Category: Literature


Long overdue praise…

Cover of "Down the Road: On the Last Day&...

Cover of Down the Road: On the Last Day

There are multitudinous zombie books on the market.  They fill every shelf, nook, cranny, and niche that exists.  You can bake them, cook them, sew them, crochet them, knit them, take social and business advice from them, wear them, and draw them.  Apparently, there’s even a matching pillowcase and bedspread set for your bed replete with reaching zombie hands.  There is a veritable horde of cutesy zombie books for children.  Its plain to see that zombies can be enjoyed by a variety of different people.

It would seem that even the authors are no exception.  Bowie Ibarra, for one, certainly doesn’t pass up his chance.  In the second of the Down the Road Trilogy, titled “Down the Road: On the Last Day“, he gleefully butchers and terrorizes his way through the book.  I got the distinct impression that he had a hell of a time while writing the book – and that’s not an impression I get very often.  I could imagine him sitting at his computer, laughing hysterically at the antics of his characters.

The story is based on a host of characters trying to fend of zombies, which is essentially the story of most zombie novels.  Ibarra adds an extra element of on-going stress by introducing a few United Nations crazies into the mix.  One in particular, is hell-bent on the subjugation of every person he comes across.  Not exactly fitting company for a town full of people who are just trying to survive.  The resulting clash is one of the greatest endings that I have read to date.

If you get this book I promise you three things.  The first is that you should probably be prepared to cry.  Often.  The first chapter sucked me in, and then had me bawling like a baby.  There is also an unconfirmed rumor that the last fifty pages or so may have had me bawling.  Again, unconfirmed.  The second thing you should know about this book is that you will laugh yourself silly.  Ibarra has a knack for knowing when the subject matter gets too heavy.  A little bit of humor goes a long way to letting the reader know that the people in the book are multi-dimensional.  Yes, it’s the zombie apocalypse, and yes that sucks.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have a few laughs while you’re waiting for your number to be up.  My last promise to you is that you are sure to lose sleep.  Some of the images and scenarios are so disturbing that it was all I could do to lay down and not see them play across the dark of my eyelids.  I’m talking about truly horrific stuff, not just the usual “oh it’s a zombie – watch it eating guts” kind of thing.  Ibarra seems to be able to reach into your subconscious, take the most terrifying aspect of the zombie apocalypse, and drag it screaming into the light where it follows you into your dreams.

“Down the Road: On the Last Day” sees the return of characters Alex and Red, who were friends of the central character of “Down the Road”.  Alex and Red are back in all their conspiracy-theory glory, and having a great time with a host of new characters.  I’m hard pressed to find a favorite character, because each member of the cast is interesting, unique, and important in their own way.  They have very tangible weaknesses and strengths.  What makes them even more special is the fact that they are relatable.  They suffer our same perils.  They have affairs, get into arguments, fall into irrevocable lust, and learn to forgive.  Each character is so real that I couldn’t help but relating them to people I know in my own life.

“Down the Road: On the Last Day” ends just as it should, which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s fair.  If you’re looking for the zombie feel-good book of the year, you should probably look somewhere else.  If on the other hand you’re looking for a fast-paced and entertaining read, then you need this book in your hands right this minute!  I liked it so well that before I had even finished, I went over to amazon.com to pick out the next book, “Down the Road: The Fall of Austin“.  If pass this by, I guarantee you will regret it!

Don’t forget to hop on over to YouTube.com to see the exclusive book trailer for “Down the Road: On the Last Day”.

 

Cozy Mayhem

Suzanne Robb is back – and she’s gathered together three absurd and macabre tales.  Her latest offering, titled “Were-wolves, Apocalypses, and Genetic Mutation, Oh My!” is currently available at amazon.com for a steal of a price!  (Head over there right now and buy it – then come back and keep reading!)

Each tale is progressively more interesting and thought-provoking than the last.  My personal favorite is B.I.T.E.  It’s one of those stories where you never can figure out what’s going to happen next.  It centers around a group of people trying to stop the apocalypse – but they’re not exactly the kind of crew you would originally sign up for the job.  And well, the huge murderous squirrel-nemesis doesn’t hurt either!

