Disclaimer: There may be possible spoilers if you haven't read book 1. BEWARE!
Disclaimer 2: LONG RANT ALERT
Ugh... this book.
Forgive me if you've heard...moreDisclaimer: There may be possible spoilers if you haven't read book 1. BEWARE!
Disclaimer 2: LONG RANT ALERT
Ugh... this book.
Forgive me if you've heard me say this before, but I love zombie books. I always look forward to reading settings with these flesh-eating abominations and how the survivors would cope and deal with them. I want to see what steps they'll take in order to live normally again, how they'll manage the psychological warfare amongst each other that will inevitably come. The social collapse and how it will rise up again interest me a lot, as well as the ethics of a human person, and how low they will go when things become desperate. That's why I love reading this subgenre so much - there's so many themes to explore beyond the gore and the blood.
Unfortunately, In The End, the sequel to In The After which also serves as the end to the duology, somehow fell short. I was not very impressed with the first book, so I had hoped that the second installment would be more epic. While it certainly did give some answers with regards to the mystery of the Floraes, the main character was insufferable, the love triangle was annoying, and the pacing was awful.
In fact, if you ask me, I'd divide this book into two parts:
1.) The dragging prison arc where the same shit happens over and over again (the MC not learning from her mistakes each time), and; 2.) The ending which could just be the most rushed ending ever, while also portraying one of the most cliché villains in the worst way possible.
The Prison: Fort Black
Amy has left New Hope and has been in the wild for a few months now. She left Baby there and in the hands of Rice, hoping he will keep her safe. One day, the most predictable shit happened: Baby got taken by Dr. Reynolds, the eeeevil scientist! Well, I'm sure everybody saw that coming... how else would the plot move along, especially since Amy's world revolves around Baby now? In any case, Kay instructs her to find her brother, Ken, in Fort Black - someone who will surely help her take Baby back.
Let's talk about the positives: Fort Black is a shithole, and the book shows that grim atmosphere effectively. You can really feel the stink of desperation and starvation here, especially with how it's crammed with 2000 people, some of them criminals, in extremely close quarters. Like how a prison goes, there is usually an alpha here who makes and enforces his own law, and does things that benefit him and keep others in line. I'm not sure I'd want to be in such an environment if this were to happen in real life. You may be safe from the "zombies" outside, but one should wonder if there are far worse dangers inside the walls.
But, see, Amy knows it's dangerous. We know it's dangerous. The MC describes the place enough for us to retch in its monstrosity. However, for some unworldly reason, she seems to have lost her common sense and sense of self-preservation, and every time she does something without thinking of it first, it drives me up a wall and I can't help but feel so fucking annoyed.
1.) You wanna win the game? Then. Play. The. Fucking. Game. In this prison, the males rule. Many of them are former criminals, and it's hard to fight against such brutality. This especially does not bode well for women, who find themselves victims of such people. In order to be protected from others, you need to be "claimed" by a man, ideally a powerful one with enough connections to intimidate other even worse men away. Amy was lucky enough to meet Jacks whose uncle was the Warden, and he decided to pretend to claim her so she can be protected from the sleazebags.
However, Amy is kinda... wishy-washy with this primitive concept. She at first recognizes the value of being under Jacks' name. She's still seen as fresh meat by the disgusting inmates, and this hinders her from reaching her goal. Yet, every now and then, she argues with him about being "owned" even though both of them know it's merely a farce. She once even yelled at him about it (which could have compromised her already good situation since DUH JACKS IS THE WARDEN'S NEPHEW), to the point of running away from him which then led her to the arms of bad men who decided to take advantage of her. They almost won over her if they weren't interrupted by superpower Brenna, who, bless her heart, reminded her that she's just making her situation worse.
And I'm shaking my head here because she speaks the fucking truth. INSTEAD OF GOING AGAINST THE RULES, USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE, YOU FUCKING IDIOT. YOU'RE SURROUNDED BY HUNGRY MEN WHO DON'T HAVE ANYONE, NOT EVEN THE LAW BECAUSE IT'S USELESS AT THIS POINT, TO STOP THEM FROM ACTING ON THEIR WANTS.
... which leads to point numero dos.
DON'T LET YOUR BRAIN GATHER DUST. USE IT.Look, I'm all for reckless girls, because that screams personality, but I like reckless girls who can use their brains. I want them to take their surroundings into consideration, and be one step ahead of everyone else, even if there's a chance of their plans failing. Unfortunately, Amy seems to have lost it somewhere.
This is where it feels like this arc is dragging. This part of the book is pretty much composed of this:
* Find this guy, get attacked * Rinse and repeat
I am not kidding.
It was so tiring to see Amy doing the same mistakes over and over again and then ending up facing the same consequences, and then whining about it later. "Don't go out of the room!" *goes out anyway* *gets attacked* "Don't step out while I'm away. We'll find this person together." *goes out by herself anyway* *gets attacked* "Don't---" *goes out anyway* *gets attacked*
And this keeps happening over and over again, and it was so tiring to read the same developments being done in circles. Like okay, we get it, Amy's recklessly reckless, and everyone's out to kill her. CAN WE PLEASE MOVE ON AND, OH, DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
DON'T SAY SOMETHING AND THEN DO THE OPPOSITE. THAT. BLOWS.
