I have read this book a couple of times and I love it. I gave it 5 stars. I wanted to reread it again but thought this time I would try it in a differI have read this book a couple of times and I love it. I gave it 5 stars. I wanted to reread it again but thought this time I would try it in a different medium, so I am listening to the audiobook.
This is one of my all time favourite horror novels, and I still loved the story as much as I always have. I enjoyed the audiobook, but not as much as reading the book myself. The narrator was ok but he was very slow, and so for the first time ever I increased the speed to 1.25x. I’ve never done this before and actually don’t really like it as it makes the voice sound unnatural, but I had to do something as this guys voice was sooooo slow! It was a little better after this and I managed to enjoy the recording overall. I still stand by my 5 stars for the book, it's a fantastic story, a wonderful piece of horror literature, and a classic in the genre, but I give the narration 3.5 stars....more
Red Hill is the first book I've read by Jamie McGuire. I've heard a lot of great things about her new adult romance series so this seems quit2.5 Stars
Red Hill is the first book I've read by Jamie McGuire. I've heard a lot of great things about her new adult romance series so this seems quite a bit of a departure from that genre. Sadly it showed. Red Hill brought nothing new to the zombie genre, and contained quite a lot of the same stuff I've read before. And I've read a lot. It also didn't really go into any depth.
Basically it's the journey of several characters that find themselves fighting a zombie outbreak. There's Scarlet, who's looking for her two daughter's; Nathan and his daughter, Zoe, who he's trying to keep safe; Miranda, her sister and their boyfriends; all are heading to one place they think is the safest: Red Hill Ranch.
There are several narrators, all from the first person view point. This didn't work for me at all. The main reason first person is used is to get inside the mind of the character, this can't be done successfully when each chapter flips between several characters. We never got inside the character's mind for long enough to really get to know them, and because of this the first person POV was wasted. I don't really understand the use of first person in this instance, and wonder why the third person POV wasn't used. In my opinion it would have read better a lot better.
Even though each chapter is titled with the character's name, I often had to go back to the beginning if I'd taken a break mid-chapter, to see who it was, as I couldn't gage who was speaking, the voices just weren't distinct enough to determine who was speaking.
None of the characters are particularly likeable, except maybe for Nathan and Scarlet. Miranda starts out likeable, but then I changed my mind after some of her terrible, selfish decisions. One being to not take an eight year old girl because they didn't have any room in the car. Really? She could of sat on someone's lap - to me, there's always room for a child. But no, Miranda was totally happy to leave her to the zombie hordes.
There were also aspects that were glossed over. Such as an elderly couple who took in Nathan and his daughter, Zoe. They became quite close even in the short space of time they had known each other, and I liked their bond. But when something happens to them, it's never mentioned; no emotions - nothing. I found this unbelievable and way too simplistic. After reading quite a lot of really awesome zombie books who's writer's understood that emotions are a huge part of zombie fiction, (namely Rhiannon Frater who wrote the As the World Dies series), Red Hill was sadly lacking in this department.
There was also quite a bit of repetitiveness in the prose; doubling up of words in a short space is one of my pet peeves when it comes to writing, as well as weird descriptions:
Skeeter smiled with his mouth and frowned with his eyes.
I ran to the door and pressed my ear against the door.
Hearing her clumsy footsteps upstairs as the sickness told her braindead body to move to find food was unbelievable.
and then a short time later:
No matter how many times I told myself it was true, seeing someone I knew to be dead moving around was unbelievable.
There were also a few inconsistencies:
Skeeter alternated between checking on his wife and checking the windows in the other room.
I wondered who the woman on the floor was to Skeeter, and what her life was like before she was bitten.
The fact that the narrator knew the woman was Skeeter's wife in one sentence, only to wonder who the woman was in the next really irritated me and threw me out of the scene.
The ending was a mishmash of silliness all packed into a few chapters. It felt as though the author was just throwing stuff in there to try and get a better climax to the story. Characters died all over the place, a huge bomb went off, ash fell from the sky, was it nuclear? Nobody knew, but hey let's continue with the birthday party inside! It didn't do anything for me. And due to the way the narration was handled I didn't get to know the characters that well, and as I didn't like many of the characters to begin anyway, I didn't care much about their outcome.
However, even with all these negative points, I did still manage to read until the end. It wasn't awful enough to stop me reading but it certainly wasn't a particularly good zombie novel.
Red Hill wasn't the best zombie novel I've read, but it also wasn't the worst. It's a 'meh' book for me. There were a few good parts, but many were quite silly, most of the characters were unlikeable, and the pacing was all over the place....more
Plague Nation is the second book in the Ashley Parker zombie series and I enjoyed it a lot. It isn't as good as book one, Plague Town, but it3.5 Stars
Plague Nation is the second book in the Ashley Parker zombie series and I enjoyed it a lot. It isn't as good as book one, Plague Town, but it is still a really fun read.
