiterates that there can never be a cure! Ummm... so the EIS decided to completely disregard immunity via sexy time with reservoir conditioned lovers? Not even gonna look into it? No? Too much of a hassle for you? Ok, sure! We're cool with Zombieland USA anyways. (hide spoiler)]
After all the build-up, the fantastic world building, the endearing characters, the insane plot-twists, and the BALLS Grant had to posses to take the risks she did, this ending felt sloppy and rushed in comparison. Why bother putting in all that hard work? Why bother with the extensive research? Why bother developing the science when you are going to end it all like THAT? As you can see, I'm pissed, and for good reason too. I had so much invested in this series. I cried, laughed, and sweated bullets with these characters for nearly 2,000 pages total for all three books. I grieved at the losses, raged over the injustices, and rejoiced in their triumphs, only for it all to come down to such a baffling conclusion.
I am disillusioned
I am disheartened
I am utterly disappointed with a series that had begun to define me as a reader and shift my standards for what makes great fiction.
I bet you've gotten to this point in the review and are wondering, "What the hell, Jess? If you're so pissed, why give it 4 stars?"
Well my Wicked Darling, while I am obviously upset over the ending, I did mention earlier that I enjoyed the majority of this book. The shifting view points from chapter to chapter was a nice change from the usual stagnant single narrator POV from the previous two books.
Each new revelation presented on page made for perpetually increasing possibilities. I don't know how many times Wigs and I said to each other, "There are so many ways this could go horribly wrong! And we love it!" The level of excitement that was built up over 3/4 of the book had me frantic to get to the climax. Only to have it wind down rather than explode in a blaze of glory. (Yes that innuendo was intentional.)
Regardless of my sadness over how it all went down, this still remains a series I will keep close to my heart. I can't say the same for Wigs, who wasn't nearly as attached as I was in the first place and was still disappointed. Wigs, at least we'll always have THE FOX.
Adorable Frightening Bat-shit I am The Fox["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
At this moment, after just finishing Deadline, I believe I'm in shock. I don't really know how I will write a review for this book without giving away spoilers for itself and for its predecessor Feed, but I will give it a try. Was this the best book ever? Certainly not. Were there flaws? Quite a few actually. Do either of those factors compare to the grip this series has a hold of me? Do they effect the love I have for the characters that Grant has created? Do they lessen at all the emotional reverberations I feel long after I have put the book back on its shelf? The answer is a loud and resounding NO. The people we love without a doubt have flaws, but the sheer magnitude of the impact they have on our own personal human experience makes these flaws pale in comparison.
This is Deadline to me.
This is the Newsflesh Trilogy to me.
The After the End Times team is back and hot on the trail of the conspiracy that rocked their world in the last book. If you think I'm being incredibly vague here, I am because there is honestly very little I can talk about this book plot wise without giving everything away. Let's just say I was very impressed with how quickly the action got going compared to Feed. Instead of a huge info dump that gets us acquainted with the characters and the world they inhabit, we take a quick moment to catch up with the team, and then are thrown directly into the action. And thank god for the action! Where Feed spent much of its length exploring politics, blogging, and evil plotting, Deadline spends it running, jumping, climbing trees. (Sorry couldn't resist the Eddie Izzard reference ^_^) There is still plenty of evil plotting going on here for those of us who loved that in the previous book, but this time we get to enjoy a faster paced story.
What Deadline has made up for in pace and excitement, it seems to have lack key character development in Shaun. I felt Grant had an almost unlimited amount of potential for Shaun's character here, but she held back for some reason. This was really disappointing for me as I love a good crazy anti-hero, but after being blown away by the ending, I trust that Grant knows what she is doing here. You see, after finishing Deadline I got the distinct feeling that everything that felt like a flaw throughout the course of the novel was absolutely intentional. Every emotion I felt during my read of this book seems to have been directed by Grant's storytelling in an almost subliminal way. To me this proves that Grant understands her core audience and knows just how to play us.
Which leads me to my final thoughts... What exactly does she have planned for us in Blackout? The ending of Deadline completely threw me as did the ending of Feed. So, if Grant is topping herself with each book... what epicness can we expect from the final book in the Newsflesh trilogy? I'm absolutely tingling with anticipation.
