Plague World is the third book in the Ashley Parker zombie/urban fantasy series, following her fight to save the world from the zom*Warning: Spoilers*
Plague World is the third book in the Ashley Parker zombie/urban fantasy series, following her fight to save the world from the zombie plague. This continues on from where Plague Nation ended, and Ashley and her band of merry-men are fighting their way across America to find Gabriel, who was taken by the bad guys. He could also hold the cure to the virus that is now spreading across the world.
As usual there is quite a lot of action, but I felt as though not a lot actually happens. Sadly the pacing did fluctuate, and I found myself getting a bit bored in places. For the book just to be about Ashley trying to find Gabriel, meant that it didn’t quite have the same amount of excitement as the previous two books. I feel that if Gabriel’s side of the story was interwoven with Ashley’s story, it would have given the book a better dynamic, broken the story up a bit, making it a more fast-paced read. Gabriel’s condition is an interesting one and it was a shame that we couldn’t have seen what he was going through while Ashley was trying to find him.
As mentioned, there is no appearance of Gabriel, until 30 pages before the end of the book. I will admit that this annoyed me quite a bit as the series started out with Gabriel being part of the main storyline, as well as Ashley’s love interest, which I really liked. I enjoyed having the romance aspect mixed with the darkness of the zombie apocalypse, so to not have Gabriel in for basically the entire book made me feel a little bit cheated.
Thankfully, Ashley’s snarky nature is still present. She’s funny without being annoying, and although the situation is dire, her humour breaks up the seriousness of what is going on around them. Fredsti manages to combine humour and horror very well and I really enjoy that aspect of her writing.
In this instalment, the virus has become airborne, but sometimes it didn’t really make sense. As well as the Wild Cards (those who are immune to the zombie bite), there is also TJ, who is a civilian. He goes out with the Wild Cards, but doesn’t wear a protective mask. Is the now mutated virus, which has gone airborne, only contagious from human to human when it shows itself as the flu? Once it kills the humans and they come back as a zombie is the virus not airborne anymore? How long can it survive while its airborne? Once people turn into zombies does it return to it’s previous state of only being transmitted through bites and blood? Too many questions…
The story of Ashley and the other Wild Cards is interjected with snippets of the outside world, and focuses on an individual or couple and their experiences, and we get to see what’s going on through their eyes. Some of these mini stories were good as the ending is wrapped up, but some were left hanging and all I could think was, what happened to so and so? Although generally these stories were interesting, I also found them to be slightly distracting to the overall story. In all honesty I could have done without them, and would have preferred snippets of what Gabriel was going through instead.
When we do finally meet up with Gabriel again, it is very close to the end of the book, and it is bitterly disappointing. I DID NOT like what happened to him, and felt as though it was an easy way out, rather than expanding on his condition of half human, half zombie. It was a real shame this part of the story wasn’t fully developed, as it was one of the most exciting aspects to the overall story, and to Gabriel’s character.
I did enjoy this final instalment, but not as much as the first two books, and I didn’t like the way it ended – heartbroken doesn’t cover it. The ending, however, didn’t really feel like a conclusion, as the zombie apocalypse continues, but it did give me hope that maybe one day, Fredsti will bring back Ashley Parker....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
I really tried with this one. The writing is ok, the characters are ok, and I think I could possibly have finished it if it wasn't*No rating as DNF*
I really tried with this one. The writing is ok, the characters are ok, and I think I could possibly have finished it if it wasn't just so very dull. Hardly any zombies or action and the sex scenes were devoid of any sexiness. ...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
After reading and loving Flesh, the first book in this series, I was really looking forward to reading Skin. The reason I didn't pick it up s4.5 Stars
After reading and loving Flesh, the first book in this series, I was really looking forward to reading Skin. The reason I didn't pick it up sooner is because I was concerned about the premise. The heroine, Roslyn, is sold for food and supplies by the people she is living with. After the zombie apocalypse hit, Roslyn hid in the school where she had worked as a librarian. The guy who bought her is our hero, Nick. He wants a woman to spend his time with, and have sex with. Roslyn is not too keen on being bought and sold like a piece of meat and so takes an instance dislike, or shall I say, hatred, to Nick. After smashing Nick over the head and causing all sorts of trouble as he takes her back to his home, he decides to chain her up so she can't leave.