Ashley is a great heroine. I love her snark and attitude, but she's also genuine and caring. This continues to show through her actions towards her friends. Gabriel on the other hand is a strange one. In the first book I thought he was soooo sexy, but here he is a little generic. I got tired of his hard-arse attitude and wanted him to grow the hell up.
I'm also disappointed that there isn't much of a fall out from the revelation regarding Gabriel's secret. It is sort of washed over and Ashley has apparently forgiven him for lying and accepts everything, and yet Gabriel is the one with the stony-face? I really didn't like the way he treated Ashley. I know he has a lot going on with his particular condition, but he acts like a douchebag at times.
They do get back together in this instalment but it felt all wrong. Their relationship is barely touched upon and when they are together I was hoping for fireworks, but they just act as though they have been with each other for years rather than just having their first amazing sexual encounter a few days previously.
I wanted more heat, more angst... just more.
Having said that, I do love these two characters and I suppose that's why I am slightly disappointed that their relationship isn't really dealt with, considering what they went through in the previous book. I like the fact they give each other such a hard time though as it makes for a fun relationship.
To make up for the lack of relationship growth between Ashley and Gabriel, there is a lot of action and a lot of zombies, and I mean a lot. So much happens, and even one of the team dies *sniffles* But I'm not telling you who. The fall out from this is handled really well. The emotions that emulate from each of the team comes off as so real it nearly made me cry.
The ending is good, and as predicted, has me gagging for book three.
A really good addition to the series, just not as good as book one. However, there's plenty of zombie action even if there isn't any bedroom action, if you know what I mean *wink, wink*. This is definitely a series that should be on your bookshelf if you're an urban fantasy / zombie fan. Roll on 2014 and Plague World....more
Dead Tropics was a really good zombie horror, and I enjoyed the author’s writing style. It’s the typical surOriginally posted on www.bookchickcity.com
Dead Tropics was a really good zombie horror, and I enjoyed the author’s writing style. It’s the typical survival plot of a group of people helping each other to survive with one leader.
Lori Nelson is an unapologetic heroine, killing zombies from the get go without hesitation, whether adult, child or baby. Going from an ordinary woman, performing the normal day to day routines, to an extraordinary woman, wielding a parang. The transition from one to the other is quick, but so is the action. It moves fast and furious, without letting up, which to be honest is how it would be if the zombie apocalypse actually happened. You either step up or become one of the walking dead.
It’s an incredibly easy read too and the writing flows really well. Although there’s not a lot of depth or world building I still connected with the characters.
Some of Lori’s decisions are slightly stupid though, like the futile attempt at trying to save a street full of people from a large zombie horde, which could have potentially led the zombies back to her family. Other decisions are more calculated and selfish, but ultimately life-saving for herself, her friends and her family; such as leaving abandoned children to die at the hand of the walking dead. I’m not sure I would have made the same decisions, I’m not sure I could watch children die, even if I didn’t know them. They had nobody to save them as their parents were already dead. But although Lori’s decisions were out of sync with mine, she is admirable in certain situations. And with a large gaggle of zombies descending upon me, I’m sure it would be difficult to make instant decisions under such panic and duress.
At times it seemed that all the adults wanted to have a go at being the hero, and on occasion all together. This is one of those stupid decisions, being as they had numerous children to care for. My eyes rolled to the heavens. Really? Leave all those children unprotected with just one adult, Emma, who really wasn’t much use, as past history showed.
However, for the most part, Dead Tropics is a really fun, action-packed read. It was non-stop, but in a good way. Edge kept the tension and suspense wracked up high for most of the novel. Sometimes I wished it would slow down so I could catch my breath, but I loved how the action drove the novel forward.
Although the title suggests it is based in a tropical rainforest, it is actually set in urban areas for about 75% of the story. When it does move into the rainforest, it’s a nice change of scenery as it’s a fresh and original setting. I wish more of the book took place in the rainforest rather than the town and roads, as this has been done to death.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Dead Tropics. It’s a fun, adrenaline-fuelled ride with lots of zombies. I can’t wait for book two, which I’ve been told by Permuted Press, is set for release sometime in 2014....more
The Autumn series by David Moody continues with Purification. It's a great instalment. This series is getting better and better and I'm really enjoyinThe Autumn series by David Moody continues with Purification. It's a great instalment. This series is getting better and better and I'm really enjoying it. The tension, suspense and horror is still prevalent as the zombies continue to evolve into something even more terrifying.
The opening scene is fantastic. The underground army is plotting to go up into the world and push back the thousands of zombies that have accumulated above the underground bunker. The vents, which are keeping the soldiers and civilian's alive are being blocked by the growing number of zombies. After a few attempts at trying to secure the vents and clear the zombies, they decide to try and push back the zombies even further and all hell breaks lose.