The Final Verdict
I think fans of the first book will love the ride and be left dying to find out what happens next.
Henry VIII is at the height of his reign and he's hungry like the wolf...
King Henry VIII is infamous for his ability to go through wives like dirty underwear with his fickle attentions and desire for a male heir. This book tells a tale untold until now.Henry's Europe is characterized as a land balancing precariously between human and demon kind. The Vatican acknowledges the existence of demons and even promotes their existence because, "..frightened people are more likely to attend church." Seriously, that's what they're going with. The Protektorate is an organization overseen by the Vatican that attempts to keep the demons in check to an extent, but in all honesty is pretty useless. Henry contracts lycanthropy and spends most of the book loping through England at night tearing into peasants with his great big teeth and hiding random body parts in his closet.
The title says it all, really I think readers will find an enormous lack of direction and misplaced humor. There are definitely some funny parts, but there are fairly few truly laughable moments. It is easy to see where the author tries to get a twisted laugh out of his reader and fails completely leading to much head shaking and exasperated sighing. I am a huge fan of dark humor, horror, and novel ideas. However in this case I just didn't like it. I think it is mostly because I have been incredibly spoiled by Christopher Moore and his fantastic books that mix dark humor, horror, and quirkiness superbly while still offering the reader an emotionally charged plot. His stories make you question just how fucked up your sense of humor actually is one minute and then show you that no matter how dark it gets, there is always heart at the center of it. I guess what I'm trying to say is there is a method to Mr. Moore's madness, whereas Henry VIII: Wolfman is just mad.
The pages of this book are soaked with blood and guts. I can get into that for zombies and the like, but when it comes to cracking jokes during the graphic slaughtering of children, I tend to be revolted. At one point, wolfman Henry digs up the grave of a recently deceased child, pulls of its head and limbs, and buries his snout in the gaping neck hole to feast. This is all after sinking his teeth into the ample breasts of the dead child's mother and ripping them off of her while she screams in agony. I am in no way debating morals here, I have read and enjoyed many a blood fest with novels like Z.A. Recht's Plague of the Dead and darkly humorous tales like Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job. If you can write your gore and humor with a satisfying storyline I commend you, it just doesn't happen here.
I won't lie though, the reading experience wasn't entirely unenjoyable. The text is well written and for all its sillyness keeps your reading at a brisk pace. I was brought to tears laughing at two different parts because of how absolutely ridiculous they were. That was honestly the thing that kept me reading, the twisted desire to see what crazy thing the author would come up with next. After all my criticisms for this book I did have the pleasure of reading the best irreverent death scene ever. I almost feel like bearing with the rest of the book is worth it just to read the death by fat ass scene. Don't have a cushion to smother your poor suffering patient with? Have the fattest man in the room sit on his face. Genius. I honestly mean that.
So Wicked reader, are you confused? Are you wondering right now "Did she like it or not?" The only answer I can give you is this. I didn't enjoy the story so much as I enjoyed the way it fucked with my head. I'm giving it 2.5 stars because of the butt death scene and because this book made me really think about what I liked in a book and how far someone can mess with historical accuracy before I stop taking it seriously. And that brings me to my final advice about this book. Don't take it seriously, enjoy the insane, twisted ride it takes you on. If you are not into the darker side of fiction, this is probably not the book for you. However if you enjoy a good mind fuck now and then, I suggest you give Henry VIII: Wolfman a read. And then tell me what you thought because I am dying to discuss this book with someone. (less)
I'm terribly conflicted in my feelings for this book. You see, I was so excited to begin reading. I received this book in a Secret Santa exchange and immediately fell in love with its gorgeous appearance.The hardback version of Miss Peregrine's is stunningly beautiful with its superb dust jacket artwork, inclusion of vintage photographs and letters in each chapter, and smooth, luxurious pages. The publisher succeeded in making the packaging alone worthy of today's high prices. However in the growing cover lust market it seems more focus is being put on making an outwardly beautiful book with less emphasis on the quality of its content. The old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover," could not be truer here and ultimately leads to an experience that is downright disappointing.