This was where my concern lay. How could the author take a captive situation and turn it into a romance? Fortunately, Scott manages it brilliantly and I thought this instalment was even better than the first.
Although Nick is a complete A-Hole, he's not abusive. He doesn't physically hurt her, rape her, or treat her badly in any way, other than the chain of course. We go through all of Roslyn's emotions with her: how could he do this; how dare he do this; he's a complete and utter bastard... and because I went through all of Roslyn's turmoil with her, the more realistic the romance between her and Nick became.
As with Flesh, the narration alternates between hero and heroine, so we do get to hear from both Ros and Nick. This helps a lot to understand where Nick stands in all of this, and to be honest, the author does a great job putting him in a sympathetic light. I will admit that I was wary of Nick for all of a few chapters, but by then he had won me over. I liked him, and dare I say even loved him towards the end.
Nick and Ros go through quite a lot together, and trust begins to form as their home, or prison as Ros sees it at first, burns to the ground. After nearly being eaten by zombies, and saved by Nick, this is where the trust forms for Ros. During their journey together, they bump into the nasty Pete and Justin, who we first met in Flesh, and who are disgusting, horrible men. The look they give Ros as if she's just there for their sexual gratification made me shudder. But thankfully, Nick has a plan. He wants to head back to Blackstone, a community of people in a semi-secure town, where he was cast out along with Pete and Justin, tarnished with the same brush. He thinks it's the only place Ros can be safe, whether he stays with her or not. I loved this about Nick, he always had her best interests at heart, and that endeared him to me.
The romance between Nick and Ros is so good. It's alternates between cute and hot. I was totally emotionally connected to these two characters. But what I also loved was the action scenes that complimented the romance so well. This was an irrisistable combination for me.
Compared to Flesh, the writing in Skin is tighter, the dialogue is more fluent, the sex scenes are hotter and continue to be well written. Basically, Skin is just a fantastic read. Although it's the second book in the series, it's still set in the same zombie infested world, but with a different set of characters, so in my opinion it can definitely be read as a stand alone.
This series is getting better with each book and I can't wait to read the third instalment, Bone, when it's released in 2014 (eeek! so long to wait...)
Scott is now firmly placed on my auto-buy list. Skin is a fabulous, sexy, action-packed read with great characters, an amazing hero and heroine with sizzling sexual chemistry, all set in a zombie apocalyptic world... It doesn't get much better than this....more
Having read all the preceding books in this series, I was looking forward to reading the 4th and final book. After sadly being dropped by Orbit, the aHaving read all the preceding books in this series, I was looking forward to reading the 4th and final book. After sadly being dropped by Orbit, the author decided to self-publish the ending to David and Sarah's story. I have read other reviews which stated that the series didn't really need another book, but I'd have to disagree. I'm really pleased that Petersen decided to publish a final book to what was a fun series.
I will say that The Zombie Whisperer wasn't as good as I had hoped but it did wrap up a few of the questions I was left with at the end of Eat Slay Love.
We're back with Sarah and David a couple of months from where Eat Slay Love ended. They are up high in the hills, living day to day, fighting off any zombie stragglers and generally getting by. David, with his new zombie strength and immunity to zombie bites does most of the hard work, preferring to keep Sarah out of harms way. This doesn't go down particularly well with Sarah and so they have to compromise with Sarah shooting from the top of the house.
One day a large pod of zombies descend upon them, and after dispatching all of them realise they were running from something. That something soon comes into view - a helicopter containing old friends. Sarah and Dave soon find themselves back in Seattle where it all began, along with many familiar faces, trying to find a cure to zombieism, dealing with Sarah's shocking, but potentially exciting news, and coping with Dave being poked and prodded by scientists like a lab rat.
Although they know many of the people they are now working with, Sarah has some serious trust issues, issues that are proved right, albeit by the wrong people.
I did enjoy this instalment. I jumped straight back into Sarah and Dave's story with ease, as though I hadn't had the eighteen month long wait since the last book. The Zombie Whisperer was a pretty short read, which was a shame, and because of that I did feel the ending was a tad rushed. There were also certain plot elements that really didn't need to be there. But as always there was quite a bit of snarkiness from Sarah, which I've always enjoyed, and it was nice to meet past characters again. The writing wasn't as tight as in the previous books, but I still really enjoyed Petersen's voice and really like her writing style. I find it very easy to read.