Ugh, this one pisses me off.
You see, I try not to take it against the book if it features a selfish character. All of us are selfish in our own little ways, and I get that. It makes the hero or the heroine far more relatable because it's impossible to find a person absolutely and inherently selfless (I mean, it probably happens, but still, it's probably a 1 in a million).
But it's just a load of bullcrap when you say one thing and then do the other.
Somewhere along the way, we get a few revelations, and Amy gets into a heated conversation with Jacks. She tells him how what is being done in the prison is wrong, and how it degrades human life and all that. How it's wrong to treat people like they're expendable. I admired her little speech, but when she later is willing to trade someone else's life for Baby's, even if that person gets tortured and hurt in her place, I got pissed.
Like, wow. Did you just forget that you were talking about how everyone was valuable, and now you're saying their life isn't really worth that much compared to Baby? That you're willing to let them be hurt, possibly killed, as long as Baby's okay? WHAT THE HELL.
Don't get me wrong, I understand where Amy's coming from. I'd probably do the same for my family and friends, for anyone who's close and dear to my heart. But it would be so much better if she's upfront about this from the very start, and didn't say those things if she were going to do the opposite. That's what pissing me off.
In any case, I felt this part was very dragging and migraine-inducing. The main character was so annoying she made me want to punch a wall. Thankfully, she gets out, and goes back to New Hope...
Now this one is probably worse than the first, despite being waaaay shorter. This part feels very rushed, because we're thrown to one event after another, all of them lacking build-up. It's like they keep having and executing these plans, but since there's no exposition or "real" conflict, it feels like things happen so smoothly and easily. Oh, we're stuck? How convenient, I know just the person! Oh, we need this particular person to get to that part of the lab? Knock, knock! Who's there? Oh, it's me, the person you're looking for! What a coincidence!
And this makes me sad a little because this part was way more interesting than the one in Fort Black. We get to see the real antagonists again, see the people we last saw in the previous book, yada yada yada, but it just doesn't feel enough. Plus the fact there were a few grievances along the way:
1.) Cliché Villain. Seriously, I remember rolling my eyes when the antagonist went on this dramatic monologue (which in that span of time could have been used to kill him, but whatever, what do I know) how he did what he did because...
wait for it...
wait for it...
BECAUSE HE HAD TO CLEAN HUMANITY'S MISTAKE AND THAT A RECONSTRUCTION OF THE WORLD WAS IN ORDER!!!
Dude. That "cleanse the world" reason is just so damn overused. It's what I expect now, and I was seriously hoping there was another reason, even if it was cliché, as long as it was, you know, less cliché than that.
It doesn't help the fact that we keep getting reminded of how crazy and manipulative and dangerous this antagonist was, that you'd expect there would be a drawn-out confrontation later, something explosive that would really end this shitty situation in a bang, only for him to be detained in a few pages by falling for the lamest of tricks.
And I'm like:
"Shit, that's all it took?! WHY HASN'T ANYONE DONE IT BEFORE IF IT WAS THAT FUCKING EASY?!"
I'm just so disappointed, you know? I expected way more than that crappy climax. It was over too soon and too conveniently. It felt like I was in a mad dash to the finish line and I wasn't even able to look at my surroundings.
AND. THAT. ENDING.
Some people may say that the ending was an open one. I didn't think it was an open ending because we got a concrete picture of what was going to happen (the resolution), but the problem is, the book ended just before that happened. And I feel pretty cheated, to be honest.
I don't even want to think about the "closure" of the love triangle. It was the lamest closure I've ever seen. How do I explain this? It's like she randomly chose someone between the two of them, and then left the other person to just take the hint. And you know what's worse? It doesn't feel like it was justifiable. I mean I get her reasons for choosing one over the other, but it felt like a cop-out to me. She spent a lot of time with each of them in the two books (one boy each), but it just didn't feel right somehow. She somehow chose one dude while not explaining anything to the other guy, who didn't even know he was in a love triangle in the first place.
I feel sorry for him.
I'm disappointed. I wasn't wow-ed by the first book, but I felt that was a stronger book than this one. It's such a shame because I liked the author's writing style, but it felt like this book was running out of ideas and started recycling and ending things early. I'll still check out the Lunetta's future works, because she has a lot of promise, but I don't think I'll be putting this one in my Hall of Faves.(less)
WARNING: THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART, FOR THOSE HANGING ON TO THEIR LAST SHREDS OF SANITY, AND FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT TAKE CRAZY PLOT TWIST...more
WARNING: THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART, FOR THOSE HANGING ON TO THEIR LAST SHREDS OF SANITY, AND FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT TAKE CRAZY PLOT TWISTS. IT'S INSANE, I TELL YOU. INSAAAAANE!
This is what Parasite by Mira Grant made me feel:
* It made me want to go on youtube to look for videos of carnivorous plants. Needless to say, I stumbled upon the weird part of that crazy site again. CANNOT UNSEE WHAT HAS BEEN SEEN. * It made me fucking scared of elongated little buggers who may just have the capability to enter your body and stay there... FOREVER. * It made me want to sit in my little corner and rock myself until the end of time. * It made me want to put protective gear... IN MY SKULL. * It made me want to die now before I feel nature's wrath upon us. * Basically...
