Already Dead is exactly what I was hoping for: gritty, edgy and dark, and I was pulled into Joe Pitt's life from the very first page. Joe is a vampyre...moreAlready Dead is exactly what I was hoping for: gritty, edgy and dark, and I was pulled into Joe Pitt's life from the very first page. Joe is a vampyre and a paranormal detective of sorts, and is investigating deaths by zombie and the disappearance of a young girl after being hired by her mother who desperately wants her found. As the investigation moves along, both cases come together in a satisfying conclusion.
Joe doesn't give off great vibes at the beginning of the book, and he's even slightly unlikable, a bit of a sleazy character, with a sad and unsavoury past. But after a while I started to like him. He's actually a good guy who's just trying to get by, living his life as he wants to live it. Although sometimes it gets him into trouble.
Joe's world is that of rival vampyre gangs, which divide New York City. Joe belongs to neither, a rogue vampyre, preferring to stay neutral and only taking jobs from the rival clans when it suits him. This is treading dangerous ground, as each clan wants him to join them, and Joe knows it's only a matter of time before they make him choose.
There's also a side of romance with the addition of Evie, a human woman with her own problems, especially with her health. She isn't aware of Joe's 'disease' and he's not sure he wants to tell her. And yet the very thing that makes him a vampyre could save her life. We see a sweeter, gentler side to Joe when he's with Evie and I look forward to seeing how this relationship develops throughout the series.
Huston doesn't use quotation marks, although each passage of speech is separated with a dash. I thought this would cause confusion when I first started reading, but each character is so distinctive that I had no problem recognising who was talking.
Vampyrism is caused by a Vyrus and zombies are made by the transference of a bacteria which needs to feed on brains to survive, so there's enough lovely brain gorging to satisfy even the most diehard zombie fan.
Already Dead is a unique take on the vampyre story and a brilliant read. It's raw, atmospheric and has a very urban feel to it. If you love vampires and zombies then I'm sure you will love this book. But be warned this isn't the run of the mill urban fantasy, it's quite different with it's noir fiction style, but it's one I would recommend in a heartbeat. I can't wait to read the rest of this fantastic series.(less)
What can I say about this book? It's certainly different... gory... entertaining. A story based on Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol' with brain eating zomb...moreWhat can I say about this book? It's certainly different... gory... entertaining. A story based on Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol' with brain eating zombies, what's not to like? Sounds like a great fun read. Well, it was, to a point.
I really enjoyed the atmosphere of Victorian London and the imagery was really good, I could definitely see the detail in my mind of the zombies gorging on brains. However, there were a lot of jokes with the intention of making the reader laugh which failed for me. After a while they just had my eyes rolling to the heavens and wishing they would just stop coming. It was amusing at first but quickly lost its appeal.
There was also too much going on, with the addition of time-travel thrown into the mix, it made the story a little bit jumbled and hard to follow. The spirits were distinctive though and each one had it's own way of speaking, as you would think coming from completely different times. But I found Christmas Future difficult to understand. This was completely intentional, as Scrooge couldn't understand him either and in return Christmas Future had a book-of-phrases to help him communicate and understand Scrooge. This was quite a funny moment in the book and I did appreciate the humour, but then it went too far and I didn't understanding anything Christmas Future was saying at all:
"'Nah, nah, nah, nah. My bruv been done gone. I can see wiv eyes, and the third, the third. There's a bacon on the bush, there's a chris that crossed, dig dag dug. Speak-n-spell. Get low in the ghetto, the lies buried in da library, ouch!-ouch! is the hierophant of an unapprehended futurity - word!'"
"'For the jam of shoreline!' the Spirit said. 'When you hang with a necker, you hang - yeah? Ain't no ting, cept when the gin-a-body ups the 8o8, you get me?...'"
No, I don't, and sadly this is where the story lost me. I kept reading because I rarely give up on a book and I was intrigued as to how it would end. But even that was a bit of a let down.