The Zombie Whisperer is a fun read and wraps up Sarah and David's story nicely. It was really good to be back with these two characters and to see them getting an end to their story was satisfying, if a little bittersweet. I will miss Sarah and Dave....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
Flesh is an erotic romance set in a zombie-apocalyptic world. Ali is a woman in her 30s who has been hiding in an attic since the zombies started walkFlesh is an erotic romance set in a zombie-apocalyptic world. Ali is a woman in her 30s who has been hiding in an attic since the zombies started walking the Earth. After two months she decides to head out only to come face to face with Dan. Frightened senseless Ali reacts and holds a shot gun to his face. She's scared, thinking that he wants nothing from her but to rape her.
Dan on the other hand is having a whale of a time. Dan has hated being alone and to find Ali is like a dream come true. He smiles at her (which she thinks is Dan leering) and tries to calm her down. A struggle ensues when Dan snatches the gun. Ali fights hard, snapping and kicking but Dan's a big man and his hold is too strong. Eventually she calms down and after a lot of talking Ali ends up with Dan in her house where they stay together.
At first I didn't really get Dan. His motives seemed off, and he called Ali "his girl" as soon as he clapped eyes on her. His dialogue is slightly stilted and I thought this was down to the author's writing, but after a while it became evident it was just Dan's way. His elation at finding someone, a woman, is what drives him at first. He's thinking of settling down, maybe having kids, all the while Ali is thinking how to get rid of him.
After a while though, Dan works his way under Ali's skin (and mine) and they end up sharing a bed together, among other things *ahem* sex between these two is hot with a capital T. At first it's all about being close to someone, but as time goes by it turns into something more.
From Ali's POV:
"I'm sick of being afraid. Daniel..." All of a sudden the world tumbled. It happened so fast her head went woozy. Her back was against the mattress and Daniel loomed over her, his big body shaking with tension. Those blue eyes of his blazed with some internal fire. Her heart stuttered in her chest.
Maybe, just maybe, she had well and truly bitten off more than she could chew.
From Dan's POV:
A smile curved her perfect mouth. He saw stars, dots dancing through his field of vision. This woman made his knees weak. Thank God he was standing.
"Kiss me," she said.
"Whatever you want."
Dan persuades Ali to move on with him and head for greener pastures, to maybe build a house in the country, but as with many post-apocalyptic novels, with hardship comes anger, zombies aren't the only monsters to be wary of. Along the way they come across a large gang of hostile, nasty men who want nothing more than to take Ali for themselves. This led to some great tension and riveting action scenes. Ali and Dan fight as best they can but things don't go too well. This is where they meet Finn.
In his life before zombies, Finn was a policeman, so he knows his way around guns and how to take care of difficult situations. The three of them band together to try and move on away from the gang, but unfortunately find themselves being herded into a dead end...
I didn't particularly like Finn to begin with, he was almost petulant when it came to Ali, but he eventually grew on me. I was surprised at how quickly Ali took to him. After the hell she had given Daniel when they first met, she's very accommodating with Finn, which I felt was a little out of character. I understand why she's become more comfortable with Daniel, but Finn is an unknown entity. I felt her mistrust of people would still have been strong towards others but it's not evident with Finn. She accepted him pretty quickly, too quickly in my opinion.
Scott is very good at describing the world and her characters. The action scenes are terrific and there is one scene near the end of the book that had my heart racing, the tension was racked up so high. As the three of them navigate the zombie infested world, there are more harships, more surprises and a lot more action - in and out of the bedroom. There's also quite a bit of humour thrown in too. Especially from Dan.
She hustled up his white t-shirt, revealing a spectacular black bruise the size of her hand. Her throat shut tight. The mark covered the entire right side of his ribcage.
"You said you were fine. Holy shit, Daniel. This is not fine. This is a really long way from fine."
And whoa, there went her voice. She screeched at him by the end of it.
"Shh. Don't go ballistic. I can explain..." He lifted up, flinching all the while. Hands gripped her hips and rearranged her till she sat atop him, aligned with his groin. She stared down at him, careful to keep her knees back from the damage. Where was it even safe to touch him?
Daniel sighed. "Actually, you know, it's not worth explaining. But, okay, don't get mad. There were all sorts of crap in the water. I hit something when I went in. I lived to tell the tale. End of Explaining. Feel free to rub yourself against me in a show of sympathy..."