Theintriguing premise along with the deliciously macabre vintage photos makes for perpetually limitless peculiar plot possibilities. Yes, I'm a fan of alliteration. With this seemingly bottomless well of literary wealth, how the hell did Riggs completely miss the mark? Let me explain.
I'm the sort of reader who loves a deeply visceral and emotionally engaging read. The superficial appearance of Miss Peregrine's along with all the sparkling reviews led me to believe my experience would be like this:
When in actuality, It ended up being more like this...
Scary monsters huh? Cool...
So what happened? The storytelling is at first pleasantly creepy and the inclusion of the strange and disturbing photos made it that much better. I anticipated being drawn in deeper and waited patiently for the core plot to be revealed. To my surprise, and dismay, the actual action/conflict doesn't begin until the last 100 pages! This subsequently led to the author shoving me down a hill and leaving me with brief glimpses of depth as I tumbled toward the end. The first half of the book sets you up and slowly reels you in with cleverly deceptive photographs that never quite pay off and are often awkwardly placed. This ends up slowing the story down considerably rather than enhancing it. The farther I got into the story, the more I cringed each time Riggs planted another photo op. If that wasn't frustrating enough, certain plot twists happen way too late in the story cutting off any actual character development.
Speaking of characters, I enjoyed Jacob's snarky wit and general dry attitude up until he turns into one of the freaking Hardy Boys (with much less sleuthing ability) halfway though. Jacob takes the express route from charmingly cynical to dauntingly featherbrained. I won't go into depth on the shallow secondary characters and their even shallower relationships with Jacob, but yeah... Very unconvincing to say the least.
The sporadic and often random spurts of gore miss unsettling and go straight to just plain awkward. I don't mind gruesome details, but if you are going to do graphic then be consistent! The majority of the book is spent picnicking, making out with an eighty year old teen, and arguing the pros and cons of terrorizing a sweet little village in a time loop. So when out of the blue disemboweled sheep (and people) appear, the general impression comes off as an afterthought.
Finally, I have to say...WHERE THE F*** ARE ALL THE CHILDREN? We are tantalized with creepy photographs of the peculiar children from beginning to end and are introduced to barely any of them! This wouldn't have been such a big deal if I had just gotten even a whiff of the disturbing clown faced twins! There are two separate instances where Jacob finds a picture of them and they are just so damn creepy you would think Riggs wouldn't pass up the chance to use them to his advantage. But no! Not even an honorable mention is made throughout the entire book. Some of the more off-the-wall peculiars are a real treat and helped keep me interested, but this fact alone was not enough to save Miss Peregrine's for me.
The Final Verdict: A promising premise is poorly executed. If only an actual writer had written this... (less)
John and David end up working as reluctant paranormal investigators after a crazy, homicidal trip to Las Vegas. Apparently these freaky fiends never got the memo on shit staying in Vegas.
What can I say to you about JDATE? Yes, my brother and I found out that the abbreviation for the title spells out the name of the illustrious Jewish dating site. Coincidence? I think not. This book is one hilariously zany, hellish ride from cover to cover. I spouted off lines constantly to friends and family, who had no idea what I was talking about, before I realized, you really just had to be there. This was the most I've laughed at a book in probably EVER.
John Dies at the End seamlessly combines horror and humor with just the right amount of mind-fuckery to keep masochistic readers like myself interested. The monsters are often remembered by their biggest lines and catch phrases, i..e. the monster made of meat, "So, we MEAT again!" Yes, a bit cheesy, but the timing and follow up were flawless making this a crack up instead of a fail.
The character were my favorite part of this book. David is the reliable narrator, the kind of guy you can trust and relate to. You want good things to happen for Dave. Now...John is, well, a bit off his rocker, but you love him for it. With absolutely some of the best lines in the book John very seldom makes sense, but I think if he did, we would all be doomed anyway. The character that surprised me the most was Amy. She really isn't an important character until near the end, and her development completely surprises you. I loved this about her and felt the way the author takes her from one end of the spectrum to the other perfectly reflects the way people's preconceptions can completely distort the image of who that person really is. Well done.