This book is both disgusting and fascinating, both disturbing and engaging. I've never read anything by Mira Grant before, but holy hell! I'll surely buy her books from now on! This one was mad crazy good! I mean, sure, I blame the sudden appearance of my fears of parasites/worms/carnivorous plants or whatever thingies on this author, but to be honest, I regret nothing.
Here we have Sal who's had an accident, and thanks to a tapeworm installed inside her body, she finally got the chance to live again. When she woke up from her vegetable state, she remembered nothing - not even her language, the name of her parents, absolutely nada - and had to start at zero. 6 years later, she's finally better and is a contributing member of society. Yeah, she still gets therapy sessions and medical check ups at SymboGen, the institution who helped her live again, and is still guarded by her parents day in and day out, but at least she's living. Then suddenly, people are transforming. There's a sickness going around where people suddenly stop being themselves and become empty, lifeless shells moving about. SCARY EH?!
For the first 40 or so percent, we're left in the dark about almost everything. It was very slow, and it gave us an overview of Sal's life and her relationships with other people. But honestly, I didn't mind it very much because it made me understand what the heroine was going through, and the hardships she was facing. Grant really has this uncanny ability to make these fictional people feel so real and genuine; nothing sounded forced or unnatural at all. You can feel Sal's frustration and insecurities overflowing from the pages, while also sensing the tension escalating all around. There were small scenes here and there, but you can totally feel the eerie atmosphere building up as you put the pieces of the puzzle together.
And then everything went loose after 50%, where you get your answers and some shocking plot twists that I didn't see coming. I swear, at exactly 52%, my jaw dropped to the ground, with my mind going WTF WTF WTF?!?!?! It's that intense and gripping, dude. I have no other words. Sure, there were a lot of scientific terms dropped here and there, and I'm no zoologist, virologist, or heck, I'm not even that good at science, but I still enjoyed reading all about them. DO NOT GOOGLE THE TERMS PLEASE. THIS IS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!! It becomes incredibly fast-paced, with lots of creepy and heated scenes with the heroine against the "sleepwalkers", against her family, and against the corporation that installed the tapeworm inside her and everyone else. At the last page, I was like this:
Also, there's some good character development here, too, with regards to the heroine. At the beginning, I didn't really like her that much (although I understood her) because she came across as too whiny, and too forceful with her feelings of rebellion against.. well.. everyone else! And the fact that she kept on saying she didn't know what to do, she didn't know what else to do, when the answers were kinda obvious... BUT!! She matures in the end, and I really liked how she stopped whining and finally did something for herself. You go, girl! You need to respect and love yourself more!
All in all, it was a fricking awesome read. I can't wait to read Book 2 and Mira Grant now officially joins the ranks of other authors in my to-watch-for-future-novels list. This book is hauntingly compelling and amazingly creepy. It gives a lot of food for thought when it comes to biotechnology and bioengineering. It sure taught me that not all progress is good progress! I sure hope the sequel is along the way!
As a person who loves zombies and post-apocalyptic fiction so much, it's not rocket science to think I was expecting a lot from this book. I tend to...more
As a person who loves zombies and post-apocalyptic fiction so much, it's not rocket science to think I was expecting a lot from this book. I tend to do that a lot to books with awesome blurbs and covers, because as they say, first impression lasts, right? Unfortunately, this book was a case of, "It was good" and "it was meh" at the same time and right now my feelings are a bit messy and mixed up. But I'll try my best as usual to explain what I liked and what I absolutely detested, so buckle up! Here we go!
For the "zombie" aspect, I think it was pretty cool. Sure, they're not exactly traditional zombies in a sense that they're not slow at all... the flesh-eating abominations in this book can run fast as hell. They're also not nocturnals, so they hide by night and roam by day, which is a pretty interesting change. I do think the "twist" revealed near the end regarding their origins was predictable... I was actually already considering it at the beginning, but even if I didn't foresee it early on, it wasn't really that shocking. Not the book's fault, though... I've just read too many zombie novels and other related themes that the twist was already old news to me. Needless to say, I did feel it could've used a little more originality.
I liked Part 1 a lot. I loved how short the chapters were, how intense they felt, how they gave us an overview of how Amy was doing and coping and enduring not only the dangers of the zombies, but also of the surviving humans. I loved how it focused on survival with very little unnecessary drama. It reminded me of a lot of the zombie books that I loved reading early last year, giving me waves and waves of nostalgia. Her relationship with Baby was so real and genuine, too. It was very refreshing to see two characters understand each other in such a level that you don't need words to get messages across, how they can simply know what the other's talking about in a simple glance or gesture. I admit, though, that there were times I got annoyed by Amy's giving in to Baby's tantrums just to please her, but in the end, I kind of understand why she has done what she did.
THEN they get rescued by some humans who've made a sort of sanctuary led by scientists and everything pretty much went downhill after that...