The other aspect that I enjoyed was how Scott wrote her sex scenes. Yes they are very explicit (this is an erotic romance after all) but they are written well and fit into the world that these characters now find themselves. Although in the beginning I felt that the sex was something the characters craved just to feel close to someone - anyone, by the middle of the story things begin to change, emotions are setting in and the sex becomes something more.
With the introduction of Finn I did wonder how the dynamics would work between the three of them and there are a couple of occasions when I felt uncomfortable and sorry for Dan as he watches Ali and Finn get close, even seeing them getting hot and heavy and move into another room to have sex. Some of the things he says and the looks he gives indicate at how much it pains him. And this, to be honest, is the reason I usually avoid menage stories. However, Dan is the one who encourages it. Yes, you read that right. Although Dan is a big man, he realises Finn has the skills to really protect Ali. So if sharing her is the answer to keeping her safe then he's going to take it. Ali is shocked at Dan's suggestion first, but then after a few internal struggles she accepts the idea. Likes the idea even, as her attraction to Finn grows.
From Dan's POV:
His girl rose to her feet, radiating fury. Dan was singed just being in the same room. "Not good enough. I won't be wrapped in cotton wool while you two take all the risks. Do you really believe they'll let us stay in your precious town if we're not seen to be contributing? Seriously?"
Finn's nostrils flared. "I'm trained to handle dangerous situations. You are not."
I don't care."
"No, Finn. I love you, but no."
The kid gave a good impression of a man who'd had the fight sucker punched right out of him. He stopped and stared. "You love me?"
"Yes. I love you," she said.
Finn stared at her, face rigid and hands balled tight.
"Is that really so bad?" she asked.
The kid grabbed her and held on tight. And his girl fitted herself against Finn, her face in his neck, arms wrapped around him like she couldn't let go.
Inside Dan's ribcage something hurt, just like it had earlier today when he thought he'd lost her. No amount of rubbing the heel of his hand at it helped.
My discomfort for Dan's situation diminished as Dan's pain declined. When the three of them became more than just three people but three friends, everything changed for me and I couldn't wait for them all to get together. By the time the sex arrives between Dan, Finn and Ali, it's over. The book ends. I wanted so much more. I'd come to care about these characters, understand their quirks, and although I'd been worried I wouldn't be able to handle the threesome, I realised I wanted to have more time with them all together. This isn't to say the book ends badly or abruptly as it doesn't, it's a very fitting end, it's just that personally I would have liked more time with these characters, especially as their story doesn't continue in book two, Skin.
Flesh is a really great start to a new series. I love how the author combines erotic romance and zombie killing action. It makes for a very exciting read full of tension. If you enjoy erotic romance but are put off by the fact it's set in a zombie-apocalyptic world, don't be. Flesh is a really fun read, I'm sure you won't be disappointed....more
Love with a Chance of Zombies is a fun erotic romance set in a zombie-apocalyptic world. At only 74 or so pages, Dryden manages to pack a lot3.5 Stars
Love with a Chance of Zombies is a fun erotic romance set in a zombie-apocalyptic world. At only 74 or so pages, Dryden manages to pack a lot in. There's hot sex, love, zombie killing and a doc who's trying to find a cure.
The story opens up with feisty heroine, Lena Stanton, out in the field shooting zombies. She's then called to stand guard over Dr. Lucas Naye, who's seen to be a hero as in the Before life he was a prodigy and genius, sadly in the Now life he's been bitten. It takes up to six weeks for the first symptoms to show and so until then he's a allowed to continue working in his lab. Lena's job is to make sure he doesn't escape or hurt anyone, and to kill on sight when he changes. What she doesn't plan on, are days full of amazing sex, and falling in love.
The interactions between Lena and Lucas are short but sweet. Mostly sex to be honest, rather than dialogue, and how they want to give him the best send off they can, both of them not realising how difficult it will be as they begin to have feelings for each other.
The romance and sex is mixed with a little bit of zombie killing action as they work tirelessly to find a cure, and I loved this untraditional combination. The ending is a HEA of sorts, but I do so wish this was a longer work as I really enjoyed being in Lena's world, and would have loved to see how things worked out with Dryden.
