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...more*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. (less)
Dead Tropics was a really good zombie horror, and I enjoyed the author’s writing style. It’s the typical sur...moreOriginally 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.(less)
One night when Ashley Parker and her boyfriend, Matt, are having a late night picnic and are busy making...moreOriginally 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.(less)
**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.(less)
I don't often read short stories. Not because I don't think they are good but because I prefer...moreOriginally 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. (less)
“Fighting To Survive” is absolutely brilliant! It's the second instalment of the 'As the World...moreOriginally 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.(less)
“Hungry Hearts” looked and sounded like a fun zombie read – I love zombies, *as if you didn't...moreOriginally 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.(less)
I really enjoyed the first book in the series, ‘Married with Zombies’ and thought it was...moreOriginally 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. (less)
"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...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, 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'.(less)
"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...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 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.(less)
"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...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 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.(less)
"Rot & Ruin" is a difficult review to write. It took me almost a month to finish and yet I really enjoyed it. It's quite a lengthy novel but for t...more"Rot & Ruin" is a difficult review to write. It took me almost a month to finish and yet I really enjoyed it. It's quite a lengthy novel but for the first 250 pages, not very much happens other than a lot of ground work and characterisation, which I must say is out of this world.
However, although the first half took me weeks to get through due to putting it down, reading something else and then picking it up again, the second half of this book I gobbled up in two days, and now I've finished it I have to say that "Rot & Ruin" is a pretty sensational young adult novel.
Benny is a fourteen year old boy who lives with his older step-brother, Tom, in a fairly small community which banded together after 'First Night' when zombies took over the world. The humans that survived still really don't know what caused the rise. Benny is old enough now that he needs to find a job and so joins Tom in the family business of killing "zoms".
Benny's character arc is just fantastic. He begins the novel as an annoying child that really doesn't understand much of what is going on around him, and interprets memories as he sees fit. But as the story moves forward Benny learns a lot and begins to understand his brother Tom and by the end of the novel Benny is a true hero, much more mature and certainly more likeable.
Tom is a great character and I identified more with his character than Benny's but I think that is because he is more my age. He's strong, talented with a sword and has a good soul. He kills "zoms" not because he finds it entertaining like a lot of the other bounty hunters but because he wants to give families of the damned closure and he does it with as much dignity as the situation and circumstances allow. His character is very central to Benny's as Tom helps him understand and grow. Tom teaches Benny a lot knowingly, by directly trying to teach and show him things, but also unknowingly, by his actions and attitude.
The characterisation is superb. The descriptions of the surrounding desolated, zombie ridden landscape is vivid and the community the characters live in is described well. You can tell that each character has had time spent on them; fleshing them out so they are realistic and believable. As well as Benny and Tom, there are many other characters that make up this novel and give it its depth. They are all crucial to my overall impression of "Rot & Ruin" and without them I'm not sure the characters of Benny and Tom would have worked so well.
"Rot & Ruin" isn't all about the zombies. In fact there's not a lot of zombie action, it is mostly about the human interactions and confrontations which occur because of the messed up world they live in. It is very thought-provoking.
I knew what was coming at the end, in the epilogue, but it was incredibly effective all the same. The ending moved me and brought tears to my eyes. It really is a fantastic ending and yet leaves the story open to more books in the world of The Ruin.
"Rot & Ruin" is a fabulous novel that has much more to do with the characters and the world they live in rather than just undead brain munchers. However, although I would have preferred a bit more zombie action, this novel is amazing and I would definitely recommend it to everyone - but be patient because it's totally worth it.(less)
As I'm sure you are aware by now, I am a huge zombie fan and 'Night of the Living Trekkies' was just such a fun book to read. As someb...more7/10 on the blog
As I'm sure you are aware by now, I am a huge zombie fan and 'Night of the Living Trekkies' was just such a fun book to read. As somebody who isn't a great follower of the Star Trek series I was worried that there would be numerous references to characters and storylines etc that I wouldn't get, but although there are a few it isn't overloaded with them, which meant I didn't have to swot up on Star Trek to enjoy this book.
There are a few nods to the characters and actors I think by naming some of the characters in the book after characters from the different tv shows,.
The main character is called Jim Pike and he's returned from a tour in Afghanistan with horrific memories of his time there and a desire to live a mundane life to forget the horrors. However, this isn't to be as one night while on the job as a bellman in a tacky two-star hotel, Jim is faced with his biggest challenge yet.
