David King's Reviews > Waiting For Daybreak

Waiting For Daybreak by Amanda McNeil
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Aug 21, 12

Read on July 09, 2012

I had originally assumed that "Waiting for Daybreak" by Amanda McNeil would be just another Zombie apocalypse novel, which seem to be all the rage at the moment. However, there is a little bit more to the novel that this as McNeil has chosen to concentrate the story on a character that had a personality disorder long before the apocalypse occurred. I found this to be quite an original and refreshingly different viewpoint which ensured I was willing to read this ahead of the many other run of the mill zombie novels that are sitting on my bookshelf.

The story itself is broken up into two distinct sections, the first focuses on the day to day life of Freida, a young woman with a troublesome past who is trying to survive a zombie apocalypse alongside her pet cat, Snuggles. This section of the novel almost reads like a diary, which explores some of the actions she has taken to ensure her survival such as the fortification of her apartment. In addition, we get to follow Freida's musings as she recalls the various events that occurred just before the zombie outbreak and over the first few weeks.

The second half of the novel however morphs into a sort of love story between Freida and another uninfected man named Mike that she discovers in the city. However, when it is revealed that Mike has his very own personality issues, the awkward and desperate romance they have undertaken looks certain to end in some form of disaster.

Without doubt the utilisation of a main character with some form of disorder leads to a rather interesting story. Particularly when Mike is thrown into the mix and the novel explores some aspects of what it really means to be normal when the world itself is anything but. In addition, Freida herself is an incredibly complex person and I was impressed by McNeil's ability to develop such a unique character to the point that I could actually relate to her on some level, despite the way she would think. She really does come across as quirky and likeable despite her issues and I particularly appreciated how it becomes clear that the very personality traits that caused her problems in the past that has probably led to her survival now.

The one thing that I was a bit disappointed with was the rather short length. Don't get me wrong, the pacing has been used really well to make sure that the story is entertaining and self contained but the ending felt slightly abrupt to me and I think a few elements could have been expanded upon. Basically, I would have liked to discover more about the world and Freida herself and am now hoping that McNeil will decide to expand on the story via future novels.

Overall, this was an entertaining post apocalyptic zombie novel that also makes the reader think about how the normalcy of life is relative. It isn't always a light and easy novel to read due the characters McNeil has utilised but these characters are what make it unique. I think any fan of post apocalyptic survival horror that is after something a little bit different and thought provoking will enjoy this.
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