A fun, steamy read with the addition of zombies. A great combination in my book, a shame is was so short....more
This is an erotic horror short story serial set in a zombie infested world. I didn’t think these two genres would mesh well, but they really do. I lovThis is an erotic horror short story serial set in a zombie infested world. I didn’t think these two genres would mesh well, but they really do. I loved it and will definitely continue the series....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
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
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
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
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
**Warning – may contain spoilers, read at your own risk!**
“Siege” is a bittersweet end to an amazing trilogy. Frater isn’t afraid to shock her readers by killing off certain main characters. This book was littered with the bodies of characters I’d come to know and love.
The Fort and it’s residents have to deal with so much, from the violence of the military and government, to thousands of zombies descending upon their beloved home.
As usual there’s plenty of action, which moves the story along at a high pace. I really enjoy Frater’s writing style and she always manages to pull me into her zombie world from the outset.
There isn’t as much of Jenni and Katie in this instalment as in previous books as we get to see the world from the perspective of many of the secondary characters as well. Although I enjoyed reading about the other characters, I did miss Jenni and Katie and wish the book had more from their view point. However, each character is so interesting it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book.
There are, however, two aspects of “Siege” that didn’t sit well with me. The first one was the introduction of ghosts. I realise this is a novel about zombies, but I need to believe what is happening to my character’s and the world which surrounds them. Frater does this beautifully. However, the ghost aspect of the plot didn’t really work for me. What was possibly just a sign of Jenni’s madness in the previous novels became reality in this one and it gave the story a slightly unrealistic, and dare I say it, silliness, which made me uncomfortable, as I love this series SO much.
The second aspect was a life-changing incident that although didn’t shock me, as I had my suspicions it was coming, it did sadden me to the core. One of the main characters dies!! It wasn’t that this particular character died that upset me, as I think it was a gutsy and brave decision by the author, but that the character made the choice to die even though they had loved ones back at the Fort who depended on them, and it just seemed so out of character. I really want to go into my reasons more but it would be a huge spoiler, so I’ll refrain.
The pace picks up speed as it reaches it’s conclusion, lots of tension, action and suspense. And the death of certain characters linger.
I can still visualise the Fort in detail, the surrounding countryside littered with hungry zombies, the residents of the Fort, and of course Katie and Jenni.
Although there doesn’t look as though there will be any future instalments featuring these two amazing, strong female heroines, they have made such an impression on me that I will remember them for a very long time indeed.
I’m very sad to say goodbye…
A bittersweet end to an amazing trilogy – I’ve loved these books, the characters, the world, and Frater’s exciting writing style. Definitely three of the best zombie novels in the genre today and a series I would recommend without hesitation....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
“Fighting To Survive” is absolutely brilliant! It's the second instalment of the 'As the WorldOriginally posted on Book Chick City. 9/10 on the blog.
“Fighting To Survive” is absolutely brilliant! It's the second instalment of the 'As the World Dies' trilogy by horror writer, Rhiannon Frater. I loved the first book, 'The First Days' but this was even better. It was just so good I couldn't bear to put it down. I read it in two sittings and the story remained with me long after I finished the last page. The action came thick and fast and didn’t let go, but was so wonderfully paced I didn’t feel as though I was constantly trying to keep up.
The characterisation is just amazing, I love Katie and Jenni; they are such great protagonists and all the secondary characters are just as well rounded and all have a part to play in this zombie horror. It’s these characters that make this particular horror novel touching, moving, as well as it being gruesome, suspenseful and horrifying.
There are multiple plots in "Fighting to Survive" but Frater manages to keep everything straight and not allow it all to become a jumbled mess. If fact, I really felt as though I was following Jenni and Katie's lives in almost real time and as each obstacle was presented to them I found myself trying to work out how to fix it with them. It gave the book authenticity, which I loved.
The relationships between some of the characters are deepened. There's also lots of drama, emotional turmoil, for me as well as the characters, and lots of fantastic action. The scenes where the characters enter the hotel to clear it of zombies is honestly one of the most tense scenes I've read. My stomach was in knots for the entire time I was reading it. I was so worried about the characters and Frater does a superb job at keeping the suspense nice and tight and not let it drift, which made the whole thing nerve-racking.
Jenni slips from reality a little further and sees the ghost of her husband, who was actually zombified in the first book. She's losing it but tries to keep it together. Jenni and Katie's friendship is stronger than ever. They are still the main characters, but we do get to know a little more about the other characters especially Travis and Juan.
