Another zombie novel, but this time we see it from the point of view of the army & the secret service. What makes it different from the rest? Ther...moreAnother zombie novel, but this time we see it from the point of view of the army & the secret service. What makes it different from the rest? There's a plot twist involving the zombies. The plague known as the "Morning Star Strain" starts in Egypt & makes it's way across the globe--first killing people like a super-flu. This is where the twist comes in. When a person dies from the plague, it burns them up with a fever & literally boils their brain within their skull. Technically, they are "dead" & are not a slow, shambling corpse but a "sprinter"--they can run & they run fast! Plus, they can be killed by shooting them in the heart. This is just part of the twist. Once killed, the "sprinter" is brought back to life by the virus & is now a slow moving zombie who is literally dead--becoming a "walker". This time, shooting them in the chest isn't going to kill them & we go back to the tried & true method of shooting them in the head. Think of it as "28 Days Later" zombie becoming a "Night of the Living Dead" zombie. It's not the greatest zombie novel, but it keeps you reading due to the plot "twist", which I must admit is kind of original. It ends on a cliff hanger so the sequel is a must if one wants to find out how the series ends. The sequel is also the last book because the author past away a few years ago. While this is sad, it can be said the franchise past away with him.(less)
Not the greatest novel in the horror subgenre of zombie fiction. Plot revolves around a cop who, while on night patrol, begins to witness a zombie pla...moreNot the greatest novel in the horror subgenre of zombie fiction. Plot revolves around a cop who, while on night patrol, begins to witness a zombie plague start to grow around him within his city. It has it's moments of suspense, manages to pull some tension, but it reads like a throw away George Romero script. For hard core zombie fans only, while to others who like a flesh eating tale every now & then, it's a book that will make you say: "been there, done that." Best part of the book is the cop's partner who joins him in fighting off the zombie horde without a care in helping others. His selfishness provides moments where the main character has to decide should he stand by his brother of the badge or get rid of him to protect the helpless they come across. There are sequels & I'll probably read them.(less)
Another author who tries to put a new twist on the zombie subgenre & it just doesn't help the book. The plot involves a plague that kills the worl...moreAnother author who tries to put a new twist on the zombie subgenre & it just doesn't help the book. The plot involves a plague that kills the world's population except for a select few (like THE STAND). The survivors congregate in a local Rec Center--trying to figure out what to do. Panic & fear freezes everyone except for 3 of them who leave the Center once the dead start getting up & walking around. This is all the dead do: walk around. They don't try to eat anyone, they just get in the way--swarming around the survivors because they're attracted to sound & movement. I was left thinking: "That's it?" The survivors are terrified of the undead walking around & look for a secluded house in which to take refuge. Once they find one out in the country, ennui starts to take over & they itch to get away again. Plus they are tired of the crowds of the dead gathering in their yard which keeps growing in numbers day after day. That's it. Nothing else. & there's over 2 more sequels. I think I'll stop with this one. What good is a zombie novel when they zombies aren't trying to eat the living? Not good at all.(less)
One of my chosen paths is writing comics & from self-publishing my work, I've attended countless comic conventions to sell my books to the public....moreOne of my chosen paths is writing comics & from self-publishing my work, I've attended countless comic conventions to sell my books to the public. The conventions I began to attend with my comics company started over six years ago & I began to notice how trends surface in comics when one person hits pay-dirt with a "gimmick" they've infused within their work. The trend I saw rise from the grave were Zombies. It's hard to say where it started (film? comics?), but it came on like a tidal wave & soon you couldn't walk down the aisle of comic conventions without seeing new zombie titles popping up everywhere.
Then the movies & the novels started to pop up everywhere. Then the television show on AMC (based on a comic) sealed the deal. But when it came to the novels, just like the monsters they used in their story lines, you put one down & three more would take its place--countless zombie novels started being published--indy press & popular press jammed their books into the market.
So I decided to avoid the zombie comics & devote my attention to the sub-genre of horror, Zombie Fiction. For a period of time, I bought every zombie novel I could get my hands on--Permuted Press was a good place to find many, many titles within the sub-genre--& read them back to back until I needed to take a break.