So why you may ask, did I give it a 4 out of 5 if I loved it so much? Here's the thing. Regardless of the wonderfully screwball humor and creepy horror elements, Wong, who is actually the main character of the book, jumps his reader around so much that it seems there is no plot at all until the end of the book when it all comes together. After the trip to Vegas, my pace of reading slowed down quite a bit as David and the crew settle back into their normal lives, only to be shoved back out of it a chapter or so later. That wouldn't be so bad if the chapters weren't so long at this point in the book. Little details that absolutely made the book 50 pages ago, just slow the entire thing down and make a great read a bit tedious.
However, once it picks back up, the book doesn't let go until the last chapter, which plays a bit like the end of the last LOTR movie Return of the King. You keep thinking "Wow that was great!" and stand up when the screen blacks out only to sit back down again when a new scene opens up to let you know more about where the characters are going from here. A bit frustrating, but worthwhile to say you experienced the whole book.
So, does John Die at the End? I guess you'll have to read and find out!
Recommendation: I would suggest reading this book if you are into campy, bizarre humor. If you are a horror fan, please give this a try while attempting to not take yourself too seriously because trust me, this book doesn't. You will get your fair share of gore and gross out moments, usually accompanied by a one-liner. (less)
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not your teenager's zombie fiction. Grant has put together an intricate and well thought out world for her characters who are just as gritty and strong as the world they live in. I was fascinated by the political and journalism aspects and have great expectations for this series , so much so, that I went out and bought Deadline last week after only reading a few chapters of Feed. I enjoyed how the zombies weren't exactly the main focus of the book, but always lingered in the dark corners waiting for their chance to make a move. Without giving away spoilers, I can say that less than 1/4 of the way through, you realize the zombies aren't the real villains of this novel, but a tool. This concept is what finally hooked me after the extensive info-dump the first part of the book turns out to be.
The Virus I was thoroughly impressed with the intelligent tone and Grant's obvious extensive research. The Kellis-Amberlee virus isn't just some all purpose explanation for why the zombies are around. Grant describes the virus so intricately, if it didn't reanimate the dead, it would sound like something that could be present in the near future. The origin of the virus is described for the reader in great detail making the creation and spread believable by playing on the rash actions of today's extremist groups. The virus is so well developed in fact, that it really is its own character. Dark and sinister, it lays dormant in all living creatures just waiting to come in contact with an active strain of itself. Once it does, it amplifies rapidly inside its host, slowly enough for the host to get near others while still appearing normal, and quickly enough for the one person to have the potential to create a hazard zone the size of a large city. No one is safe, and eventually, everyone will succumb to the virus, even if they die a natural death.
The Pacing & Narrative It was kind of slow to start, but everything that contributed to the slowness was vital information. The narrative can come across a bit dry in spots between the action, however I believe this is due to the author staying true to the voice of her narrator. Georgia is such a 'let's get right down to business' sort of person that this style makes complete sense. One of the best aspects of this book is that nothing feels irrelevant. Not once did I say to myself, "Now that was definitely filler." Literally every scrap of information either helps you understand the world and the characters better or it sets up impending plot twists.
Georgia & Shaun This sibling duo is one of the best I've ever read. They offset each other perfectly with Shaun's mischievous, devil may care attitude balancing Georgia's more dry, goal oriented personality. Or does she balance him?? I truly believe they need each other to function properly. Shaun adds much needed comic relief to the story and often punches up a dry section of dialogue nicely.
I read a lot of reviews for this book before and during my read and noticed almost everyone makes a comment about an implied "relationship" between the two. While I did notice these implications, I didn't' find them as obvious or damning as others did. I felt the implications were fairly light rather than the "in-your-face" vibe I got from some of the reviews. I agree that it does appear there is something going on there, but I don't think everyone who reads this book will notice unless it is pointed out to them. There is never any confirmation of a romantic relationship between the two and readers going into the book expecting one will be greatly disappointed. The occurrences are so light and few that they could easily mean something completely different. The only reason I feel these claims are warranted is because of a statement made by Georgia at the end of the book. I won't get into this further in order to avoid spoilers.