This battle scene is just brilliant. Although the zombies aren't particularly hard to deal with individually, the are a terrifying force when grouped together in their thousands. It was so exciting and horrifying all at once. What was a relatively safe place is now over run and the remaining survivors have to fight their way out.
Once secure in a building away from the hordes, Michael, Emma and the others are dumbfounded when a helicopter lands outside the building they are hiding in. This is the beginning of something new and to realise there are others out there scares and excites them. They are told other survivors are safely contained in an airport where they have a small plane as well as the helicopter. With slight trepidation they decide to join the new survivors at the airport. Once there they learn that these survivors will eventually head out to an island they've found and are happy for Michael and his group to join them.
We meet lots of new characters, as well as continuing to follow Michael and Emma (my favourite characters). Their relationship has moved on (luckily in the way I had hoped) but are finding it difficult. But being in a larger group of people, new faces and a new, more secure home, they all begin to feel hope again and make new friends, but of course this doesn't last for long...
Another brilliant instalment from David Moody. As with the previous books in the Autumn series, I couldn't put Purification down. This series is a fantastic addition to the zombie genre. If you haven't read it, then seriously, go pick it up, you won't be sorry....more
I found White Horse very interesting but irritating at first. The format is a little off putting with "Now" and "Then" being used throughout to tell tI found White Horse very interesting but irritating at first. The format is a little off putting with "Now" and "Then" being used throughout to tell the story of the present and the past, with very short passages between each one, which interrupted the flow of the story. Then there was the 'jar'. One of the most intriguing aspects to White Horse and one of the most frustrating.
A mysterious jar turns up in Zoe's apartment, with no note and no reason. And whereas you or I might just throw it in the recycling bin without too much thought, Zoe leaves it in the middle of her room, looks at it, discusses it with her friends and even has therapy because of it - I found this difficult to understand. I wanted to know what the jar was all about, but at the same time not knowing irritated me and I just couldn't understand Zoe's actions.
So, after the first 80 pages or so I was ready to give up.
And then the unforeseen happens. White Horse switches from a possible did not finish (DNF) to one of the most surprising reads of the year. What was at first annoying becomes the driving force of the novel and the reason for the unrelenting pace. It was now the reason I didn't want to put the book down. I was fascinated, perplexed, captivated. What's wrong with the world? What's the meaning of the jar? Why has all this happened? And who is Swiss? Thankfully we are rewarded answers to these questions at the end.
The world is a very desolate place. The worst traits of the human race is prevalent; rape, murder, selfishness.There are many disturbing scenes such as incestuous rape, abortion and suicide. Everybody we meet seem to be beaten down or have the worst traits of human kind, which made this a very dark and depressing book to read.
The main character, Zoe, isn't much better, thinking only of herself until she meets Lisa, a blind young English woman who Zoe saves from an existence of continuous rape by her father. Although the world is a depressing place, Zoe begins to meet inspirational people on her journey to find the man she loves and the father of her unborn baby. These people care, still human with the best traits. It must rub off on Zoe as she begins to grow as a character, helping others along the way, being selfless, kind and compassionate.
Very slowly we learn that the world was exposed to a disease called White Horse and now humans are mutating, changing into something else, or die. They aren't described very much until the end of the book when you begin to get more of an understanding of what those who are infected have become.
The Swiss, a man who attaches himself to Zoe and Lisa on their journey hurts them physically and mentally. He's a totally vile human being and has no morals, no sense of right and wrong and no lingering humanity. But when we finally find out Swiss's own story, it's completely unpredictable, although a tad unbelievable and even slightly cheesy compared to the rest of the novel.
The ending feels complete and doesn't lend itself to a sequel, but being part of a trilogy there's obviously more to come. I'm looking forward to finding out what that is.
A brilliant debut, White Horse surprised and delighted me. It's wonderfully written with complex characters and visually descriptive prose of a post-apocalyptic landscape. What started out as a contender for the did not finish pile, found its way to my pile of best books of 2012. I can't wait for the next book in the series....more
One night when Ashley Parker and her boyfriend, Matt, are having a late night picnic and are busy makingOriginally published on www.BookChickCity.com
One night when Ashley Parker and her boyfriend, Matt, are having a late night picnic and are busy making out, Ashley feels something’s on her, and at first she’s angry as she thinks it’s Matt getting a bit carried away, but when she shoves Matt off her and he shines a light to see what the problem is, they find a half eaten woman rolling around on the ground, wanting to chomp down on Ashley. They make a run for it but the last thing Ashley remembers are Matt’s screams.
