Michelle's Reviews > The Weepers: The Other Life

The Weepers by Susanne Winnacker
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's review
Apr 02, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: dystopia, netgalley, romance, young-adult, post-apocalyptic, zombie, horror
Read in February, 2012

Actual Rating maybe more like 2.5?

The Weepers: The Other Life engendered really mixed responses in me - some of them even conflicting - which is making it hard to process exactly what I think about it. It is not very often that a book can simultaneously remind me of The Diary of a Young Girl and Resident Evil! And therein lies, I believe, the problem: it almost feels like there is more than one book here. It's as if Winnacker had more than one direction she wanted to go with the book and, in failing to choose a direction, pulled it to pieces. That is not to say that there weren't some really great bits, so let's start with those.

I think Winnacker did an excellent job introducing Sherry and her family to the readers. She communicates their frayed psychological and emotional states very well in the tightly wound, claustrophobic interactions between people who clearly have been forced too close together for too long. As a reader I felt the urgency to get out quite acutely; but was equally fearful of what they would find when they left. I also liked her use of flashbacks. They at first felt completely arbitrary. However, as the story progressed these emotionally charged snapshots coalesced into clear images that displayed just how starkly the characters had changed. The adults, but especially Sherry's Grandmother, were empty shells of what they once were, resigned to their new reality. The Weepers, too, were actually quite chilling. I really liked Winnacker's take on Zombies; I had some heart-thumping moments where I was truly frightened for the characters and was genuinely intrigued by the differentiation between types of Weepers. (I could see the whys of this getting much more interesting in future books.)

But this is where Resident Evil kicks in: the plot felt entirely too safe. NOTHING that came about really surprised me. (view spoiler) I almost feel silly for hiding that, because every single reveal that should have been climatic was already right there in RE.

I was also disappointed in the romance between Sherry and Joshua. It felt lackluster at best; and two such otherwise well crafted characters deserved better. This good set-up with poor follow-through is a problem throughout the book - especially with the world building. Why didn't George and Izzy's family come directly to Sherry's house when they decided to leave their bunker? I'm sorry, but best friends/neighbors who've been planning survivalist shelters together for years pre-disaster, and talking via radio for the last couple of years post-disaster, have absolutely got a backup plan to get to each other. (view spoiler)

At times Winnacker had a no-holds-barred approach to her novel - the hint of rape and brutality in the public shelters, the bleakness of the characters' futures, her (seeming) willingness to sacrifice people of great importance to her main characters - but then she would backtrack or fail to follow through with the threat. (view spoiler) A really good book is buried inside The Weepers underneath the weak romance and contrived hope; a book that I wish I had read. There were the seeds of something dark and gritty and meaningful, but they were never allowed to flourish. Instead it was cut off before coming to fruition. (In fact, the ending is so abrupt and incongruous with the rest of the story that some reviewers thought they hadn't been given the complete novel.) I wish they were right and there were another hundred pages, because then I might have gotten the depth that Winnacker promised but failed to deliver. She absolutely has promise; maybe I'll find what I'm looking for in the next books.
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message 1: by Rhi (new) - rated it 2 stars

Rhi So much kinder than my review!

Couldn't agree more with how well she portrayed the claustrophobia of the bunker. I think my trouble was, she portrayed it so well I literally didn't want to be in there any more. I knew this was a 'zombie' book, so the claustrophobia combined with the expectation of what was going to happen just created impatience in me!

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