Part 2... was weird. It felt like I was reading a different book altogether. At this point, it started feeling like any other YA science fiction post-apocalyptic story, but in the usual unappealing way. A lot of side characters were introduced but they didn't really feel well-rounded to me. Bad guys were shown here who were bad because they take advantage of anarchy and they want to wreck havoc for the heck of it, and crazy mad scientists who do what they do because they want to make the "perfect" world according to their own ideas... This part, unfortunately, felt very dragging to me. It also started telling the story in two POVs... one in the present, and one that happened in the past (or present and future, however angle you want to see it). It felt very weird to me at first, and I don't deny it made me feel very uncomfortable and confused, but when it did merge together as one near the end of Part 3, everything finally made sense. I do wish it was more subtle, though, because gah! The migraines!
Also, I have a problem with the romance. I hate how forced it was. Her sudden relationship (who she instantly felt a connection to when they first met... lots of blushing and faces becoming beet red here, folks!) with Rice felt absolutely random and contrived, like it was very out of place. I didn't think the romance was even necessary here... There were a lot of girls around his age in New Hope and then Amy came and he's suddenly all over her? Huh. I do think it could have worked better if they were simply friends here first. I guess it's inevitable in YA. I do appreciate though that the romance was not central in this book. It was more of a side dish than anything, but still. Cringe-worthy is cringe-worthy.
I did enjoy this far more than The 5th Wave, although their only similarity that I can see is their being post-apocalyptic. I just think this one showcased the genre much more, and I think it gave us a better understanding of what society would become if social order collapses.
All in all, it was a decent read. It wasn't exactly a phenomenal experience, but it has kept me interested enough to want to know what happens next. I have this grand feeling that the second book is where the epic-ness will finally start. I am definitely looking forward to that.
An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. This did not alter my thoughts in any way. The following text is my opinion only.
I really, really need to stop falling for covers. I mean, look at that baby right there - isn't it just mad cool? It gives me that Assassin's Creed vibe, something that I don't really play (I gave up on the first mission...) but think is awesome nonetheless. I know, I know, there's a bit of bias, but even without my identifying it with AC, it still looks pretty sweet. It has zombies. And it's post-apocalyptic! POST-APOCALYPTIC! That means something happened that made the world this way. Something scary, to have all these zombies with blue eyes coming at our throats, right?! Right?!
But... le sigh...
If there's one thing that this book made me feel, it's disappointment. I expected so, so much, given that sci-fi and post-apocalyptic fiction are two of my favorite genres, but unfortunately everything felt so... I don't know, lacking? For the first 90%, I was so frustrated with how things were going, and my mind was full of "WTF WTF WTF?!?!" and not in a good way.
First, there was very little world-building. I was just thrown into a world where there were fields and fields of empty lands, void of people and of life, save for a few walled cities and underground refuges. It's post-apocalyptic but there were some technologies that still worked (like satellites orbiting the planet...). There were these zombie-like creatures popping at night, creatures who used to roam the world as humans. AND apparently, there were also some people with special powers... These were really interesting, but I couldn't really picture it in my head because nothing was ever explained in depth. How am I supposed to consider this book as post-apocalyptic when no explanation has been given on how everything came to be? Was there a war? Was there a nuclear fallout? Where did these Weirs come from? Were they a result of some sort of mutation, or a failed bio experiment, or what? How the hell did certain people get to have superhuman abilities?
I really, really wanted everything to make sense, but it was one big WTFuckery throughout. There were times some terms were introduced, but like the world-building, I never got a clear picture of them. Apparently, you get "shipped" when you die, and it was thrown in several times, and each time I was like, "WHAT THE FUCK DOES SHIPPING OR BEING SHIPPED MEANS??!!! DUDE. As in, seriously. Then early in the novel, Cass showed this ability that kind of sends signals to satellites and can even take a sneak peek into some sort of internet technology that allows her to pinpoint where they are in a map... she used this twice in the beginning, but until the end, there were no explanation on how she can do that or on how that ability works exactly. AND IT WAS NEVER USED AGAIN. Just like that. Forgotten. Buried in the early pages. Never to be seen once more. Ugh...
And like I said, I couldn't really imagine the place. The prose and narration was more telling of what the characters were doing every fricking second (verb here, verb again, then verb verb verb), that details on the environment were almost non-existent. I wanted more exposition regarding these things, because it's with the environment and world-building where the post-apocalyptic element of this really shines. Of course, that's just my opinion; it could be different for other people. But for me, post-apocalyptic depends on the scenery, on the setting, and on how this setting affects other people, how it becomes an important factor in their every day life. And I really didn't see that here. Even the walled cities didn't really make any sense. There was this city where apparently color was everywhere and people had a particular fashion sense, and I was like HUH?! Errrr...
As for the characters, I couldn't really connect to them. At first, I totally liked Three as he was portrayed as this bad ass mofo who could kick your ass without batting an eyelid. He was shown as this way for the first 40 percent - cold, calculating, meticulous, kickass... and then later on, his personality did a 180° change. He suddenly traced his finger over Cass' cheekbone gently, nudged her on the elbow after an inside joke, he winked, suddenly "stopped breathing" when Cass smiled at him, suddenly felt warm in his chest when he saw her... like WHOA. I know I sound really nitpicky right now, but why the heck would this book portray him so much like THIS, and then next chapter he's like an all-new person? I don't know, a lot of people may see that as character development, but it was just weird to me. It wouldn't have been if there were more build-up between the two of them, but I didn't really find any that justified this sudden change. Sorry, Three, you're badass, but your lovesick puppy moments didn't work out for me.