When she wakes up she finds herself in a makeshift med ward, and soon learns that a virus is causing the dead to walk. She also finds that one of her lecturers from university and her assistant Gabriel, have not only survived but are actually part of the team helping to contain the disease.
After Ashley has healed sufficiently she learns that she’s actually a ‘wild card’, which means she’s immune to the virus. Because of this they ask her to join their team, along with a few other ‘wild card’s’ they’ve come across, to help clear the area and rescue any survivors. Thus ensues lots of action, zombie brain splattering, suspense and fab character interaction with a dash of sexual tension.
PLAGUE TOWN is such a fun read. Full of zombie munching, gory entrails, sassy heroine and a hero you ‘love to hate’, but soon end up just loving. The descriptions of the zombies are great, and worthy of any horror novel. They are gory and detailed, just the way I like ‘em.
The world Fredsti has created is fantastic, very visual and realistic. The dialogue is very smooth and I was completely immersed in the characters and their lives. There were a few scenes that made my hairs stand on end, which is great, exactly what I want when reading a book such as this.
“In here!” Lil joined me and banged on the front door. We watched as zombies peeled off from the steady stream wandering past and staggered to join the ever-increasing crown in front of the store. I glanced at Lil, and could tell from her set expression that she was scanning the crowd for a familiar face.
One I hoped she didn’t see.
“Maybe we should–” I stopped short as the zombie that used to be Annie suddenly let go of the gate and veered off to its left, pushing through the crowd with what almost seemed like a sense of purpose.
“Okay, now that’s just weird.”
“Do you think she remembers the back door?”
A chill ran up my spine.
Ashley, the main character, is a firecracker; feisty, sassy and not afraid to get into the thick of it. She deals with what life throws at her with ease, sometimes a bit too easily, but I did like her for it. Ashley’s love interest and mentor, is Gabriel. When we first meet him, before the virus and zombie outbreak, he was an absolute pig. He acted superior and talked down to Ashley and tried to embarrass her whenever possible, but as the story moves along, he thaws out and becomes a sweet guy, but also doesn’t lose that hard edge. There’s also a twist to his character I saw a mile off, but it is a good one.
I loved the first sexy scene between Ashley and Gabriel. There had been a bit of sexual tension between them but the intensity of Gabriel’s feelings which showed in this scene shocked me as much as it did Ashley. Did he let the side down by acting like a jerk a little later, yep, but the lead up was sexy and hot.
I gasped in shock. Without warning, his hands tightened painfully on my upper arms and he pushed me up against the wall, his body pressed against mine. His eyes darkened so much I thought I must be imagining it.
My breathing quickened as his hand shifted from my arms up to my face, fingers twining though my hair. Anger and desire warred in his gaze. Heat coiled in my stomach even as fear shuddered up my spine. I tried to shake my head, but his fingers held it in place as he muffled any protests by covering my mouth with his.
Fingers massaging my scalp, he slowly increased the intensity of the kiss, his tongue entering into play as he tilled my head back and slip it in.
I felt like I was following along in a dance, being led by someone who knew the steps much better than I did. I discovered that I was content to follow, matching the pressure of his lips with mine, letting my tongue play with his as he pressed his body into me, emphasising the move with a low, throaty sound.
He was definitely packing heat, and it wasn’t his sidearm.
Ashley and Gabriel do have one other hot scene, unfortunately this isn’t handled as well as the one above, in my opinion, which is a shame as they totally get it on and it’s what I’d been waiting for since their first connection. The reason is, I have a thing. It may just be me but I can’t stand it when people snog first thing in the morning without cleaning their teeth, or, as in this instance, kiss after throwing up. It’s just icky. And it’s all I think about while the scene is unfolding, and I’m unable to enjoy it.After finding out Gabriel’s secret, Ashley is so disgusted she rushes to the bathroom and throws up. She rinses her mouth out but that’s it. In bursts Gabriel and one thing leads to another. The first thing I didn’t like is the above mentioned sicky mouth, but also the fact that it was all too rushed. Why did Ashley and Gabriel have to get it on then and there. With the enormous revelation I would have thought Ashley would have been a little bit more miffed and needed some time to mull everything over.
There’s an AMAZING action scene near the end of the book and I would have much prefered Ashley and Gabriel to have waited until after this scene. I think it would have been much better, but then… I’m not the author.
One of the other ‘wild cards’ I loved is Lily. She’s a really sweet character. At first she seems a bit naive and shy, but put a pickaxe in her hand and she turns into a zombie killing machine. She reminded me a little bit of Jenni from Rhiannon Frater’s As the World Dies trilogy in that she becomes a little nuts with everything that is going on, and to cope she goes out with guns blazing pulverising zombies whenever she can.
