Trudi's Reviews > Autumn: The City

Autumn by David Moody
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Jul 07, 12

bookshelves: apocalyptic-types, series, zombies, 2011-reads, survive-this, the-big-letdown, infection, sucky-sequels
Read from May 29 to June 01, 2011

I expect a lot from my zombie fiction – terror, suspense, action, snappy dialogue, characters I can care about – and if it’s a novel really firing on all cylinders, originality. In other words, authors don’t get a free pass to slack off just because they’ve gone the zombie route. It’s true that part of the genre’s enduring appeal comes from its familiar tropes – I read the books (and watch the movies) because the stuff I’m pretty certain will happen is all good, reliable fun. So while the overall story always feels familiar, the devil is in the details. If an author / filmmaker can take what’s so awesome about the genre but add a twist or two that’s totally new and unexpected, well then, ladies and gentlemen, what you have is a champion.

David Moody has come dangerously close to outright failure on all these counts with this second installment of his Autumn series. Words cannot express how supremely disappointed I am in this book but I’m gonna try. First off, this is a “companion” book, not a sequel, because it really doesn’t move the story along at all, but rather re-tells the plot of Book 1, just from the perspective of a different group of survivors. Two characters from Book 1 show up again and briefly add to the action. A review here on Goodreads points out: “Had you not read the 1st book in the series you could still pick this one up and start without being lost.” Yeah you could, because it’s essentially the same goddamn book! The only thing that prevents it from being identical is that the story is moved a smidge forward in the last few pages to set up Book 3. What could have improved things tremendously is if the two books and 600 pages had been edited down to 350 pages and one book. So, strike one.

Strike two: this book is DULL. How the hell can a zombie apocalypse ever be dull? I didn’t think it was possible, but there’s just no fierce tension or heart-pounding action. There are some scenes running from zombies that should get the adrenaline going, but just fall flat. And for this I’m really pissed because I know Moody can write awesome action sequences like nobody’s business (check out Hater), and draw out the suspense until you scream Uncle. This effort just doesn’t cut it. No way no how. I love zombies, and I think Moody is pretty cool, but I refuse to let this one slide, regardless of the book blurbs waxing poetic on its awesomeness and even the gushing reviews here on Goodreads. What the hell people? Have your standards dropped so low, or is that all you expect from zombie fiction these days?

Strike three: I know I mentioned that “different” or original is good, but zombies that don’t bite (and continue to decay) kinda suck ass. The premise sort of intrigued me in Book 1. Moody almost had me convinced that zombies don’t have to rip you up to be frightening – get enough of them and you’re either smothered or crushed. But after reading another 320 pages of this kind of lurching zombie behavior, with no gore, no ripping, no biting, I’m suddenly not so enamored anymore.

So three strikes you’re out, right? ::sigh:: I am going to read on in this series though, because I have to believe it will get better. I’m also curious to see just how far Moody will take the story. So far, he’s only tackled the first weeks of the apocalypse. That’s the easy part to tell. The tough part is what happens next. Will he go there, and what will his post-apocalyptic world look like populated by desiccated reanimated corpses?
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Carol. (last edited Jul 10, 2012 08:21PM) (new)

Carol. I'm kind of giggling at the idea of low standards in zombie fiction.

We need to talk zombies! I just peeked at your shelves and added a couple of your 4 and 5 star zombie ones... what ones are your favorites?

Trudi Carol wrote: "We need to talk zombies! ..."

Carol, sorry about the delay in responding to this! It's only now I'm seeing your comment. First of all, let's agree that zombies rule ;) for my favorites:
Definitely check out The Reapers Are the Angels. Not your traditional zombie novel by far, and the prose is SO GORGEOUS.

I'm also totally fangirling over Jonathan Maberry's Rot & Ruin series. Rhiannon Frater is doing some awesome things with zombies and I'm really looking forward to her futuristic The Last Bastion of the Living.

Ilsa Bick has started a zombie series as well. The first book is called Ashes and I thought it was great. I also really loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Book 2 was weaker, but I thought The Dark and Hollow Places ended the trilogy on a high note.

But you probably already figured this out from looking at my shelves ;)

message 3: by Carol. (new)

Carol. I checked out Rot&Ruin on your suggestion and enjoyed it a great deal. Now on to the second. I'm a little less impressed with Rhiannon Frater--a little stereotypical (though she admits it) and the writing really isn't well done at all, but still addicting. I'll need to check out the others you mentioned, especially Reapers. Love gorgeous prose :)

Trudi Carol wrote: "especially Reapers..."

This puts a lot of pressure on such a little unassuming book, but if I were to recommend just one of my favorites this would be it. I'm really looking forward to re-reading it at some point :)

I agree about Frater. I've only read The First Days so far (which is a trilogy), but I've heard only amazing things about her new "futuristic" zombie novel so I'll definitely be checking that out :)

I'm in love with Tom Imura, so you won't get a sober, dignified response out of me about the Rot & Ruin series :)

message 5: by Rue (new) - rated it 2 stars

Rue Thank you for writing the review that I would have written were I so eloquent.
Couldn't even get all the way through this one because it was so boring.
I expect more from Moody.

Anji I agree the dialogue is painful at times.

Anji Trust you may want to check out Stephen Jones' Zombie Apocalypse series.

Anji Trudi and Carol!!!^^^

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