Within this reading marathon, I kept avoiding DAY BY DAY ARMAGEDDON & to this day I can't explain why. Maybe it's because it was written by a military man & I was expecting the prose to be horrible due to the fact writing wasn't his first chosen profession? Possibly. Or maybe it was the structure of the novel--written as a diary--that turned me off? Again: possibly. But when I finally had enough of hack writers trying to cash in on the zombie craze, I picked up Mr. Bourne's novel & started to read. I couldn't put it down.
This novel is one of the best in Zombie Fiction. It is an excellent tale of survival--one that is more realistic than others (until you get to the end of the second book, but that's for another review). Why? Because Bourne's military training lends itself perfectly to show the reader how to survive a zombie apocalypse. Though the situations are unreal, the methods ARE real & very plausible. I give high marks to Mr. Bourne in using the plot device of having the main character be a military man like himself--as they say: "Write what you know." & to do it in the structure of a diary is even more effective because we, as readers, relate to the character in a more human way--he's writing the facts, not trying to write flowery prose & this makes it all the more real, like a documentary. You start to care for the main character even more because he is baring his soul within the journal--so effective!
I place this novel on the top shelf of the sub-genre of Zombie Fiction. It is one of two zombie novels I would tell anyone--even those who don't care much for zombies as escapism--to give it a try. (less)
I knew of the steampunk genre for years--saw it's influence in comics &, recently, in film--but I never got around to reading any novels within it...moreI knew of the steampunk genre for years--saw it's influence in comics &, recently, in film--but I never got around to reading any novels within its arena. I knew it was started in the early '80s with the cult novel by Jeter, INFERNAL ENGINES, but I never sought out a copy. I also never picked up the other "swan song" of the sub-genre by Gibson/Sterling, THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE, because the two authors were associated with another sub-genre of sci-fi I abhor: cyberpunk. Ugh.
It was that very book sitting on a friend's shelf which made me ask if Gibson/Sterling really kick-started steampunk to a higher level within the underground cult scene? My friend asked if I have read any steampunk & I told him I've read it's influences, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, E.R. Burroughs, etc., but never anything labeled steampunk. He told me to embrace it for what it is & give it a try.
Okay. So I started with WHITE CHAPEL GODS & while I totally dug the world the author created within that novel, I wasn't impressed with the story.
BONESHAKER was all the rage here in Portland, OR. When it first came out, word of mouth propelled it to the #1 spot on Powell's City of Books bestseller shelf that greets you when you first enter the store. When I would go to the local coffee shops or diners, I would see people buried in the novel, oblivious to what was going on around them. When I found out the author & the novel's plot had a home here in the Pacific Northwest, I thought, alright, maybe there's something to this. I was leery though. I don't like to follow popular literary bestseller trends because it always ends up chapping my ass (Dan Brown anyone?). But when I also saw there were zombies involved I figured, okay, I'll bite.
Priest has built an incredible alternate world against the backdrop of the Civil War--full of air pirates, zombies, wild steampunk gadgets & characters one would find in an episode of THE WILD WILD WEST--but better. I'll spare you the complete plot synopsis, but it involves a mother looking for her son in a zombie infested, walled up Seattle, WA. Though the main characters can be very frustrating--their refusal to take minor characters' advice on how to navigate zombie ravaged Seattle is very frustrating indeed--but this lends itself to the suspense.
The hype around this novel made me expect more--a sprawling tale at best--but I found the story to be tightly contained, limited in the grand opera that is steampunk. Putting this aside, I found the novel to be an excellent example of what steampunk can be. It's a good place to start for anyone who is new to the sub-genre without alienating the reader. The prose is excellent too--character development is a strong point when it comes from Priest's pen--where other steampunk novels have a tendency to be written in a pulp magazine style that could come from the timeline the novels are usually place in. This isn't a bad trait--some authors are good at it--but it's nice to see Priest avoid this style & give us a well crafted prose in order to present her world to us.
Did it live up to the hype? Well, I've managed to buy the other novels within Priest's CLOCKWORK CENTURY series & they are waiting in the wings to be read. So I would say, yes, it has. (less)