One of my favourite scenes was when Ashley and Lil head out on their own to go back into the zombie infested town to rescue Lil’s two cats Doodle and Blinkey. I love animals and I know that I would have to do everything in my power to save them and I loved that this is what the characters in this book decided to do too. It was heart-warming and sweet. The love Lil had for her pet’s was really sweet. She couldn’t concentrate on what she was doing without knowing they were ok. Once they were safely with her and Lil and Ashley were safely back at the UNIT she slept.
I opened the door.
“Lil?” No answer. She wouldn’t have bolted, would she?
Gabriel came in behind me.
“What is it?” he asked. “Is she okay?”
I pointed to the bed where Lily had collapsed, giving in to exhaustion. Blinkey was draped around the top of her head like a furry halo, Doodle curled in the crook of her arm…both cats purred loudly and the contented smile on Lil’s face – even in her sleep – brought tears to my eyes.
“Yeah,” I said quietly. “She’s okay.”
There are lots of secondary characters and they all had distinctive personalities. I didn’t become lost in the sea of names as I have done with other novels. They all added their bit to the story and I ended up liking them all, hoping they would all survive.
Other than one or two aspects, I think PLAGUE TOWN is a great zombie book. I really enjoyed it and Ashley is a fantastic heroine. I can’t wait to see how she grows in subsequent books. Fredsti is now on my auto-buy list and I can’t wait for the next book in the series, Zombie Nation....more
The opening of Autmun: The City brings us back to the city where the story started in book one, hence the title. We meet new characters and see how chThe opening of Autmun: The City brings us back to the city where the story started in book one, hence the title. We meet new characters and see how characters from the previous book are doing, as well as the introduction of the army who have been held up in a bunker just outside the city.
New characters Jack, Donna and Cooper are all great, but it was also really good to get back to Emma and Michael who were my favourite characters in the first book, Autumn.
What I’ve found even more evident in this instalment is Moody’s very cinematic writing style – it’s as though each book could be an episode in a TV series and each book just gives you that little bit more of the storyline, but each having a self contained story within.
There’s much better characterisation in this instalment, with a lot more depth of emotion. I’m not sure if it’s because I began reading this straight after reading Autumn but I really started to get to know and care for the characters. The few niggles I had with Autumn weren’t a factor here, and I enjoyed Autumn: The City from beginning to end.
The zombies are still as creepy and now they’re decomposing and getting more violent. Although these zombies are the traditional slow, shuffling kind, they are different in that they rip apart there own kind as well as humans, but don’t eat flesh (well in this instalment anyway). However, this could all change as the zombies evolve further.
There’s fantastic tension and the suspense just builds and builds and doesn’t let up. I couldn’t put this book down and as soon as I’d finished I grabbed for the next book in the series, Autumn: Purification.
Autumn: The City is a great second instalment, much better than the first in my opinion with better characterisation and more depth. I can only see this series getting better with each book, as I follow the characters and get to know them better, as well as seeing how the zombies evolve. If you haven’t started this series yet, then I would urge that you do. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed – a great zombie read....more
I was really looking forward to reading "The Greatcoat". I was hoping it would be an atmospheric, romantic ghost story, and although very dif2.5 Stars
I was really looking forward to reading "The Greatcoat". I was hoping it would be an atmospheric, romantic ghost story, and although very different, written with the same richness and depth as 'The woman in Black' by Susan Hill (my favourite ghost story of all time). Unfortunately, it didn't really deliver.
"The Greatcoat" is a ghost story set in Yorkshire during the Second World War and the 1950s. It's a strange little novella in that to me it didn't have much of an atmosphere at all, which is what I expect from a ghost story. It wasn't eerie or creepy. I did, however, think the author managed to capture the essence of Yorkshire quite well and I could visualise the house and street where Isabel and Phillip lived.
Isabel and Phillip are married and move into a house with a rather grouchy landlady. Phillip is a doctor and is working long hours, leaving Isabel alone for long periods of time. The house is cold and one evening Isabel finds an old greatcoat, which she uses to keep warm, and thus begins the ghost story...
I felt that all the characters were very superficial, especially Isabel. They didn't have any depth to them and I didn't get to know them at all. Isabel's husband Philip and her lover (and ghost) Alec, were also a bit on the flat side and rather uninteresting. I didn't care about them, which made the reading of this novel slightly hard going. The character that did pique my interest was Mrs Atkinson, the landlady.
The romance between Isabel and Alec just didn't capture my imagination or my heart and unfortunately I didn't become emotionally attached to either of them. Half the time I didn't know who Isabel was and so I couldn't fully invest in their relationship.
Isabel's narrative was difficult to follow as it alternates between her true self and someone else entirely. I think I have an idea what the author was getting at, but ambiguity is not to my taste. There's also a fair amount of repetitiveness with Isabel doing and saying the same things again and again. The structure of the story is also irritating as it jumps about far too much, which made it feel disjointed.