And, of course, there's Cass... sigh. I really didn't like this heroine. I thought she was so selfish and useless. She tried to get Three to help them run away from some bad guys due to her kid's speshul power, leading him to a bigger trouble than what's its worth without him knowing. I didn't like how she involved him without having even the gall to tell him what he was up against. And apparently, she was part of this strong crew, the best crew evar that has killed a lot of people, and yet when she was traveling with Three, she was useless as hell! All she did was whine and cry and wait for things to happen or wait for Three to make things happen for her. She depended on him so much, that how she was a part of RushRuin's crew was beyond me. Truly, truly baffling. There was this scene where she was so helpless on what to do, so she asked Three about it. He said he'll find a way. And she was like, "Ok! He'll find a way! Three always does! I'll just sit here and relax!" Of course, that's not really how it happened, but you know what I mean, right?
I think this book's saving grace was Wren. He's the kid the bad guys are after, and I think he was portrayed nicely. There are some books out there where there are kids below the age of ten, but act mature for their age, or too childish. I think the author shown his confusion, his innocence, and his fears really... accurately? If that's the right word? Like you can really tell he's a six year old and a half kid. Well done on that part.
90% of the plot didn't really engage me. It was confusing as hell, frustrating, and sometimes boring. I had to skim a lot of pages. The last 10% was pretty fast-paced and cool, so that makes an extra star. I'm not sure if I'll read the sequels, though... time will tell.
An ARC was provided in exchange for a review. This in no way influenced my thoughts in any way.
Almost more than 24 hours later, I'm still a bit stumpe...moreAn ARC was provided in exchange for a review. This in no way influenced my thoughts in any way.
Almost more than 24 hours later, I'm still a bit stumped and at a loss. No, no, it's not because this book gave me something to ponder on for days on end, rather, I simply found it difficult to gather my thoughts and coherently put them into words. Did this book have zombies? Well, yes, close enough. Was it entertaining? Yes. Did I like it? Yes and no. If that sounds fickle to you, it probably is, but let me explain why I'm torn between "fuck yeah awesome" and "I'm outta here".
The premise is original and intriguing. Like any other zombie fiction, it mainly revolves around the heroes' survival, but what kept the story from going to the "been there done that" pile were the game concept as well as the heart warming relationship between Michael and Patrick. These two brothers have been on their own since Halloween, the End of the World. They've been relying on each other all this while. They're in a "game", in which the objective is to get to the Safe Zone and meet their mother. To do this, they have to fight the Bellows, dead people walking that distort your words and echo them back to you, as well as follow the instructions from the Game Master.
If you're looking for a darker plot than most YA survival stories, this one here is right up your alley. It is absolutely thrilling, creepy, and sinister. This is a world where you only have yourself to trust, because even those alive have proven themselves equally dangerous. I found myself glued to the pages, unable to keep myself away as the escalation of events became even more suspenseful. The atmosphere is emotional, a sense of urgency is present, and all of these are intensified thanks to the close bond between Michael and Patrick, who are dependent on each other for both of their sanities, a realistic relationship of protector and the one being protected. It is a riveting plot that would put you at the edges of your seat, a story of lies, manipulation, and survival, and for me, it could have been a fun ride from beginning to end.
Note the could.
Alas, in the end, it wasn't meant to be. What dampened my enjoyment was the way the narration was written. It was hard for me to get used to it at first as the style was a bit different, and unfortunately, I think I was uncomfortable to the last page. The author made the voice sound like from a teenager's, which is quite weird since it's told in third person anyway, but it only felt unnatural and forced to me. It felt like the narration was trying hard to reach out to me and have me relate with my inner teen, but... yeah, no.
Most of the characters were also annoying as hell. I think I only liked one person, and that was Bobbie, an old grandma who managed to survive with the small group of survivors in the Capitol. The rest - bah. Despite the heartwarming relationship between Michael and Patrick, at least, the protector vs. damsel in distress kind, I also disliked both of them, as in, I wouldn't have cared if they were killed anyway; I just wanted them to finally stop talking. Patrick sometimes acted like a three year old kid, and then talk like a ten year old, and then revert back to being too cutesy. Each time, I only wanted to yell, STAHP IT!! Don't get me wrong, I love kids, but it was so exhausting to read his dialogue and his antics, and the only thing I thought in my mind every time he'd come up was "Please let it be over soon; o, have mercy!! Michael, on the other hand, was decent with his "I'm the macho guy, I can take care of all of ye" attitude, but there were times he infuriated me as well. While questionable, I understood some of the actions he did; those were merely done because he believed it was for the best interests of his younger brother, and I guess that tidbit gave him more depth. The "love interest" was also one of the ficklest characters I've ever had the displeasure to read, and one of the most irritating as well. She said she cared for the brothers, but every time she did something for them out of that "care" and "goodness", she only made things worse not only for them, but for everybody else. And how truly convenient that she was Michael's age, too! What are the odds of encountering someone like that out of the blue, huh? Their "romance" felt superficial, too. Ugh.