This book has its moments. As a zombie fan I appreciated the gore and the eating of brains. I really enjoyed the Dickensian atmosphere and at times it did have me smiling. But overall, it is just a bit odd.
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)
I love a good zombie story, so when this book popped through my letterbox I squealed with delight. I'm not usually a fan on anthologies, not because I...moreI love a good zombie story, so when this book popped through my letterbox I squealed with delight. I'm not usually a fan on anthologies, not because I don't think they are any good, but because I prefer a full-length novel. But as this was sent for review, I thought I would give it a go. And I am so glad I did.
The cover in itself made me a happy bunny - it's fantastic. The artwork is by Per Haagensen and if you check out his website you will see other pieces of his work which are just outstanding. But it's the stories inside that really count when buying a book and I think this anthology is jam packed full of great zombie stories.
I decided to only review three (links to reviews below) as I thought this would be enough to give you an idea of the different styles you would find from the many different authors who contributed to Zombie: An Anthology of the Undead. I have since read another four and for the most part I wasn't disappointed.
You will find as you read through this anthology that there will be some stories you will like more than others, but it's no different to reading novels, one author's writing style will gel with you more than another. However, there are many talented and well known authors in this anthology and therefore I'm sure that you will find most of the stories to your liking. I also found quite a few knew-to-me authors so I look forward to reading those and maybe checking out some of their novels too. Overall, I thought this was an excellent anthology, a must have for any zombie fan.
I gave this book 9/10 on my blog. To read reviews of individual stories visit my blog Book Chick City.
I have heard a lot about this author, mainly from Natasha (Wicked Little Pixie) via Twitter, who rated this book 5/5. So, I thought I would read it my...moreI have heard a lot about this author, mainly from Natasha (Wicked Little Pixie) via Twitter, who rated this book 5/5. So, I thought I would read it myself and see what all the fuss was about - it sounded like a really fun book too. And it most certainly was!
How to describe Amanda Feral... bitchy, snarky, vulgar, foul-mouthed, smart (arse), sexy and totally zombelicious! And dare I say it after all that... likable. Although Amanda is a zombie, through no fault of her own, it doesn't stop her from being utterly fabulous and determined to keep strutting her stuff - makeup, designer clothes and a cocktail in hand are absolute must haves! Unsurprisingly, after getting to know her, Amanda takes the knowledge that she is one of the undead in her stride and isn't too concerned that she now has to eat people - well, a girls got to eat!
Some may find the humour in this book not to their tastes but I loved Amanda's character and although she can be a total bitch, she can also be a loyal friend, as her determination to find her missing friend showed, albeit reluctantly. She enjoys gossiping and sipping vodkatinis with her supernatural friends, Wendy (a sister zombie); Gil (a gay vamp) and Liesl (a succubus) in the trendiest night spots and all as bitchy and snarky as each other!
There is a plot to Happy Hour of the Damned - Amanda turns pseudo-detective and sets out to find her friend Leisl, who sends a 'Help!" txt message before disappearing. But what transpires is something completely innocent as well as more sinister. And although I did enjoy this part of the book, for me it was all about Amanda. Amanda is the reason I rushed out and bought book two! *I has me a 'Manda crush ;)*
Henry mixes urban fantasy with his obvious comedic talent as well as a smattering of visceral horror. Readers who read urban fantasy but not horror will find some scenes a little gruesome and gory (lots of braaaiinns and well, the rest of the body - waste not want not!). Personally I loved it, but I am a bit of a sicko ;)
Happy Hour of the Damned is a fun and entertaining read as well as being absolutely hilarious. Yes, it does get a little rushed at the end with maybe too much going on but Henry's timing is superb and Amanda's witty, snarky comments had me chuckling and giggling to myself and occasionally laughing-out-loud.
I can't get across enough how wickedly good this book is... so you will just have to read it for yourself - I can't wait to read the second book in this series, Road Trip of the Living Dead (look out for the review soon!).
I actually gave this 9/10 on my blog but Goodreads doesn't offer half stars!(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)
'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)
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)