Although I didn't particularly enjoy "The Greatcoat" I continued reading with the hope that the ending would make all the preceding pages worth while, but sadly the ending was abrupt and obscure.
Unfortunately "The Greatcoat" wasn't what I expected, which was disappointing, and the writing style wasn't to my taste. I couldn't connect with the characters or their relationships with each other. However, this is just my personal opinion - you may love it!...more
Looking at the cover, the title as well as the fact Carina Press classes "Lure of the Mummy" as a horror, I was expecting more. The writing i2.5 Stars
Looking at the cover, the title as well as the fact Carina Press classes "Lure of the Mummy" as a horror, I was expecting more. The writing is good but the horror is non existent, and with just 72 pages to play with I felt that the story was just too short. It felt as if it was from a much longer work, but to keep it at novella length the author removed huge chunks of the story. It read a little thin.
There wasn't a lot of depth to the characters, and the world was very narrowly focused, mainly on an apartment and an office. The fact the story was set in Egypt should have given the author a lot to play with but unfortunately the opportunity was lost.
"Lure of the Mummy" is set in Egypt and should have conveyed the colourful Egyptian atmosphere, lifestyle and people. It did for the first couple of pages and then disappeared inside an office building and apartment. I would have like much more descriptive detail of the Egyptian museum and wish that it was set there rather than alternating between a boring office and apartment. I think it would have added to the story of the mummified cat and the strange goings on.
Bert is the main character and who most of the story centres around. He's a hieroglyphics expert, but he is bypassed for a more dynamic colleague when a new artefact needs translating. When he's out at a market he's offered a mummy to buy, which he does, but things are not as they seem with this mummified cat. When Bert thinks that a certain someone should just drop dead, they actually do...
When I finished the last page I was relieved. Bert is a very distasteful character and incredibly unlikable. He's selfish and bitter, filled with jealousy and anger, basically he's just a nasty little man. When he eventually gets his comeuppance I didn't feel any sympathy for him at all. In fact I was rather indifferent.
"Lure of the Mummy" is an interesting character study but not an immensely enjoyable piece of fiction. There wasn't enough depth to the characters for me to connect with, and although Bert did get under my skin it was not in a good way. There's also not enough world building, and with Egypt being the setting this novella should have oozed atmosphere. Although this isn't an awful novella I personally wouldn't recommend it, but if you like short, quick reads then you may enjoy this one more than me. ...more
Autumn is another series which started its life as an online serial. This seems to be an increasing theme happening in zombie fiction at the3.5 Stars
Autumn is another series which started its life as an online serial. This seems to be an increasing theme happening in zombie fiction at the moment. Both the excellent As the World Dies series by Rhiannon Frater and Allison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux also began their life online.
What I found really compelling about this novel is the fact everything unfolds in what feels like real time. From the very first day when the virus hits we follow the few survivors through their disbelief, anger and fear. It was refreshing to get a complete story rather than just be told that a virus caused the walking dead, but to actually live it alongside the characters as it happens was chilling.
Moody has a brilliant way of building the suspense and tension. At first the virus spreads and the descriptions of hundreds of thousands of deaths was completely terrifying and is one of the best openings I’ve read.
Another noise behind her made Emma look back over her shoulder. The other shopper had collapsed face-first into a display rack, sending loaves of bread, rolls and pastries crashing to the ground. He lay on his back in the middle of the aisle, coughing, holding his throat and writhing in agony.
Outside, there were bodies everywhere. Emma stumbled onto the street, shielding her eyes from the blinding sun. Hundreds of people had fallen around her, and every face she looked into was ashen, each person’s lips bloodied and red. They had all suffocated.
The few survivors then watch as two days later many of the decomposing bodies rise up again. As the story moves forward the zombies who are at first completely harmless begin to change…
There are many different characters we follow, and we view the world through their eyes in a third person narrative. Personally, I much prefer a first person narrative as it’s easier for me to really connect with the characters. I think this is because I get to hear their introspective thoughts. Because this is all third person, I didn’t get to know the characters as much as I would have liked, but I did enjoy reading about them.
The aspect I did have a problem with was that this seemed to be a world without any knowledge of the word zombie or what it symbolised. A world without zombie fiction or movies. And I say this because when the dead started to rise, not one character mentioned zombies, when the dead came at them in hordes, decomposing and yet animated, still nobody mentioned zombies. I appreciate that some authors may prefer not to use the “z” word, trying to create something new, but to me it felt a little strange, as though I was reading about a parallel world but one that had no knowledge of zombies what so ever.
However, I can honestly say that even with the few niggles I had with Autumn I found it very difficult to put down. By the midway point, I was invested in the characters and their story and wanted to know what they were going to do, how they were going to survive and why did all this happen. The climax was heart in throat stuff and I couldn’t wait to pick up book two.