The other two stories are also equally interesting, but I’m afraid that if I go into their plots, I’m going to give away all of the hidden details.  It all boils down to this : everyone should read “Were-wolves, Apocalypses, and Genetic Mutation, Oh My!” because it is an all-around fun book to read.  Before you know it, you’ll be at the end of the book searching for a hidden chapter or something to keep you going because you’re feeling withdrawal set in hard and fast.  (Or, like me, you’ll spend ten minutes paging back and forth on your Kindle praying that you really haven’t hit the end of the book so soon.  I wish I could say that I’m a drama queen and that I’m exaggerating.  I really did keep checking just in case.)

Suzanne’s stories are all character-driven.  There are moments when it’s possible to forget that the story is actually a horror story.  It reads like a one-sided conversation.  It’s engrossing and thought-provoking at the same time.  The first of the trio, The Moonlight Killer, features a (for all intents and purposes) mostly milquetoast main character.  He doesn’t really love his girlfriend, but can’t seem to be bothered to give up the free sex by breaking up with her.  It’s interesting to watch his transformation as the story goes on because in many ways it’s believable.  The people we idolize will always be regular people with a few outstanding qualities.  So too, do we see this with our main character.  Despite his heroic qualities, it is still possible to see the real person at the end – at times selfish, and at other times immature.  His flawed humanity ultimately makes him a likeable character.

Beware – if you’re not careful you might just get lost in “Were-wolves, Apocalypses, and Genetic Mutation, Oh My!” because the world Suzanne Robb presents is ultimately very much like our own…

 

It’s hard to believe that so much horror and gut-wrenching sadness could ever originate from the likes of the cherubic-looking gentleman featured in the picture to the right.  He could be your next door neighbor or the teller at a local bank.  Luckily for zombie aficionados, he’s neither.  In fact, he’s none other than the celebrated zombie author, Craig DiLouie.

I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I just got around to reading “The Infection”, which has been on my To Read list for some time now.  Had I known what kind of tale was in store – I’d have picked it up sooo much sooner.  In fact, I’m so excited about this book, you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve written and rewritten this review to try and get it right!

DiLouie’s greatest strength is in his ability to move the story along at a fast yet organic pace.  There isn’t a single spot of unimportant or boring information, and the characters develop on their own without DiLouie playing God and throwing random obstacles at them for the sake of their growth within the story.  Each character seems real from the first time the reader meets them, and they stay that way until the very end.  There’s Kid, who spent his whole life being bullied at school only to find he was tailor-made for the apocalypse.  We have Wendy, the she-cop who’s too beautiful to be taken seriously, but ultimately finds her way to acceptance.  Anne, the enigmatic group leader who never lets her guard down.  There are others in the ragtag group, each as important as the last.

The actual zombie infection is multi-faceted as well.  It starts with an event called The Screaming, which is the sudden and agonizing death of a large percentage of the populace, and eventually moves on to The Children of Infection.  The Children of Infection are horrific abominations that are  driven out of hiding when the cities begin to burn.  They include my personal favorite, the Hoppers.  They are naked monkey-like organisms that end in grasshopper legs.  DiLouie deftly blends modern zombie and apocalyptic fiction with the 50s style monster genre, creating infection vectors that are, quite literally, larger than life.

As if DiLouie weren’t talented enough, he’s also able to elicit a visceral reaction from his readers.  I found myself inadvertently yelling at my Kindle while my favorite character was devoured by one of the Children of Infection.  I hadn’t seen it coming, and I knew it wasn’t a crack shot from the author.  It was, unfortunately, what was to be expected of any zombie novel worth the paper on which it’s printed.  Characters must die, whether they’re the hero or the scumbag.  Everyone alive during Infection is living on borrowed time, and nobody knows it better than the characters.