Overall, this is not a bad book. The storyline, despite the annoying characters and unnecessary romance, is something those looking for a darker and more sinister plot would find appealing and would probably enjoy. I advice reading this with no high expectations, lest you might be disappointed, as I was. Nevertheless, it's still a solid 3/5 stars for me.
Read this and other reviews at The Social Potato! (less)
First and foremost, I love zombies. In 2012 alone, I've spent the first 4-5 months reading zombie novels only. Most of them weren't in the YA genre th...moreFirst and foremost, I love zombies. In 2012 alone, I've spent the first 4-5 months reading zombie novels only. Most of them weren't in the YA genre though, so I've been on a mission ever since to look for awesome YA novels (although I really doubt any could live up to Charlie Higson's The Enemy series). So just imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw this novel on NetGalley! Unfortunately, it didn't really live up to my rather high expectations. Even my love of zombies did not save this book.
The heroine is one of the most irritating heroines I've ever had the displeasure to read. I'm not sure if it was her personality altogether, or just the ridiculous narrative that made me cringe sentence after sentence after sentence. See, here's the thing - the narrative is unique. At first glance, it does resemble a real teenager's voice. But it becomes too overbearing after a while and it felt ridiculous after a page or two. I think it was written that way in an attempt to make it more "relatable", "personal", or even "realistic", but it felt unnatural and forced. I just couldn't stomach all the attempts to insert slangs, to sound witty, to sound funny, when all of them fail bigtime. Since she was the only voice in the book, finishing it was a struggle. She was not only unrealistic, she was also condescending and judgemental. Ugh, Worst Heroine Award, anyone? It doesn't help that it incorporates abbreviations that should never,ever be seen in any form of literature. Examples of abbreviations? "FYI", "BTW"... yeah, go figure.
World-building honestly felt pretty random to me. So there are necromancers who have the ability to revive the dead. They do it for people who cannot let go of their passed on loved ones. Despite having a lot of people depending on them, these necromancers feel a sense of isolation from the rest of the "normal" populace. These revived zombies are also oftentimes used as "pets" or "slaves" by their masters (or former relatives... how sick is that?). It felt to me a simple world - a bit bizarre, and quite random. I do appreciate the Egyptian references, though. They were fun to read.
The protagonist ruined this book for me. I could live with weird world-building, cardboard side characters, and the like, but if the one doing the narrative is someone like Molly, it just ruins everything else for me. I wouldn't recommend this. +1 for the Egyptian terms, though. (less)
I'm sure you guys are already sick of me saying this over and over and over again, but let me just say this once more...moreCan be read on The Social Potato.
I'm sure you guys are already sick of me saying this over and over and over again, but let me just say this once more for the mere heck of it: I love zombies. Well, I don't really love them in, you know, that manner, but I absolutely love reading survival stories in a zombie-infested world. There's nothing better than watching characters try to survive a world full of flesh-eating abominations. I don't like anarchy, but I love reading about them. The image of no social order just fascinates me. Not that I want it to happen in real life, mind you... but it's an interesting concept in fiction.
Having read a lot of zombie books half a year ago, I was anxious to read this novel by a new-to-me author. Thankfully, Amongst the Dead by David Bernstein did not disappoint at all, and ultimately made me love the subgenre even more! Usually zombie stories follow hard military soldiers or civilians who, by the streak of luck, can shoot with 100% accuracy, but this time, the story follows Riley, a 12-year old girl, who is forced to live alone in the new world after her father died from a zombie bite. She learns the hard way of the reality that not only the world has changed, but its people, too, as she not only has to fight against the moaning horde, but against the living as well who proved to be as dangerous!
I really liked this book. Riley was a tough 12 year old, forced to mature too quickly due to the unfortunate circumstances. Even though she had to remain strong, you can see in her actions, words and thoughts that she still yearned for a normal life with a normal family. Of course, she doesn't remain twelve for too long, as the book shows her journey until she reached the age of fourteen/fifteen. By then, she has seen too much of the world worse than zombies - army men with machine guns, cunning gangs who rape women here and there, as well as an eyeless cult who wish to use her body for breeding purposes. All of this with all the goriest details you could ever read in a zombie book... I remember putting down the book several times because I was just too disgusted with the scenes. The interaction she had with the living was just as disturbing as well.
While I did enjoy this, I thought the ending was too abrupt... like it just happened and that's it. I wish it was developed more, although I'm kind of glad the author didn't make this a series. Sometimes, there are just stories that can be wrapped up in one book. Do I recommend this? Yes, absolutely, most especially to those who love the zombie subgenre as I! Other zombie novels I recommend: The Enemy series by Charlie Higson, Area 187: Almost Hell by Eric Lowther, and Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry. (less)
Well, that was an awesome zombie read. I don't understand some reviews here that say the book is about two guys fighting over a girl. In fact, there w...moreWell, that was an awesome zombie read. I don't understand some reviews here that say the book is about two guys fighting over a girl. In fact, there was none of that at all, at least from what I read. Maybe they are reading a different book.
