Patrick D'Orazio's Reviews > Dead Tide

Dead Tide by Stephen A. North
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Nov 05, 2010

really liked it
Read in June, 2009

Dead Tide takes place in the Tampa Bay area on the first few days of the Zombie Apocalypse. We are introduced to numerous characters going through their daily lives when the world starts to crumble around everyone as the dead come back to life.
This is not a straight line story in that we are guided along a single path but are taken down a meandering one with a multitude of characters coping with the undead surrounding them on all sides. The author points out on the back cover that the area these folks are living in is surrounded by water pretty much on every side and not a lot of manueverability. So they are stuck trying to simply get from point a to point b (and if they are lucky, to point c) before they get attacked by either the undead or the living who have discovered they are essentially living in a lawless environment now where only the strongest will survive. The rich are trying to flee to a cruise ship docked nearby while the police have long since lost control and (some) are still trying to save who they can. Along side them is the military who are trying to contain things in the most brutal of fashions while the every day folks are trying to figure out where they can hide or duck and cover.

I really enjoyed this story. I know it becomes a trite definition of enjoyment, but I really could not put it down. I got it the day before yesterday and plowed through it within a few hours. The action was at a fast clip and the characters were interesting and kept me wondering what was going to happen to them. Yep, it is only the first book in what I would guess is a trilogy (or duology at the minimum) so I was not surprised when it cut off as it did. Most of the characters in the story are on their own in this book and near the end it becomes clear that the survivors will attempt to join together, which will create an entirely new dynamic with the diversity of personalities the author has created here.

It is well worth your time if you are a zombie fan, to pick this book up. I have read over the criticisms in previous reviews posted here and while I can understand them and respect those that are well thought out I did not personally feel it was a problem that each chapter was laid out to give us a brief bit of a particular character's story and then leaves that character to return to the multitude of other characters the author was managing. I was able to keep up with it because overall plot points are revealed through the individual stories and slowly but surely the entire story comes together as one unified tale.

My own criticism are minor but I always try to be fair in my reviews, stating what I liked and did not like. There were a few elements that did not resonate with me completely. Just my personal take on things but I felt like while most of the characters were pitch perfect some of their actions or reactions were perhaps a little misplaced. An example is when Kathy, who has been rescued by Mills, the fireman, and has cozied up to him, seems to become instantly jealous of Trish, another person Mills has rescued. Her reaction, to me, seemed a bit over the top when my guess is that she would have been more happy to see another survivor since everyone else around them is either dead or dying. Is this a major criticism? No, certainly not, and her reaction is within the realm of possibilities, but it did seem like a big shock to me. Another minor criticism I had was in instances where three characters get bit or mysteriously injured (but we are not really sure if they are actually bit because of the circumstances) but after it is mentioned in the story nothing else comes of it...we are left to ponder if in fact they are infected or just injured. I realize this may be something that the sequel provides us with some more details on it but we are left in the dark in this book. In a way, it becomes another lure for me to see what becomes of each of them in the second book so in that respect, this criticism fades if they provide a real sucker punch of surprise in the sequel.

Overall, this is a really strong zombie novel that the author did a great job coordinating. I say coordinating because managing as many characters as he does here (and does very well) takes a great deal of skill. How he starts to bring them all together at the end is very intriguing. There is no doubt that I will be looking forward to the follow up book by the author to see how everyone comes together and continues to desperately survive in the face of overwhelming odds. Great stuff.
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