I was so impressed by “The Infection” that I almost flipped to the first page to read it again.  While I’ve already discussed DiLouie’s writing style, there is one more very important tidbit I’d like to leave my readers with.  DiLouie handles flashbacks and character back story in a unique way.  He titles his chapters after the pertinent character, and makes sure that anything that happened in the past is written in past tense.  That sounds easy enough, but then when the reader is immersed, the story is written in the present.  This causes the reader to feel as though they’ve been swept along into the story with the characters.  It also builds a sense of urgency and fear that moves the story along.  Instead of experiencing the story as a casual observer, the reader is forced to take greater interest because the story is taking place in the here and now.

Thankfully, this book will appeal to readers of all levels of zombie experience, from the die-hard survivalist who is counting the days until the apocalypse, to the closet-zombie reader.  Whatever you do, go and purchase this book RIGHT NOW!  Especially because rumor has it (as in, craigdilouie.com has it) that there will be a sequel entitled The Killing Floor out sometime early this year.  I promise you – this book needs to go straight to the top of your reading list…right now!

(You can view the ultra-creepy book trailer on Youtube.com here!)

 

 

 

 

A New Face, A New Terror…

Uh-oh! He found you!

Prepare for the arival of Suzanne Robb, who brings us a new vision of zombie mayhem with her debut novel, “Z-Boat”.  It doesn’t matter whether your buy the  book in Kindle format or traditional paperback, this is a must-read book.  Especially if you’re tired of the tried-and-true formula that the zombie genre has stuck to for so long.  Robb delivers a fast-paced novel full of government and interpersonal intrigue, a submarine too decrepit for it’s deep sea rescue mission, and a host of strange characters that is sure to delight.

It’s difficult to give a basic summary of such an intricate book, but here goes!  The Betty Loo and her crew have been commissioned to go on a rescue mission deeper than they’ve ever gone before.  Along with the usual captain and crew, a few new people are assigned.  A quick check of the personnel files shows that these people are anything but ordinary – and that all is not what it seems.  As (bad) luck would have it, the second they leave the dock and begin the mission, everything goes awry in the worst way imaginable – from mechanical failures and dueling spies to accidental crew deaths.  The worst is yet to come – the sub they are going to rescue is crewed by…zombies.  Unfortunately they aren’t the shambling Romero variety either.  Robb’s zombies retain a little intelligence, and a nightmarish pack mentality.  Do they make it out alive?  Does the plague reach the surface and the unsuspecting world?  Read Z-Boat and find out!

If you haven’t read any books by Suzanne Robb, now would be the time.  She’s a promising up-and-comer who has already published stories in multiple anthologies.  “Z-Boat” is her first published full-length novel, and there is talk of a sequel.  Her greatest strength as a writer is her ability to weave interesting characters into an even more interesting story line.  She began the book with a Prologue detailing the current state of the world, a first chapter with a not-so-desperate S.O.S. call, and then went straight into the characters and story.  The zombies don’t actually appear in full force until the middle of the book, but by then the reader is so deeply immersed in the political intrigue (and, let’s face it, trying to guess who’s going to make it out alive), they the zombies are an added treat, rather than the main focus.

If you happen to enjoy nitpicking books then I should warn you that there were a few grammatical errors along the way, but nothing worth getting in a tizzy over.  They didn’t impact the ability of the reader to enjoy the story.

On a personal note, I found that once I got through the first few pages, I couldn’t put the book down.  It drove me crazy trying to figure out who was going to die, where the zombies came from, and how the crew thought they were going to make it back to the surface in a busted sub.  And just to warn any prospective readers, I actually cried at the ending.  It was really sad, but really fit the book.  I think I’d have been really aggravated if the book had a different ending.

Now, stop reading this and go buy a copy of the book for yourself!  (And your friend!)

 

The cover of World War Z

Pretty steady reading.

I figured now would be a great time to stop whining, suck it up, and read “World War Z” by Max Brooks.  It’s slated for theaters sometime in December, and I despise watching a movie before reading the book.  I’d stayed away from reading WWZ because, quite frankly, Max Brooks’ zombie visions scare me witless.

Oftentimes while reading WWZ, I tortured myself mentally for passing up the chance to see Brooks live in Buffalo in October.  What the hell was I thinking?!  In any event, that won’t happen again, if I can help it.