The Twists My God the twists! There are quite a few with two really major ones that will completely throw you for a loop. I obviously can't go into them, however I will say they make this book one of the most shocking and fluid reads I've ever had. My warning to you all is under no circumstances should you read descriptions, summaries, reviews, or the backs of the other two books in the series. These WILL give away major plot points and HUGE spoilers for the first book.
The End A reviewer friend of mine here on Goodreads gave me the same warning that I just gave you all. Unfortunately I did not see it in time to save myself from my own curiosity. Curiosity really did kill the cat, or in this case, the ending for Feed for me. I was so mad at myself and now that I know how it all ends, I'm sad because I know this book would have been even better had I not seen it coming. Let me tell you, you do not want this epic ending spoiled for you so please stay away from the other books or anything about them until you finish this one!
Even with the spoiler, the end still hit me hard and I literally bawled. I had myself a good, soaking wet, snotty, hiccup inducing cry. Not just because of the shock of this plot twist, but because of the way the author handles it. The portrayal is perfect and heart-wrenching and felt so right in its context. Grant stays so true to her characters and I am just blown-away with the entire book.
The Final Verdict Feed truly lives up to the massive hype and deserves every nice thing that is said about it. I really couldn't find much fault anywhere. The writing is fluid and intelligent, the characters are well developed and maintained, and Grant's dedication to making this book absolutely brilliant shines through on every page. Personally, reading this book made me want to be a better writer, blogger, and media consumer.
Zombie skeptics and newbies will find this a nice transition book as it is more focused on the drama and the characters than the actual zombies and gore. Zombie veterans and developing fans will find it a fresh take on their favorite rotting fiends. Everyone will learn a thing or two about virology, politics, and just what it takes to bring us the news. I can not think of a better way to begin a series. (less)
Yes, this is a book about zombies overrunning the planet. Basically, the American military is experimenting with viruses in Africa for possible future biological warfare. They call it, the Morningstar Strain, and what do you know, some of it just happens to get out and infect the general population. Nice job guys. Countries from all over the world pitch in their soldiers to help evacuate uninfected civilians and barricade the "carriers" inside the continent. Of course, we all know this can't possibly work, but it's a neat idea. Recht puts an interesting spin on the zombie apocalypse making this a thought provoking read. Is this something that could happen in the foreseeable future?
I really liked the author's explanation for slow and fast zombies. Fast zombies are called "sprinters" and are living carriers of the virus that have been taken over by its parasitic nature. Slow zombies or "shamblers" are reanimated carriers whose bodies are bogged down by the effects of rigor mortis. Cool huh? There are some pretty neat concepts in this book and calling the virus Morningstar was just ingenious because it really does just pulverize everything in its path.The virus is a blood-borne disease and therefore can infect everyone if they get bitten or scratched making the story that much more tragic. Many characters almost get away and then are infected at the last possible moment. I have to admit, there were times I got paranoid over how easy this virus would be to spread around the U.S. Many coughing strangers incited me to consider the merits of my household items as zombie bashing weapons.
Plague of the Dead is well written and fun to read, however the emotional side of the story fell flat for me about a third of the way in. Most of the characters are in the military and therefore are being addressed by their last names. That would have been fine if half their names didn't sound the same and start with similar letters. I found myself flipping pages back to figure out who the hell just ate it and if I should care. "Was it the guy I was starting to like? Nope, never mind, nobody important to the story." Of course I was sad when people got infected and either killed themselves or succumbed to the virus, but really many of the characters lacked depth for me. Almost all of the lower ranked soldier characters were the generic smart-ass sarcastic, foul mouthed soldier which is important to have a similar character to lighten the mood, however it just gets annoying after the second guy. It was almost like the author said, "Hey, people will like this character so much, that when I kill him off, I should have a handful of characters to replace him!."
I guess my point here is, I enjoyed this book and all its zombie methodology, however I felt like the heart of the story was missing. The characters basically just bounce around from place to place avoiding zombies. They don't seem to have much direction until near the end and the characters are so emotionally detached from the reader that it is hard to feel much. Of course you will want them to survive, but your heart won't pound in anticipation of their fate. (less)