In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Usually, I hate romance in zombie novels. Most of the time, they aren't done right and they get cheesy really, really early. But here? It really worked. But that's because it wasn't forced at all - it was developed nicely and realistically. You got to know the characters first and feel for them, making the romance factor very tolerable and even charming. Bt that's only a small factor. The world the author has written is nicely done as well. Yes, it's thriving with man-eating abominations, but she was able to write a sort of new society that is not only creepy but could actually work out, if it happened in real life. Maybe that's just me, though.
I really like this book and probably one of the best zombie reads I've encountered in a while. I cannot wait to read the next installment.(less)
Very disappointed. I absolutely loved the first two novels but this one killed it. In a bad way.
Don't get me wrong, I adore the author. The writing wa...moreVery disappointed. I absolutely loved the first two novels but this one killed it. In a bad way.
Don't get me wrong, I adore the author. The writing was excellent, as usual, the premise and of course the zombies... But what ruined it for me were the characters. I hated the characters. I liked them at first but in the end they kinda... Became different people??? Like this character was against this kind of crime, but we find out later that she makes the same crime... This person was shown to put honor above everything else, then they go do the same act they were initially against. Like what the hell?? It is as if they were good, then bad, then good, then bad....if this is an attempt to portray the complexity of humanity, then it failed, big time. Hate the characters. They we out of character most of the time. Ugh.(less)
I was honestly very surprised. I had very high expectations of the second installment after reading the first book, but I have to say that it went far...moreI was honestly very surprised. I had very high expectations of the second installment after reading the first book, but I have to say that it went far beyond my expectations. It was a FANTASTIC read!! I had a lot of instances where I felt my heart about to burst from excitement, anger, and happiness for the characters. The writing was even better than the first book. Mister David Forsyth, you have written a masterpiece! The book only left me hungry for more. It was a long read, but I truly wished it was longer. When the two main characters teamed up to defeat the horde of zombies, I felt as if I was with them as well, cheering and whistling with pride.
Sigh! The foreshadowing of future events that may take place in the third book has left me wanting more. I hope the third book is on its way!!(less)
I liked it, it was okay, but I liked his Dead of the Night novel better. This doesn't mean though I'm not going to read the rest of the series. I'm of...moreI liked it, it was okay, but I liked his Dead of the Night novel better. This doesn't mean though I'm not going to read the rest of the series. I'm off to book 2!(less)
I have to agree with the other reviewers. This book was very spectacular and a refreshing take in this genre. It starts out big, continues big, and en...moreI have to agree with the other reviewers. This book was very spectacular and a refreshing take in this genre. It starts out big, continues big, and ends big. Our main characters (Scott and Carl) are very capable men who use their brains and diplomacy skills to continue surviving - Scott in his cruise ship which seems to be too perfect to be real, and Carl in a refinery with epic vehicles and resources. Both are charming characters and I haven't found one that I disliked! In fact, I felt like rooting for all of them throughout the novel, and I am glad that no one important/unforgettable was killed. :-)
I'm glad that this one will be a series. While the storyline is strong, there is still so much room for twists and further developments. I'll be looking out for the rest of the books for sure! Thank you David Forsyth for a wonderful zombie book!(less)
Wow, it was a blast reading this. I finished it in 2 days. I've read a lot of GOOD zombie books (Charlie Higson, Eric Lowther, etc.) and I...moreI LOVE IT!!!
Wow, it was a blast reading this. I finished it in 2 days. I've read a lot of GOOD zombie books (Charlie Higson, Eric Lowther, etc.) and I have to say, Jonathan Maberry is definitely up there with them! This book was just so good. Unlike its other counterparts, this book starts from the beginning... how the virus started, who started it, their motives for creating such a monstrous thing... it's a real good fun.
I love the characters too. I love how the characters aren't the goody shoes presented in most books. We're introduced to Dez Fox, a thirty something year old cop who served some time in Afghanistan. She's apparently hot and pretty and everything you could ever ask for in a woman, but she is mean and she has attitude - and in a bad way. But despite the tough façade, she has internal issues she's struggling with and many instances in the book she was shown to be in the verge of breaking down. She's probably the most humane lead character I've ever read in a zombie novel. She kicks ass, but she got those moments of insecurity. I love her to bits.
I also love the political drama here. Come on, who doesn't love politics, and who doesn't enjoy reading the theme of U.S. government wanting to cover their shit by pretending the issue never happened? Man, oh man, it's full of that in here.
Lots of action, lots of gore that will keep you yearning for more. Lots of characters that you will feel for. A zombie here is a zombie in body, but in mind, they're still human, so it's actually quite complicated as their consciousness is still intact. Nevertheless, I thought it was a good idea, and I enjoyed it very well.
I'm so happy that the ending hints of a sequel. PLEASE WRITE IT SOON!!!(less)
Honestly, I didn't feel like finishing this novel. But I did. I tried. I struggled. It was okay, but I felt there...moreI thought the first book was better.
Honestly, I didn't feel like finishing this novel. But I did. I tried. I struggled. It was okay, but I felt there were a lot more to be desired. First of all, I have issues with the two main characters ALWAYS on the run. Like seriously, they keep on getting rescued, and each time they're rescued, the rescuers die after, and they survive, and always manage to find something/someone else to rescue them. Even *I* would get tired of that, if I were in the main character's shoes. I felt like being dragged here and there and not given the chance to rest and catch my breath. :(
And oh my dear lord, can the main guy please just stop saying that he finds the main girl beautiful??!! Like we get it already - she's hot, she's sexy, she's downright beautiful, but it is ALWAYS mentioned, ALWAYS referenced. Is that just necessary? And there were times such mentions were made while they were on a run. They're running from zombies, soldiers are after them and then boom - "Oh God, she's beautiful."