Back to the book though.  I read through it slowly, mostly because I wanted to really have time to think about what was going on, whether it could actually happen, and what it was saying about the human race.

In general, the book was pretty steady reading.  It wasn’t overly crazy, nor was it boring.  It kept a decent pace, and was set in many locales.  Brooks did an outstanding job of writing from different perspectives – it was possible to believe he was actually conducting the interviews with different people.  There were locales in Korea, China, Russia, the US, and several other cities.  Brooks’ focus wasn’t really on the plight of the zombies – most likely because that niche has been thoroughly (and thankfully) flooded with material.  He chose to focus on the interactions between the people in different countries, and the impact of racial, religious, and cultural differences.  I tend to agree with him in that humanity’s inability to occupy the sandbox peacefully will get us into trouble.  However, being the diehard cynic I am in that regard, I don’t share his belief that we will overcome the threat.  I see us bombing ourselves into oblivion instead.  (Sorry folks, I’ve never been the sunny kind of person  when it comes to these things.)

One section had me bawling my eyes out though.  There is a series of interviews with a man who ran a K-9 team during the War.  He talks about the struggles of working with your canine partner, and of the tragedies that accompany the line of work.  For a few days, I had horrible dreams of my dog Lily and I being part of those teams.  Only instead of us being victorious, I always wound up seeing her disappear beneath a swarm of gray hands, the last vision always being her looking at me pleadingly.  I had to stop reading the book for awhile.  It still bothers me, even while I’m sitting here writing.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a casual or avid zombie reader, or is interested in history.  Again, read the book before you see the movie!  (While I was looking for a trailer, I got rick-rolled.  Oops.  Well, maybe later when the fake and fan-made trailers are done taking over I will find a decent one to link.)  In any event – stop reading this and go see the movie!

This picture was lovingly and respectfully pilfered from the author's blog. <<http://gotld.blogspot.com/>&gt;

I finished Kim Paffenroth‘s “Dying to LiveLast Rites” a little while ago, but haven’t gotten the opportunity to give it the write-up it so badly deserves.

**Pre-Review Warning: You will cry your eyes out so hard when you finish this book that your chest will hurt.  Actually, I lied.  There are a few sections where you will cry your eyes out.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!**

It was a thought-provoking tear-jerker that left me thinking about the human race, and also introspectively about myself. It made me consider what I myself might be capable of under the right circumstances.  I’d like to think that I would be a good person, but when I think of what I’d do to save the ones I loved, my certainty wavers.  (So don’t sit there smugly assuming you’d be any better either…)

If you’ve read the two previous books in the series, you have already been introduced to the four central characters.  Rachel and Will, two humans who are forced to leave their community because of their treatment of Lucy and Truman, two sentient zombies.  The community they were living in doesn’t believe in executing zombies, but they don’t believe in coexisting in the same house either.  In any event, the last installation of the trilogy finds the four companions on a boat, with Rachel seriously ill.  Will, Truman, and Lucy decide to seek medical help from a town they find.  What happens to each and every one of them will test the boundaries of what most readers think humans are capable of.  You will find yourself sickened, pensive, and deeply heartbroken by the end of this novel, I guarantee it.  And then you’ll feel lost knowing that at this time Paffenroth has not announced any other additions to the series.

Probably the single greatest strength of this work is Paffenroth’s ability to create new and complex characters that work seamlessly with his well-established characters while at the same time never losing sight of the importance of the message. While many messages can be found in the book, I choose to take away the idea that a life built on greed and egotism leads to nothing. Conversely, a life built on sharing, self-sacrifice, loyalty and love may not always give you what you expect, but it will be more fulfilling. The best part? Paffenroth isn’t preachy about it. He sneaks up on you, his you over the head, and runs off into the darkness while you are left with a serious bump on your head and the echos of his laughter.

Not Your Average Joe

Joe Hill at a book signing.

Image via Wikipedia --> Author Joe Hill at a book signing.