The weekend is meant to be full of Star Trek fans, 'Trekkies', attending the convention instead the hotel is over run with zombies. I liked the fact that the authors tried to put a fresh slant on how the zombies came to be. I've read many books with the cause being a virus, a bacterium, demons but this time it was aliens.
Jim and his merry band of trekkies, including his sister Rayna, have to use their star trek weapons to fight their way through the zombie hordes.
If you enjoy zombie fiction then I'm certain you will enjoy this fun, quirky piece of zombie fiction. It's action-packed with great characters and a fun story. And you *must* watch the trailer - it's awesome! :D (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyO2k-...)(less)
'Married with Zombies' is such a fun book! The main characters, Sarah and David, are married, and while there is a zombie apocalypse unfolding around...more'Married with Zombies' is such a fun book! The main characters, Sarah and David, are married, and while there is a zombie apocalypse unfolding around them, they still argue about the issues that had them in therapy to begin with, and because of these two characters, 'Married with Zombies' gives a slightly original slant on the usual characters offered in zombie fiction.
However, that's where the originality ends, this book is full of zombie fiction cliches, but you know what, I didn't care. This is such a great read because it is pure entertainment. I giggled at their quibbles and yet there is still enough substance and depth to make me care about both these characters. There's also enough disgusting viscera and brain munching to keep me happy with regards to action and it's a fast-paced read.
It begins when Dave and Sarah are on their way to see their marriage therapist and notice that the roads aren't as busy as usual. But they don't think much about it and continue bickering. When they arrive at their therapy session they wait outside the room. After waiting for what seems like ages, Sarah opens the door to find Dr Kelly munching on her previous clients.
The first thing I noticed was that Dr. Kelly's eyes were no longer blue. Now they were red with huge pupils that didn't seem to focus on anything in particular, even when she looked right at us. Her skin was a greyish tone, sickly and pale and...dead-looking, honestly. Except for her mouth, which was covered with a black substance that clung to her lips and teeth. Her chin was bright red with blood and sticky with flesh from the fresh meal she had just devoured. "Um, Dr. Kelly," I said, hardly able to breathe. "Dr. Kelly, are you okay?"
From there chaos ensues and Dave and Sarah find themselves in a zombie infested world where they have to fight, kill and steal to stay alive. It's the same old story I've read many times within this genre, but it's wrapped in snappy dialogue and contains two very interesting, fun characters.
There are a few other characters throughout the book but they are fleeting acquaintances. Mostly, Dave and Sarah have to pull together to survive, and they begin to surprise themselves at what they're actually capable of.
I shook off my surprise and started booking it across the parking lot again. One of the zombies broke toward us and caught up to us pretty easily since we were slowed down by Dave's injury. I pushed my husband behind me and did the thing you always see at some point in zombie movies. I went all kung fu on his zombie ass.
They soon begin to work as a team and although this is a story about a married couple with zombies, there's still enough action to keep the story moving along at a perfect pace. It's also narrated by Sarah, who's funny and brave - I like her a lot. Dave's great too but for me Sarah is the star.
'Married with Zombies' is a wonderfully entertaining read. The writing is witty, the characters are warm and funny and the story is suspenseful and exciting. The slight twist on the typical hero and heroine of zombie fiction makes this is a refreshing read and I highly recommend it to any zombie fan.(less)
'Allison Hewitt is Trapped' is just fantastic. I was absorbed after just a couple of chapters and didn't w...moreI gave this 9/10 on my blog: Book Chick City
'Allison Hewitt is Trapped' is just fantastic. I was absorbed after just a couple of chapters and didn't want to put the book down. Allison is a great character, she's spunky and real - a woman I would like to be if the world was overrun with the undead. She's scared of everything going on around her but she's brave, not afraid to fight and put her life on the line for others.
Allison is locked inside the break room because it's the strongest door in the department store, which means They can't get in. There are also surveillance cameras which are used to keep an eye on what's going on in the store, it's a helpful tool to be able to see where the zombies are, especially when you have to do a food run. Allison is not the only one in the break room. There are five other people who she's sharing the small room with and they are all very different, but all very realistic, personalities.
The relationships between the characters is as close to real-life as you would imagine in such a situation, there's no gun-ho stud with a shotgun over his shoulder, instead it's a skinny chinese guy with broken glasses and a baseball bat. It's a store manager and his golf clubs, it's Allison who's weapon of choice is an axe.
The novel is actually the content of Allison's blog, which she updates regularly, and uses to connect with other survivors. And although I was a little skeptical of this format at first, wondering how the flow of the story would be and how the dialogue would work etc, but I needn't have worried. It's brilliantly written and I couldn't stop myself from reading chapter after chapter - it was very addictive reading.