Autumn is a really good zombie novel with a refreshing style that had me captivated. A few issues here and there, but overall a great read and one I would recommend to horror and zombie fans alike. There are lots of questions left unanswered, but that just leads us nicely onto book two, Autumn: The City....more
I don't often read short stories. Not because I don't think they are good but because I preferOriginally posted on Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
I don't often read short stories. Not because I don't think they are good but because I prefer the longer story and character arc that a novel can give. But when I found that one of my all time favourite series had a companion volume of short stories, I had to read it.
I'm not sure if readers coming in as a completely new reader will find this small collection of short stories as riveting as I did. The first two stories are short and I think were written for readers already familiar with the 'As The World Dies' trilogy. Because I had read the first two novels in the series, I was able to read the short stories with a mind already full of the world and the characters and the groundwork and foundations had already been set so to speak. However, as a companion to the trilogy they are fab.
The Broken Heart ~ Lydia's Story
This was the story I was most looking forward to reading, as well as dreading. Katie, one of the main characters in the full length novels in the 'As The World Dies' trilogy is such a wonderful character. Her sorrow and pain she feels about the death of her beloved wife, Lydia, is really poignant and one of the reasons I love Katie so much, so to finally see how Lydia died is sad but a must read all the same.
It was lovely to see Katie and Lydia together in happier times, good to see Katie smiling and buoyant rather than fighting for her life and tormented by memories of Lydia as a zombie. But at the same time the ending to Lydia's story is inevitable, we know what happens, and it's this ending that is so sad and heartbreaking, but very fitting to the trilogy and Katie's ongoing story.
Dangerous Highways ~ Monica's Story
It was nice to see Monica's journey before she arrived at the Fort. Not a pleasant journey by any means having been threatened at gun point by a man who had lost his sanity with hungry zombies all around. After seeing his wife being bitten and turned into a zombie and then see her kill and turn their children into zombies, you can understand why he's gone a little bit loopy.
But this is a different world now and it boils down to survival. Monica has to do what she can to stay alive so she can get to her home town and her family in one piece. As with all of Frater's work, there's an abundance of tension and suspense that makes this story exciting and heard to put down. But because it's very short, you don't have to wait long before it's ended - far too short in my opinion, but a great little story.
Vacation of the Undead ~ Eric's Story
I didn't find Eric particularly charismatic in 'Fighting to Survive'. He was a bit weedy. But this short story, which is a much better length, changed all that. Eric is actually pretty cool.
This short story is Eric's journey to the Fort and what a journey it is. After a huge fight with his girlfriend, Brandy, Eric finds himself, and his little dog, Pepe, in a bed and breakfast with zombies shuffling outside the front door. Before he enters the Fort we see him fighting off hordes of zombies, saving lives and falling in love.
The first half of the story seems to have been influenced by the novel, 'I Am Legend' by Richard Matheson. Although Matheson's novel deals with vampires rather than zombies, there are many similarities; a male character, who thinks he's all alone in a post-apocalyptic world, barricades himself inside a house, drinks himself into a stupor on a daily basis in despair, who owns a dog...
However, despite these similarities, Frater puts her distinct stamp on Eric's Story. Her ability to draw you into the action, of which there is plenty, to captivate you with her descriptive prose, to capture your heart with endearing characters, is now a definitive Frater trait, and as with everything I've read by Frater so far I enjoyed it immensely.
I loved the duo of Eric and his dog, Pepe. The relationship between them is sweet, and a man who loves animals is a great man indeed in my opinion. However, the human facial expressions Frater continually plasters on Pepe does become a bit unrealistic. Whether it was intended to be how Eric interprets his dogs behaviour is unclear. However, the love Eric has for his little dog is one of the reasons I like him so much, and a love I can totally understand. I heart animals.
I was surprised at how strong, capable and dynamic Eric became throughout this short story. He grew in my estimations and transformed into a sort of unwitting hero. Now that I have a better understanding of who he is, I hope he has a larger role to play in, 'Siege', the third novel in the trilogy.
I LOVED 'The First Days' and 'Fighting to Survive' - they will both go down as two of my all time favourite zombie horror novels *I can't wait to read 'Siege'. When I began reading this volume of short stories I was instantly pulled back into the zombie infested world Frater had created in her full length novels and I didn't want it to end. As this is a self-published work there are a few editing issues and some repetition, but Frater's writing talent shines through and these small issues soon became insignificant.