Katie's sexual attack was pretty horrific, my heart went out to her, but it was warming to see her friends rally around and support her. It was interesting to see how the residents of the fort reacted to this, most were supportive of Katie, but a few sided with the attacker. This frustrated me no end, but I suppose it's the same as in real life. Luckily, the horrid little man got his comeuppance!
With hordes of zombies moaning and shuffling outside the fort's perimeters, there's a lot more to think about than romance. However, there is an element of romance throughout the novel for Katie and Jenni, which was a continuation from 'The First Days'.
“Fighting To Survive” is a horror novel with heart. It’s funny and endearing in places and sickening and gory in others, but always perfectly balanced between the two. This series is a fantastic addition to the zombie genre and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of ‘Siege’ the final book in this phenomenal trilogy....more
“Hungry Hearts” looked and sounded like a fun zombie read – I love zombies, *as if you didn'tOriginally posted on Book Chick City. 5/10 on the blog.
“Hungry Hearts” looked and sounded like a fun zombie read – I love zombies, *as if you didn't know* ;)
Looking at the cover I thought this would be about Rick and Sally, their relationship and how her being a zombie would change all that. In a way it was, but not in they way I imagined it. Plus there was the additional plot line with the serial killer, which didn’t add anything to the story really, other than as filler.
Plainly speaking, the writing is good but the pace is a little too slow, the book a bit too long, and there's a plot too many.
There are two main plot lines which run alongside each other. One is Rick and the other is Daryl, the serial killer.
Rick is a policeman, who finds his wife murdered in their home, not by zombies but by human hands. Unfortunately, she returns as a zombie. Not being able to deal with her death and zombieness, Rick decides to try and find a cure.
Rick sedates her with morphine so she wouldn’t bite, he discovers that by injecting the drug through her eye seems to work, and bandages her up so to others she just looks injured rather than a zombie. I could understood this reaction and could get on board with it as Rick was filled with grief. However, the author takes the reader down a route which I really didn’t like. There were little hints that it was coming and I kept thinking please don’t go down that route. Unfortunately the author did.
Rick decides to have sex with his wife! Sex with his wife who’s decaying, bloated and dead. Why the author had to go down this path I don’t know but it was absolutely disgusting and made me see Rick in a completely different light. Up until that point I had been sympathetic to his plight and understood his actions, but after that I just couldn’t see him any other way than a complete sicko! Honestly, what normal man, even in grief would have sex with a dead person, and not just dead, but decaying and heaving with maggots?? *shudders*
The reason for the zombie outbreak is a little vague. Throughout the story people believe it's in the bite, but it seems that with some people they come back from dying without a bite, old corpses in graveyards rise up, Sally who was murdered by a human comes back as a zombie. There are suggestions the outbreak was due to human involvement, which is why Rick decides to go and look for the 'scientists' who may be able to cure his wife, but no real explanation was given.
Daryl is on the cusp of becoming a serial killer. He’s been stalking Sally and targets her as his first victim. We don’t get to see him in action with Sally, but he does give us glimpses to his actions when he uses his memories to turn himself on. This character is vile and completely evil. His thoughts and actions are repulsive. Even when it's revealed that he was a victim of incest with his mother and bullying I felt no sympathy towards him whatsoever.
The ending was a little ambiguous too - the last paragraph (not the epilogue) we see the world through Sally's eyes as a zombie, as well as her 'thoughts' and it ends on a note that suggests she is aware, but it doesn't go into any detail and just ends, which was unsatisfying.
I really believe the story of Rick, his zombie wife, Sally, and their journey together could have been enough to keep me interested if the author had fleshed it out a bit, without having to include the serial killer aspect *or the vomit inducing sex scene*. It was just too much and I felt it was unnecessary.
“Hungry Hearts” definitely sits within the ‘horror’ genre as it is pretty horrific. There are scenes which, if you are not used to reading this kind of novel, maybe shocking to you, so you have been warned! For me there were moments which I really enjoyed and others that I really didn’t – would I recommend it? Only to diehard horror fans I think....more
I really enjoyed the first book in the series, ‘Married with Zombies’ and thought it wasOriginally posted on www.BookChickCity.com - 7/10 on the blog.
I really enjoyed the first book in the series, ‘Married with Zombies’ and thought it was a unique take on the genre’s leading characters. Dave and Sarah are married you see, and just before the zombie apocalypse they were on the verge of divorce. But nothing brings you together more than the world around going to shit and Sarah and Dave found their love for one another growing again, and surprisingly they made a pretty good team.