Eventually Allison and her co-survivors have to leave the break room. Lives are lost, friends are killed and she is longing to know if her mother is safe or one of the undead. I really went on Allison's journey with her and felt every emotion of despair, hope, anger, and complete bewilderment of the circumstances.
From the moment I met the characters in the break room until the end of the novel, which sees Allison far from where she began, it really feels like a long pilgrimage. I could feel Allison and the other survivors become weary, harder, jaded, and their actions and decisions reflect all those feelings. Although Allison does some very bad things I understand why and don't judge her for them.
There is love between certain characters, including Allison but it's written with sensitivity. It's understated romance - there are no sexual scenes and hardly any kissing, it's all shown through Allison's words on her blog and it's believable, tender and heartwarming. There's a lot of heart to this book and I enjoyed it immensely.
'Allison Hewitt is Trapped' is an emotional rollar coaster and the ending was so perfectly bittersweet it brought tears to my eyes. It's a fast-paced read with believable characters and convincing story that will move you and because of this you will Allison, and the other characters, to succeed and survive. This is no ordinary zombie novel. It's fresh and original and I just loved it.
This book is a must read for fans of horror, urban fantasy and zombie fiction. It's a story that stayed with me for many days after I'd finished it, and a book like that stays on my shelf forever.(less)
I gave this book 7/10 on my blog: Book Chick City, but Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars! Grrrrr
Plague of the Dead is such a fun book - if you...more I gave this book 7/10 on my blog: Book Chick City, but Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars! Grrrrr
Plague of the Dead is such a fun book - if you can call the downfall of mankind fun, which I can as it's just fiction... This book has all the elements I love in zombie fiction; lots of zombies, great characters and an absorbing storyline.
The writing is very smooth - nice and easy to read, great description and imagination. Recht also uses both types of zombie: the fast '28 Days Later' kind, and the shuffling, slow 'Night of the Living Dead' kind. And there are lots of them, thousands in fact all running and shuffling their way through humanity.
There are many characters in this book and it changes point of view numerous times. Normally this would annoy me but I really enjoyed it. It was interesting to see the crumbling world through the eyes of such different people ranging from a soldier and a journalist to a photographer and a doctor.
The other aspect to characterisation I usually have to have is depth, if a character has no back story or substance then I can lose interest pretty quickly, but although the characters in Plague of the Dead weren't written about in any depth, it didn't prevent me from enjoying the book. This is quite unusual, but I felt it was because the story in general is a really fast-paced read and didn't drag. The tension builds as the characters begin to hear snippets of the disease spreading.
I also felt the writing was quite sophisticated compared to other zombie fiction I've read in the past and it was actually very refreshing. There are a lot of the typical tropes found in zombie fiction but Recht was a little different in his approach to his characters, especially the women.
The female protagonists are strong, independent and completely capable of their own survival. At one point they were being tortured for information and one of them refused to give it opting to take the torture instead. I enjoyed reading about them and not once did I roll my eyes in annoyance or frustration.
My only complaint is that as with most horror novels I read I find myself knowing what is about to happen, but I'm like that with movies too, I'm very difficult to surprise. Also, this zombie horror didn't affect me as other books have - there were no nightmares, no skin prickling, but it was still a very good read all the same.
Plague of the Dead is an enjoyable zombie read - I'm looking forward to reading, Thunder & Ashes, the next, and last, instalment in this series - Amazon 1-click, here I come!
Sadly Z. A. Recht passed away Dec 2009 - a great loss to zombie fiction. (less)
I was quite skeptical, as well as intrigued, when I was sent "Warm Bodies" to review. I would never hav...more Originally posted on my blog: Book Chick City.
I was quite skeptical, as well as intrigued, when I was sent "Warm Bodies" to review. I would never have imagined putting "zombie" and "romance" in the same sentence. I assumed the putrid decomposition of flesh and the eating of brains would have been a bit of a turn off.
After reading the first page I didn't know whether I would be able to take this book seriously: a zombie romance? And with quotes like these... "My friend 'M' says thie irony of being a zombie is that everything is funny, but you can't smile, because your lips have rotted off. "
"None of us are particularly attractive, but death has been kinder to me than some. I'm still in the early stages of decay. ..." ... my lips were twitching with suppressed laughter. But after only a few more pages I wasn't laughing any more, other than from the brilliant intentional dry sense of humour which was scattered throughout the book.
