This book is awful and overwhelming and disturbing and raw and has left me feeling spent and empty inside. This book is also probably one of the bestThis book is awful and overwhelming and disturbing and raw and has left me feeling spent and empty inside. This book is also probably one of the best zombie books I've ever read and definitely one of my favorite reads this year. This is simply one hell of a book. Breathtaking writing, a well constructed plot and a complicated main character, This Is Not A Test is simply amazing.
This is a really difficult book to review, and even a more difficult one to recommend. Personally, I thought it was amazing. But the thematic in this book, its execution and the way it comes to an end, can be really hard for a reader. It is gritty, raw and overwhelming. It is ugly and desperate and terrible. But amid all that, it is beautiful. Achingly, horrifyingly beautiful. It left me spent, overwhelmed and with a strange feeling all over my skin and it also haunted me for days. I don't sound very encouraging right now, do I? But this book is, without a doubt, one of my favorite books of the year.
Sloane is a difficult character. Complicated and conflicted are not enough to describe her. How can you like, care, connect or even understand a person so hellbent in killing herself when the rest of the world clings so desperately to whatever life is left, when there are others out there, more deserving of the chance she got to survive, succumbing to this madness? Sloane is well aware of that. But she cannot do anything about it. Her circumstances have dictated her life long enough and this is the only thing she is sure she can take charge off and she is not about to apologize for that. In a strange, twisted way, once you see life through her eyes, it all makes sense. Sloane's life was not easy and she has been betrayed so many times, by others and by herself, and the only thing that centers her is the thought that it all might end. Her narrative is raw and unrestrained and several times I had to put the book down because it was eating away at my heart. Everything is so real and ugly and emotional, it is overwhelming and that's where the real horror of the novel lies. You know, for a zombie novel, it is the living that provide the reader with the real horror.
The rest of the cast, while perhaps not as complex or fleshed out as Sloane, do serve their purpose and provide the book with a sense of realism and desperation that's simply chilling. The way they interacted with each other, they way they behaved, it all complemented fantastically the rhythm of the book because this is a character-driven story, not a roller-coaster of a plot. So, if you are looking for zombie slaying action or horror, this is not for you. This book is about death in life and life amid death. There's no romance here either and I absolutely loved that. They turn to each other for support, in desperation, looking for a shred of something to ground them, not to find through love. The sexuality and attraction in this book worked marvelously in its rawness and honesty. Summers is really one hell of a writer.
From beginning to end, this book had me hooked. Even when not much was going on, - and not much really does, in all honesty, even though the book is actually fast-paced -, it was physically impossible for me to tear myself away from this book. And, despite being a book of over 300 pages, it felt like nothing at all. I breezed through it in just a few hours and I read the last chapter about 5 times before feeling ready to accept that it was over. I am definitely picking this one up again soon. Even if I had a (metaphorical) hole in my chest for about a week because of the story.
Haunting and raw, desperate and horrifyingly beautiful, This Is Not A Test brings a new edge to zombie novels, taking a hold of the reader with its honest display of humanity and what it means to be alive. This is not a pretty book. And that's what is so beautiful about it. This, along with The Reapers are the Angels, are the best zombie books I've ever read.
This book is admittedly slow, even boring at times, and often a bit redundant and repetitive. Peterfreund has a lovely prose, but the narrati3.5 stars
This book is admittedly slow, even boring at times, and often a bit redundant and repetitive. Peterfreund has a lovely prose, but the narration often went over the same things over and over, and the characters' tended to lean towards the melodramatic. The themes that mark this book as dystopia and sci-fi were a bit brushed over and not entirely developed, but in spite of all that, I still liked it and I was entertained. The characters got off to a rough start with me; Elliot was a bit of a pushover and Kai was a jerk, but they grew on me and I ended up rooting for them and deeply enjoying their development, even though not much can be said for the great majority of the other characters in the novel. I have yet to read Persuasion, I must admit, so I can't comment on how this one compares to the original, but there was a feeling of timelessness and social games to the story that I can only attribute to Austen. I am still debating whether to continue the series or not, because, even though I enjoyed this one, I can't say I liked it all that much, and my 4 star rating is mostly due to my understanding that this was a book of quality, rather than based on how much I loved the book. Still, an original book that's worth the read. ...more