However, with the second book ‘Flip the Zombie’ the humour was missing for me which made the book a little darker. Normally I love dark and gritty urban fantasies but since I fell in love with the snark and Dave and Sarah’s lighthearted married couple banter I was disappointed when I found it lacking.
Unfortunately, "Eat Slay Love" has gone the other way. There is way too much snark, innuendo and jokes that I felt saturated by it. Nearly every paragraph Sarah is making some quip or smart alek comment and after a while it just had my eyes rolling and started to get on my nerves.
But despite this irritation of Sarah’s I still liked her, she is kinda funny and sometimes the comedic moments were spot on and brought a smile to my lips. There’s also plenty of action and suspense, and with the addition of two other characters, Nicole, a reporter and McKray, a washed out rock star, there are lots of great interactions and the dynamics between these four was great to read.
After being bitten by a zombie at the end of book two, David is finding that he isn’t quite the same – he’s slightly different. Sarah is noticing all sorts of things such as his increased hunger, increased strength and the fact that the zombies don’t seem to want to eat him. While dealing with these disturbing revelations, their small group is also taken by another cult, which of course they have to escape from as well as avoiding the zombies who want to munch on their brains.
“Eat Slay Love” is fun reading and great for a quick entertaining read. It’s not quite up to par with the first book, but definitely better than the second. I’m sad to hear that Orbit have now dropped the series, I think Sarah and Dave still had quite a few stories to tell - at least the series ended on a high note. ...more
"Flip This Zombie" is the second book in the 'Living with the Undead' series and although it's an enjoyable read it didn't have the same impact, humou"Flip This Zombie" is the second book in the 'Living with the Undead' series and although it's an enjoyable read it didn't have the same impact, humour and laugh out loud moments that were so much a part of the first book 'Married with Zombies'.
Somewhere along the way, this novel became a little too much like so many other zombie novels. It lost a little bit of it's originality and although Sarah and David still snark at each other and banter back and forth it isn't in the same tongue in cheek way I loved to much in the first book.
"Flip This Zombie" is a little darker, which I normally like, but because this series started out with such a light and humourous tone I assumed, and hoped, this would be continued in the next instalment.
Sarah and Dave are now head of a new business, ZombieBusters Inc, which sees them splattering more zombie brains than usual. But now they are experienced zombie hunters and have gained knowledge of all their weaponry. They are no longer the naive married couple we met in the first book - which I missed a little too be honest - they are a zombie fighting duo.
There's also the addition of a scientist who proclaims to have a possible cure and hires Sarah and Dave to collect live zombies for him to test on. But things do not go to plan. There are quite a few twists and turns that kept me turning the pages, but mostly it was all quite predictable.
"Flip This Zombie" isn't as enjoyable or as fresh as the first book, 'Married with Zombies', but it is still entertaining. I will definitely be reading the third instalment, 'Eat, Slay, Love'....more
"The First Days" is the first book in a new zombie series by Rhiannon Frater. Originally self-published all three books in the series are now being re"The First Days" is the first book in a new zombie series by Rhiannon Frater. Originally self-published all three books in the series are now being released by Tor US in fairly quick succession. As soon as I heard about this series I knew I had to read it, and squealed with delight when Tor offered me the first book to review - well, you know how much a love the zombies ;)
"The First Days" is an action-packed, character-driven novel and was immensely enjoyable and fun to read. I had difficulty putting it down. The writing also seemed to get better and better as the book progressed.
From literally the first page, Frater pulled me in and never let go. I went on an epic journey with two amazing women and it was scary, funny and exhilarating.
What I loved about Frater's writing was her ability to give her characters life. Her portrayal of Jenni, an abused an beaten wife who watches her husband eat her children alive and Katie, a lesbian lawyer who is nearly eaten by her wife, is just superb. I really cared about these two women.
The plot is fab too. It's not original in the sense that there are zombies and people are fighting to stay alive, as this has been done before, but the author does manage to give it a breath of fresh air by having two females as her protagonists.
Jenni's transformation from a downtrodden victim of marital abuse to that of a gun-toting zombie-killing machine was moving as well as, at times, hilarious. However, although Jenni is definitely unhinged this is shown to the reader through her actions and dialogue - it isn't spelled out to us. We garner all the information we need from the characters themselves and I loved this, it made them more real.
