A~lotus's Reviews > Pavlov's Dogs

Pavlov's Dogs by D.L. Snell
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Apr 30, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: first-reads
Recommended to A~lotus by: No one
Recommended for: Mature readers
Read from May 22 to 24, 2012 — I own a copy

** spoiler alert ** Pavlov's Dogs by D. L. Snell and Thom Brannan is a fast-paced novel filled with werewolves (known as the Dogs in the book), zombies, and characters who are thirsty for power and control. While this book is definitely a page-turner, it is a book that is meant to be read for entertainment rather than for literary purposes. I felt like this novel was a collection of loose vignettes that are in some way related to one another (think of soap opera vignettes or prime-time TV story lines that somehow eventually merge together at the end). Character development was not a strong suit in this book as there were too many characters to keep track of. There wasn't really a prominent character that was memorable, in my opinion. However, the plot of the book somewhat makes up for it. The authors spent a lot of time and pages dedicated to bloody action sequences such as when the Dogs fight one another or when they transform from their human forms. The authors' writing style was concise with a good degree of humor. (In general, I would rate this book as 3.6 out of 5 stars.)

Plot One
Readers learn that Dr. Crispin is a brilliant scientist who created the Dogs on a remote island--genetically engineered beasts that seem to be larger than typical werewolves found in supernatural fiction. To work on the good side of the government, Crispin wants to send the Dogs to the mainland to rescue survivors from a zombie Apocalypse, but is challenged by a recent arrival, the neuroscientist, Dr. Donovan, who thinks that it is unethical to do so as the Dogs have not been tested for exposure to zombies yet. However, things go awry as Crispin has suspicions of the young, ambitious Donovan, who does eventually thwarts Crispin's power as the director and finally uses the Dogs as island guards to protect them from zombies.

Plot Two
Ken Bishop and his coworker/best friend, Jorge, find themselves not only stuck in traffic but also in for the real horror: the entire city in chaos and everyone becomes the living dead. Their goals are to run, kill, and hide from as many zombies as possible; not to become a zombie; and to save as many survivors as possible from becoming zombies themselves. Definitely survival of the fittest as we learn that Bishop, Jorge, and other survivors team up and live for a month or so in hiding while scavenging for resources along the way.

Plot Three
Unaware to the staff on the remote island, the Dogs' hierarchy of power and rank is dangerously unstable. The most rebellious becomes the deadliest and craziest, Kaiser, as he wants to climb the hierarchy to become the Alpha Dog himself. The reader can see many similarities between Kaiser and Donovan as well as the Alpha Dog and Crispin. The former pair wants power and control while the latter pair desires structure and stability. However, both pairs demand respect in different ways.

Plot Four
The merging of all three plots becomes a dystopian world that reminds me of William Golding's Lord of the Flies. The thirst for power, control, and rules becomes mistrust, war, and canine groupthink. Where should the survivors go to live safely from the zombie-infested world? Not all the Dogs can be trusted, Bishop thinks to himself. The readers find that the island itself isn't the best place either as Kaiser viciously controls the human staff by having them spar against each other to the death and holding some of them as prisoners. When Alpha (Dog), Bishop, and his mainland crew arrive on the island, battles ensue and the zombie virus has evolved to something else. Somehow, it is then that the readers can finally root for Bishop to rescue everyone from destroying themselves entirely (Dog vs. Dog, man vs. Dog, zombie vs. man, Dog vs. zombie, etc.).

Overall, this novel is an enjoyable read if the reader is not in it for a mindful/mental workout. Perhaps the vignette feel of the book is due to the fact that this novel is co-authored, and so the flow was sometimes not as smooth from chapter to chapter. However, I do have to give props to the authors for coming up with a great title based on the famous Ivan Pavlov and his experiments in classical conditioning with dogs. After all, at least we know what happens when mad scientists and their experiments go awry in this novel!

Notes: This book was a Goodreads giveaway.
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05/22/2012 page 55
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