Kate Lansky's Reviews > The Rising

The Rising by Brian Keene
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's review
Oct 06, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: the-goggles-they-do-nothing
Read in May, 2010

I will begin by saying that it probably isn't a good sign when the author explains what has caused this particular zombie outbreak and you start laughing. At least, not in a horror book that's meant to be serious. A few other things here and there also made me laugh, or sometimes tilt my head in doubt. Scenes that were (I think) meant to be both heart-wrenching and horrific were neither, because of this.

One of my biggest problems here was with the actual concept of the zombie put forth by Keene. First, he gives them a frightening intelligence, then describes them as acting like over-the-top teenagers with a penchant for evil. For one, the zombies are capable of speech and conversation - even a zombie fish. What the zombies are, I admit, is more interesting - and something I won't spoil here. It's definitely not a take I've seen before. It did, however, start getting old pretty quickly after the reveal. This is probably in part because the characters themselves are pretty over the top - complete caricatures created out of stereotypes. On top of that, if they're going to do something, say something, or think something, they will do it with gusto - and tell you about it five times over.

There are other problems with Keene's writing. His description is sometimes so over the top that I can't easily get past it. The believability and possibility of some sections doesn't help much either, as well as Keene's lack of consistency. Sometimes zombies go out of their way to leave their victims relatively whole, sometimes they rip them to shreds.

In the end, I only got about 40 pages in before I was no longer able to resist the urge to skim, and about 65 pages before I was just flat out bored and my skimming became a bit more aggressive. Between misspellings, incorrect word usage (shined vs. shone, lie vs. lay, etc.) I just couldn't give this read my all. And while I technically did finish it, I didn't feel any sense of satisfaction upon doing so. This may be because the author didn't actually WRITE an ending - maybe he couldn't decide how he wanted to end things? I don't know. But it wasn't even a cliffhanger. It was as though someone had ripped the last 30 pages or so out of the book.

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