Life for Jenni was already tragic before the zombie apocalypse but now it's just downright catastrophic, it's almost laughable. And laugh she does, especially when she's splitting a zombies head in two with a bullet.
Katie's character is great too, and if I had to choose she is the one I connected with the most. She's down to earth, strong and independent. She keeps things together and seems a lot more sane than Jenni.
Katie and Jenni have a lot of scars emotionally and physically and both are traumatised. But they can certainly look after themselves and they both realise they are stronger than they thought, especially Jenni, but I think a lot of her strength is coming from a little craziness and I'm interested to see if she changes in subsequent books, or if this is just how she is now.
The only aspect I didn't like about Katie's character was the sudden change in her sexual orientation - it gets a bit of a shake up half way through the novel and I didn't know about it. I felt as though I had been kept in the dark along with the other characters and I didn't like it. There was no need to keep this aspect of Katie's story secret from the reader and I must admit I felt a bit duped - as I'm sure Katie's friends will when they find out.
The other small niggle I had was as the story moved forward it did become a little too focused on Katie and as this started out as a female duo, I missed Jenni.
However, these are very small annoyances, ultimately "The First Days" had me thrilled, excited, sad and happy as I read the ups and downs of these peoples lives. Characters come and go throughout the novel, but they always leave a lasting memory.
Katie and Jenni fight their way through hordes of flesh eating zombies with a dog and Jenni's step son. They eventually find a group of people who are rebuilding their world, even if it's a smaller and more insular one, by fortifying their town. It's a huge effort but most pitch in.
Although, as with life, there are the stupid ones, the ignorant ones and the thugs who want to rebel against change and what is happening or don't want to believe that they are now living with the walking dead who want to eat them alive. Some think that all the undead need is a little medical attention *idiots*. This attitude bugs me no end and I always relish when one of them gets eaten, just so I can be smug and say "see, not medical attention" ;)
"The First Days" is just SO good. It's a really fab addition to the zombie genre and I can't wait to follow Katie and Jenni's story with 'Fighting to Survive' and then 'Seige' - if you love strong characters, exciting plot and of course zombies then I'm sure you will love this....more
"Breathers" is a black comedy combined with horror and a little romance and lots of icky moments. We follow Andy, a newly risen zombie and the other m"Breathers" is a black comedy combined with horror and a little romance and lots of icky moments. We follow Andy, a newly risen zombie and the other members of his support group.
Zombies in "Breathers" are a little different, in fact the concept is quite original to me and was fun to read. Not all people who die become zombies, but when the selected few do rise as the undead they are ridiculed by society and despised by their families, who have to take them home again. The one aspect of the novel that kept niggling me is that the reason for zombies is never given. I have to know why, how and when and "breathers" didn't give answers to any. We never know how zombies are made, or why, and I will admit that this drove me a little nuts! However, it does mention that zombies existed far back into history.
There are many passages that made me smile, but it's not a 'laugh-out-loud' kind of novel, it's a bit too dark for that, but it is amusing. The human world know that zombies exist and they treat them pretty badly like they are at the bottom of the pile with no feelings or thoughts. But zombies come back with as much of these aspects of humanity as they left with. There are many rules and restrictions which zombies have to abide by and if they don't? Well, people just turn a blind eye to the cruelty inflicted. There are times when Andy's feelings about the injustice of the treatment of zombies by society becomes slightly repetitive but I did feel their repression.
Andy was killed while driving and so was his wife. She didn't come back as a zombie and remained dead, which Andy finds difficult to deal with although prefers in many ways. He's not sure she would have loved him the same way if she had survived. To deal with his feelings, Andy meets up with a support group who he begins to grow to love, especially a zombie called Rita. There is obviously romance on the cards and there's even a bit of zombie sex, although nothing is described explicitly - thank goodness.
At first Andy can't speak, can't use one of his arms and walks with a limp due to a crushed ankle. But after meeting a zombie called Ray who introduces him to the lip-smacking pleasure of human flesh, everything begins to change...and this is where the novel gets really interesting...
However, there is just something missing for me - I didn't particularly connect with or care much about any of the characters, which is always a disappointment. The ending is rather abrupt and cruel and somewhat out of place, in my opinion, to the rest of the novel.
Although I didn't love "Breathers" I did enjoy it and would still recommend it to other zombie fans. It is an interesting take on the zombie and there is a fair amount of humour which I liked....more