Amy's Reviews > Battle of the Network Zombies

Battle of the Network Zombies by Mark Henry
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May 04, 10

bookshelves: zombie, fantasy, urban, paranormal, series
Read in April, 2010

The plot is fairly original, even in the paranormal subgenres that have emerged in recent years, but there are several issues I have with the text, the major one being that, though it's supposed to have been written first-person from the point of view of a callous, jaded, money-hungry, celebrity-hounding ad executive (Amanda Feral), it reads like it was written by an adolescent boy with a preoccupation with aberrant sexual habits and bodily functions (as so many adolescent boys are):

1. It's very, very gory, and not necessarily with any real purpose. Zombies may have to eat, but you don't have to describe every slurp.
2. References lots of kink in rather graphic ways. I did not enjoy that. Much of the kink (much of the entire text, in fact) is just plain gross.
3. Misused/misspelled words: "since" for "sense"; "effect" for "affect." I CRINGE.


There are other serious issues as well:

1. Lots of unexplained jargon. Sometimes you can get it contextually, but sometimes not. There isn't even an explanation about being a zombie - how she got that way, what it's like, etc. Eventually you kinda pick it up in bits and pieces, but it requires a bit of thoughtful follow-through and this really is not the book for that.

2. Several characters are introduced without much explanation for who they are in Amanda's life. Eventually you might pick this up, but you're left wondering for quite a while. For example, her mother appears periodically in the story and always in hateful, derogatory terms. There is no hint of a history for the relationship and you have no idea why she hates her mother so very, very much.

3. Disjointed sentences and extremely poor editing. Several syntactical and grammatical errors that even a novice proofreader should have eliminated. The most egregious ones make my skin itch, but I've been able to just grit my teeth and soldier on.

4. Footnotes. EVERYWHERE. Apparently Mark Henry fell in love with the footnoterphone from The Eyre Affair and they are now carrying on a torrid and blissful romance in this book. And as lovers do, they completely ignore the fact that no one else wants to be party to their public displays of affection. He uses footnotes to communicate as the protagonist with the audience in asides which would be much better handled as parenthetical references right in the text. A couple of times it's cute, but most of the time it's irritating because it drags you out of the story and into Amanda's mental digression. Then you have to find your place again and try to jump back into the story, remembering what you were reading before the rude interruption. The other bad point is that most of these little trickles of semi-consciousness are perfectly inane and do not add anything to the story whatsoever, except to emphasize Amanda's highly acerbic nature.

Because of its original premise, and the unique creatures in the book, it has the potential of being an excellent read, but it requires heavy editing. I would be wary of anything else coming from Kensington Publishers. I hope this is not a sample of their best editing.
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