And I found it truly weird that the two main characters find it so easy to move on. One of their friends they helped escape from the ship got KABOOMed and then after a few running here and there, they flirt with each other like nothing happened?! He'd rather say "She's beautiful (again)" than at least grieve a little? Sure, everybody has different tastes, but this one bit just strikes a bit odd to me.
Overall, it's okay. But not as good as the first book. Hell, even perspectives was better, and that was less than 50 or so pages. ¬_¬(less)
I bought this the other day and man, I finished it in one sitting! This was a really good zombie book for me. It may be as good as 187 - Almost Hell b...moreI bought this the other day and man, I finished it in one sitting! This was a really good zombie book for me. It may be as good as 187 - Almost Hell by Eric Lowther. I enjoyed it so much that the ending blew me away, which is not something that happens very often. I felt sad, but happy at the same time. It wasn't exactly the best ending, but it's the kind of ending that leaves you with a fuzzy feeling, an ending that makes you think and really feel for the characters. I swear that by the of the book, I felt myself feeling a bit tear-eyed.
Story - 4.5 / 5 You're introduced to Major Cordell McDaniels, who in the midst of the world ending and succumbing to the walking dead, finds himself given one of the most important missions of his life and of mankind: escorting Wolf Safire, a research scientist who holds the key to creating a vaccine and even a cure, out of the hells of New York city. But it isn't a walk in the park, as they get trapped in a sky scraper and the only way to get out of there is to seek help from air and water transportation. The question is - will they be able to hold out before the swarm of zombies get to them first?
I like the concept. Reading about the zombie apocalypse from the military point of view is very refreshing, and not something you see very often in this kind of genre. Escorting an important man was a good idea, too, and it was very fun and thrilling to read as they faced obstacles one after another. No doubt that I had moments where my heart was about to burst from excitement or suspense.
One thing I like about my zombies is that they have to be traditional. I've read some books where some authors decided to "experiment" and made them "smart", "strategic", and even "comedians who can sprout poetry" /coughMarkClodicough/ and I don't really like that. But I found Stephen Knight's zombies acceptable, even though they aren't completely traditional. In fact, I thought his zombies made things spicier. At least they don't crack jokes with each other!
Characters - 5/5 I found the characters well-though and nicely developed. Major McDaniels is a man who knows his job and makes sure he completes it, period. But unlike others who's totally nazi about it, he still has a soft side for civilians, which can be noticed from a flashback later in the book of a particular incident in Afghanistan. His other alpha male counterpart is First Sergeant Gartrell, who, like Major McDaniels, knows the implications and importance of the mission they have at hand and makes sure that it gets done pronto. You see that they have some tensions at the very start, but this will be explained later on and justified.
I found myself attached to the characters very quickly. The kind and honest Earl, his little kid Zoe, even the sarcastic Wolf Safire. I loved them all, and when of course some had to go (this is to be expected in any book of this genre), I felt as if a friend of mine departed as well. That is the impact the characters of this book got to me. So the ending totally blew me away! Positively? In a way. Negatively? Kinda, but it's a positively negative kind. Ha ha!
Writing - 5/5 The book is extremely well-written. The action scenes are nice, the settings are well-described without feeling like it's becoming a drag. The transitions are well-thought out, too. And anyway, how could the characters get to me if the writing was bad? The impact left on me already speaks for itself! J'aime ce livre!
I love this book very much! I automatically became a fan of Mr. Stephen Knight. When I found out there was going to be a sequel in the form of a novella, I was ecstatic and bought it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be on my kindle reading Left With the Dead! :)(less)
After seeing that this was only $2.99 on the kindle store, I bought it without hesitation. And I must say it was quite a good read! We're introduced t...moreAfter seeing that this was only $2.99 on the kindle store, I bought it without hesitation. And I must say it was quite a good read! We're introduced to a bunch of survivors who have been trapped in a warehouse for years, malnourished and hopeless. Sarah, the main character, heard a chopper going by one morning and convinced her fellow survivors to abandon their sanctuary and make a run towards the chopper, which may just be their last hope to surviving the already dead world. One problem though - the warehouse is surrounded by thousands of zombies!
This is a very good zombie book, in my opinion. It has enough gore and action to not make it too disgusting, but enough to make your heart pace! Unlike most books of the same genre, the characters were able to make a scientific explanation of the virus that has overwhelmed the world. It does get dragging around that part though. Too much technical terms and explanations that was just too much for me! Ha ha.
You get to care for the characters... a LOT. I really feel for Sarah though. She's more human than any of the main characters in the previous comic books I've seen. She's strong-willed, but there are times that she's scared and feel like giving up, too. She was able to get the group together, but there's no guarantee it's the same for her.
Overall, it's a pretty good read. I look forward to reading the sequel, Remains of the Dead, but when I have enough money to buy it on Amazon! Spent too much on books already this month :-)(less)