Susannah's Reviews > Hollowmen

Hollowmen by Amanda Hocking
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Jul 29, 12

bookshelves: zombies, young-adult-apocalyptic-dystopian, thrillers, pandemic
Read from July 27 to 29, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Ok ... So I am really conflicted about how to review these books. (This review is for Hollowland and Hollowmen both) Note - lots of spoilers ahead!

I'm giving them both 3 stars, primarily for their entertainment value, good plot-lines & interesting enough characters. I really enjoyed wiling away the hours with Remy & Ripley. (Btw, I love that she called her lion Ripley - despite the fact that they would all in reality likely be on the menu for a big cat lol!)

But...

I could not stop asking the question 'For God's sake - WHY??!!??' !! Every other chapter, it seemed like, seemingly intelligent people were doing dumb, unsafe, or out of character things.

My first really big bug was right at the beginning of Hollowmen. Am I really meant to believe that the dr's 'caring' for Remy wouldn't value her life above all others?!? She's the only immune person they have and medically it would be simply ridiculous to let her slowly, unnecessarily die by underfeeding her and performing operations with no sedation or pain relief, when they did have a small stock of those medications on hand! (The shock of those operations alone could have killed her, especially as she got weaker) Even taking into account the fact that most of these so called doctors appeared to be pathologically inhumane and couldn't give two hoots about Remy's personal well being, and had basically no morals in how they treated her - they are still attempting to create a vaccine from her blood, so they would preserve her life for as long as humanly possible.

Other things rapidly annoyed me, like Remy's reaction to what was done to her, and the fact that she allowed the others members of the group to believe she was being unfair in her anger towards Daniels, instead of justified and understandable. In the situation where she couldn't know if she, and more importantly Max, would be safe with one of the doctors who mistreated both her and her brother, a small defenceless boy who had no-one to stand up for him, Remy should definitely have given at least some basic information to the group. (Her not talking about or dealing with what had happened to her also, in my opinion, made it harder for me as a reader to connect and really care about what happened to her - even though there is some truth in it - it would likely take someone a lifetime to deal with and recover from - but both within the context of the dangerous world they lived in where you have to just keep fighting, and the fact that this was really a pretty short novel, the process could have been sped up and we could have been given insight into how it was affecting her, what she was thinking and feeling and struggling with - it could have been just so much more powerful, you know?!?)

Then of course there was Remy's refusal to get help with a wound she must have known was at risk of getting infected. Again I could understand her not wanting to ask Daniels for help, or to deal with the trauma of what had happened to her by admitting she had a bad wound ... and had she only been responsible for herself, those things would be fair enough! But she was looking for and then defending her 8year old brother. What would be the point of her finding him if she was going to die of an infection that could easily have been treated before it became serious??

Speaking of Daniels, I did like, actually, the way that he began to redeem himself. People are too often written in a very black and white way, and the reality just isn't like that for the most part. The majority of us are capable of great kindness and love, but also great evil. Personally, I know that there is nothing in the world that would make me treat children the way Max and Remy were treated in the quarantine ... But under the circumstances, I suppose a basically good man might find himself complicit in such things. Perhaps my utter disgust for it partly comes from having a best friend who was tortured by a group of a abusers as a child, and seeing what it did to her. It doesn't matter that the goal in this story was noble, they should have found a way to make life as a lab rat liveable!! I mean for goodness sake, it doesn't take much to be kind to someone, or to explain what you plan on doing to their body!! Plus, there must have been alcohol in the camp - at least get the poor girl drunk before you cut her open grrrrr!!!!

Ok onto the cast.
How utterly bizarre to, in the first, quite short book, have us get to know and love a cast of characters, almost all of whom just randomly disappear or die in the beginning of the second book. We only just had enough time to really care about them in book one, just to have them snatched away in book two, and thus have to get to know another group of people. I felt like that made it very hard to truly care what happened to any of them, which to me was the biggest problem with the series. I don't know if there is a third book planned, but my suggestion to the author if there is, is to pay really close attention to the characters and their relationships with each other. Go emotionally deeper so that the reader can actually connect to Remy & team! :)

On my last note, I just want to say that I enjoyed the reader of the audio version - she made the experience flow along nicely and she read Remy herself very well. My one frustration is that she wasn't especially good at giving the other characters their own individual voices, consistent and recognisable. It was a shame but that slightly pulled down the overall quality of the production.
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