I have now written this review three separate times.  I started with an anecdote about how I came to possess 20th Century Ghosts and Heart-Shaped Box, but I think that what I really want to tell you about is the author himself.  To be brief, I kept running into references about Joe Hill and what a master storyteller he was, but had neglected to add anything of his to my collection.  While in Maine, Chris picked me up 20th Century Ghosts, and afterwards a copy of Heart-Shaped Box arrived in my mailbox.

20th Century Ghosts is like no other book I’ve ever read in my entire life.  Reading it can be likened to an out of body experience.  From the very first page I got the strangest sensation.  I kept imagining myself sitting in a dark theater, just Hill and I, only he isn’t there at first.  He miraculously shows up just as the beginning of the movie comes to life on the screen.  He’s slouched down in the chair with a huge box of popcorn which he crunches noisily, eyes wide like saucers.  He is wearing a black knit sweater with a white undershirt and jeans, just a regular patron at a movie theater.  He leans over and tells me how excited he is and how he can’t wait to see what will happen next.  As we continue to watch the movie (living depictions of the stories) I gradually forget he’s with me.  Out of nowhere, he leans forward and says reverently through a mouthful of buttery popcorn, “Can you believe it?  I never saw that coming!”  Then he leans back in his seat and we continue watching, his eyes glued to the screen with a look of ecstasy on his face.  I’m sitting there slack-jawed, unable to tear my eyes away long enough to blink for fear of missing one little exquisite detail.

The entire book gives off this feeling.  The stories are written so naturally that the reader can’t help but feel more like a spectator.  Each story seems to have a life of it’s own, and just when you think you know the ending, it changes into a totally different scenario.  The stories are all wildly inventive, yet somehow plausible.  I think H.P. Lovecraft would have liked Joe Hill’s stories – they are all based in a very real and vivid world, with just enough of the absurd as to make them heavily unsettling.

Joe Hill is more than a writer, he is a master puppeteer.  He knows just which strings to pull to strip away his reader’s defenses.  With a few words he can pierce any reader straight to the heart.  When I first started reading 20th Century Ghosts, I thought I was in for the usual: the searching ravenous dead, or the unsettled dead that won’t leave the living alone.  What I found was far worse.  Ghosts come in every shape and size, and there are none more terrifying than those that inhabit every human’s conscience and soul.  Somehow Joe Hill knows exactly where to find those ghosts and how to bring them to light, often without the reader noticing until the pivotal moment.  Hill can elicit an emotional response over the weirdest and most absurd things, including an inflatable boy named Art, who just wants to live a normal life (“Pop Art”), or an idiot-savant who builds forts out of boxes that tunnel to different dimensions (“Voluntary Committal”), or a boy whose magical cape gives him the power to fly (“The Cape”).

Every story is wonderful and worth reading, and any story that I did not understand I attribute to my being naive.  My favorite story is “Abraham’s Boys”, about the famed vampire-hunter Abraham Van Helsing.  I have always taken it for granted that Van Helsing was a vampire hunter, but Hill explores a darker side.  What if Van Helsing were crazy instead?  How would his children react to his old world ideas and superstitions?  Meanwhile, Hill introduces a question that I still find troubling to this day, How is no proof somehow proof that something exists?  It’s like having a worm in your brain day after day, eating away at you.

Joe Hill is a peerless author.  He keeps a very interesting and informative website which can be found by following this link.  If you aren’t currently reading his stories, you are cheating yourself of an irreplaceable experience.  Personally, I have only read 20th Century Ghosts, but I can assure you that I will be following Joe Hill very closely in the coming years.  His stories and visions are classics in the making.

Brian Keene – part 2!

Cover of "City Of The Dead"

Cover of City Of The Dead --> This is the cover of my book as well 🙂

I finished “City of the Dead” on the car ride to Maine the other day, and I figured I should write about it now.  In another week or two things will get very hectic.  I will hopefully be returning to school to get my master’s, and I will have other things taking up my limited time.  Therefore, while it’s still fresh in my mind, I’m going to write as many reviews as I can remember (I’m fairly behind in my reviews).

“City of the Dead” is the thrilling conclusion to “The Rising“, both of which are written by Brian Keene.  I’m not going to go into detail, since the last book ended so abruptly, and this book starts right away with the story.  What I will say is that we lose some good characters, and we gain a few along the way.  Character growth for those still (un)lucky enough to survive continues at a natural and realistic pace.