"Warm Bodies" was a total surprise. I didn't expect it to be so heart-warming or to love the hero as much as I did considering he's a brain munching zombie. I knew going in that this was a book about zombie romance, but it's not in the 'paranormal romance' style. It has a bittersweet edge - along side the sweet endearing thoughts of "R" there's lots of wonderfully descriptive detail on zombies eating humans, which was completely disgusting but I loved it all the same. I was right there with "R".
The reader stays inside the mind of "R", the hero of the piece, and I say 'hero' because that's exactly what he is. He does eat people, yes, and he shuffles along with only one thought and that's to munch his way through humanity, but things begin to change for "R" when he meets Julie. Unfortunately their meeting comes at an unfortunate moment, after "R" bites down on the skull of Perry, her boyfriend.
Nobody knows what caused the dead to rise. But "R", who remembers nothing of his former life before becoming one of the living dead, has glimpses of the lives he kills when eating their brains. Memories of his victims flicker by in his mind and he treasures them. But after meeting Julie, and eating Perry, things begin to change.
With each bite of cerebrum, Perry comes alive in "R's" mind and "R" sees Perry's life from childhood until the very moment he dies. He also sees Julie as part of Perry's memories and for some reason when he comes back to reality and sees her crouching and shivering with fright against the wall, he doesn't devour her but instead takes her hand and leads her back to his home.
"R" lives in an aeroplane at an abandoned disused airport with many other zombies, they call their gathering a 'hive'. They are also organised by another creature called the 'Boney's' - they are not nice! The zombies are also hunted by the few remaining humans, one of which is Julie's father. Julie and a few thousand other humans live in a stadium and have done for many years. It's a community where children are born with soldiers protecting the parameters. Not much of a life, but survival all the same.
There's a surprising amount of action in "Warm Bodies" and the story moves at an exciting pace. And when Julie and "R" become friends something miraculous happens and everything starts to transform for zombies and humans alike. The story ends a little ambiguously for my taste, but there's hope and the promise of new beginnings.
I devoured this book and enjoyed it from beginning to end. It's quite somber, but contains delicious bittersweet moments that we can identify with regarding our own humanity and mortality. This book wants to make you think about who we are, what we are and what a gift life is and how we shouldn't take it for granted. As well as lots of brraaaaaaains - nom nom! ;) (less)
I actually gave this book 5/10 on my blog, but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars.
I am a huge zombie fan. I love watching movies about them, reading b...moreI actually gave this book 5/10 on my blog, but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars.
I am a huge zombie fan. I love watching movies about them, reading books about them, basically I can't get enough of them. So when I saw this beauty, with the pretty awesome cover, a while back, I knew I had to have it. Unfortunately, Flu just didn't hit the mark for me and I found it rather disappointing.
Flu is not a particularly original novel, although it does try to be, but where it tries it falls flat due to the lack of explanation. People are dying after catching a new strain of flu virus only to rise again as the undead. There's no explanation about how the virus works and why people are coming back from the dead. The author even goes to the lengths of including a doctor/scientist but never allows them to discover anything.
We are also told that the zombies secrete a mucus that toughens like a hard shell to protect them, possibly preserving them, but goes no further into detail or gives a reason for it. The zombies even love the sun and seem to be drawn to fire but nothing is explained and so I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated.
The other aspect I found odd was the fact that throughout the novel the characters seemed to believe that the zombies couldn't hear due to the mucus and could barely see, and yet the zombies seem to know where everybody was. But if they couldn't hear or see, then surely the zombies would just be wandering around aimlessly with no purpose. But the characters are bombarded with zombies at every turn, which I found most peculiar.
The characters are pretty well rounded although some of the interactions between them are a bit unrealistic and I thought some of the feelings between them happened too quickly. I realise that being in such an intense situation as a zombie ridden world would create emotions that may not have arisen otherwise, but certain passages of dialogue were a little jarring at times and just didn't ring true.
I also found the ending to be a bit vague, so I'm not sure if the author is planning a sequel, but either way I am not a fan of ambiguity. The ending wasn't a cliffhanger or a happy ever after, so I was left feeling a bit duped.
I found Flu to be a fast-paced read, once I got going, however every time I put it down, I didn't have the killer urge to pick it up again. It was engaging enough while I was reading it but I've read better within the zombie genre, however, if you're a die-hard zombie fan then you may very well like it. Although it wasn't awful, it certainly wasn't great, so sadly, for me it was just a bit, meh... (less)