'As The World Dies Untold Tales' is a great insight into some of the lesser known characters, but Lydia and Monica's stories were not long enough for my liking, but that's probably just because I love this world so much. A wonderful companion to the 'As The World Dies' trilogy. I hope there's a volume two. ...more
SADIE WALKER IS STRANDED is the second book in Madeleine Roux’s Zombie series, and as with Allison Hewitt is Trapped I was drawn into the sto3.5 Stars
SADIE WALKER IS STRANDED is the second book in Madeleine Roux’s Zombie series, and as with Allison Hewitt is Trapped I was drawn into the story from pretty much the first chapter. There’s a fair amount of action, emotional and romantic elements, and of course zombies.
However, it did take a while for it to feel like a zombie book. There isn’t much zombie action until at least 100 pages in and even then it is only small pockets of zombie action. I wish there was more. Allison Hewitt is Trapped is full to the brim with zombieness, and combined with the human aspect, was perfectly balanced. Unfortunately SADIE WALKER IS STRANDED isn’t quite so balanced, and therefore didn’t rock my socks off. However, it was still a really good read.
Sadie is looking after her nephew, Shane, since her sister, Kat and her husband were killed. He’s everything she’s got and she feels the weight of this on her shoulders and takes bringing him up seriously. In a world full of zombies, you’d think that the united fear and loathing of these creatures would pull everyone together, but you’d be wrong. There are still evil people doing evil things and unfortunately she finds out she’s dating one of them. He kidnaps her nephew for cash and tries to sell him to another couple while their town’s borders are breached with thousands of zombies. Luckily Sadie and her friend manage to find her nephew, where upon they all board a small boat to escape the ever growing zombie horde and head out to sea.
Sadie’s worry at being a good ‘parent’ plays on her mind a lot, which I found endearing at first. But she constantly proclaims how bad she is at it and keeps apologising to her nephew for being such a failure. This got irritating after a while. As well as not being good for her nephew to hear, she doesn’t do anything particularly wrong and so I couldn’t really understand where she was coming from, and I found myself just getting annoyed at all her self declarations of bad parenting.
Shane is very quiet and hardly speaks. I thought it was down to losing his parents, the zombies etc and that we would see his character grow as the story moved along, but it didn’t. He doesn’t engage in much conversation, with Sadie or the others in the group, although he does enjoy looking at the drawings Sadie’s does for him. However, he doesn’t really act like a young boy and most of the time sits about staring. The descriptions of his actions, facial expressions and mannerisms made me feel that maybe he is slightly autistic.
Sadie wasn’t as strong a character as Allison Hewitt. She isn’t very consistent and is all over the place. One minute a frightened women who relies on others to protect her and her nephew, and the next minute acting like Lara Croft, brandishing a bow and arrow and heading off into unknown forests to look for food only to, predictably, come upon a few zombies.
There is also a bit too much repetition too. There was a lot of Sadie goes to sleep only to be woken by something bad. I think I counted four times this technique was used and for me this is too much.
There is a lot right with this book too. There are a few really good stand out characters, and the romantic element, although not as moving and poignant as Allison Hewitt, is nice. The action scenes that are present are fast-paced and exciting.
There is one particular scene that is really chilling. Sadie is taking a much needed bath in the Sea, she is enjoying it until the inevitable happens:
“Okay,” I said after less than a minute of splashing around, “I need to get out…. preferably now, before the blood freezes in my veins.”
The railing above me was awfully quiet. I glanced up. Andrea was gone, nowhere to be found. She had taken Shane with her. “Son of a bitch,” I shouted. “This isn’t funny! Andrea! Andrea? Shane?”
There was a commotion on the other side of the boat, shrieking and screaming and the sound of arms beating the water. My heart sank like a lead ball to my numb little toes.
Something was in the water.
Here’s one thing I’m now damn certain of: being chased by water zombies around a boat can turn a landlubber like me into Michael fucking Phelps on steroids. I didn’t look back, knowing I might catch a glimpse of one of the undead coming for me…
Each of my clumsy strokes was punctuated with a girlish squeak of hysteria. A thin rope ladder swung back and forth, just a few yards ahead. Moritz, bless his heart, was already over the edge of the ladder, waiting for me to get close. He was just in time. Something unnaturally strong tugged on my ankle, hard, nearly pulling me under.
After a while at sea, and a few scary moments, the survivors find themselves an island. They are not alone… Things move along at a much better pace from this moment and there is even an interesting mystery element that I actually couldn’t work out, which was refreshing. New characters are introduced, and so is Sadie’s love interest. There’s a couple of predictable, stereotypical characters too, including the bitch from hell, a glamour puss, and the weak one. But there are also rivalries and jealousies, as well as tender moments, so all in all an interesting bunch.
Although I had a few issues with SADIE WALKER IS STRANDED and didn’t find it as compelling and emotional as Allison Hewitt is Trapped, overall I really enjoyed it. I hope there will be more to come from Madeleine Roux and her Zombie series....more