This book finds the demon-lord Ob continuing to amass his forces for the war against all life forms and their Creator.  He continues to have dry, morbid, and sarcastic humor.  I’m not going to lie – I really do enjoy his quips.  Some people have criticized Keene for it, but I have to admit, it really does enrich the story.  I wouldn’t figure that a timeless demon-lord would always speak in an older style, especially when you figure that the bodies these demons are possessing are full of our current language and skills.  It stands to reason that they would update their language as well.

This book finds a group of survivors trapped in an impregnable New York City skyscraper.  The skyscraper was designed to withstand any kind of biological, terrorist, or natural attack/disaster that could ever happen.  The designer, Ramsey, has locked himself up inside the skyscraper, and he sends out forces to look for survivors daily.  Unfortunately for everyone else in the tower, he has a messiah complex, which I guess isn’t unusual since his building is named Ramsey Towers.  He fancies him their ultimate savior, and comes to think that they adore him.  Most of the people living in the skyscraper are very diverse, with their own tales of woe and their own characteristics.  It’s fun to guess who will be a main character, and who will become zombie fodder.  Keene writes so convincingly and with such back story that it’s hard to decide who is a main character and who is not.

The climax of the story is truly unforgettable.  The zombies pitch and epic battle, and humanity’s last struggle is no less epic.  The stories of all the characters intertwine, and you find yourself rooting for almost everyone.  Since the situation has become more dire in this book, there are virtually no rape scenes, which makes it an easier book to read.

Again, the book is a work of pulp fiction, so please don’t expect it to be a classic for the ages.  “City of the Dead” is highly entertaining and worth reading, and I suggest it to anyone who wants to read something that isn’t the usual zombie book.  Take nothing for granted, and make sure you have a few hours to spare – once you pick this book up you won’t want to put it down!

Recent paperback cover

Image via Wikipedia --> This is the cover of my book. 🙂

…I figured I’d write a review.  Before leaving for Maine, I decided to start Brian Keene‘s “The Rising“.  It was recommended to me by a patron of the gym where I used to work.  Unfortunately it’s taken me some time to not only find decent copies of the books, but to read them.  The person that recommended them to me said that they weren’t a typical zombie story, and that I should have an open mind.  That was certainly the understatement of the year!

“The Rising” is the story of a man named Jim who sets out to save his son from sentient zombies.  The zombies are just human bodies inhabited by the Siqqusim, a  special type of demon with a vendetta towards God.  Apparently they were upset about being thrown out of Heaven and wanted to make God pay by wiping out all of creation.  At the outset, that seems like a really difficult undertaking.  However, the Siqqusim are led by a stylish leader named Ob, who happens to have two other brothers in the Void who are dying to get out and wreak havoc.  The destruction of the Earth is supposed to happen in three waves: Ob comes along and possesses/wipes out humans and animals, when that is done his brother Ab is free to take over plant and insect life, and after that their third brother (forgive me for forgetting his name) and his demons walk across spreading a killer fire.

It’s alright that I’ve spoiled the demon take-over plot for you, as there is plenty of excitement to be gleaned from the characters themselves.  There’s Jim and Danny – father and son, but also the main driving characters.  Danny is locked in an attic and his father is rushing to save him.  Jim meets Martin the preacher along the way, and Martin serves as his companion and spiritual guide along the way (but in a good sense – not annoying).  Baker is a scientist that was responsible for the scientific experiment that let loose the demons from the Void.  Along the way Baker becomes the guardian of a deaf man named Worm.  Frankie is a hooker trying to kick a heroin habit, and she’s plagued with memories of her still-born child.  There are some rather sick military men that the characters run into, but in keeping with my usually PG-rated reviews, I will leave it at that.  There are many other interesting characters, and nobody seems superfluous.

I enjoyed the book overall, however there were a few things I could have done without.  Keene seems to go out of his way to showcase just how many bad men appear to be left after the initial zombie rising.  There are far too many rape scenes and general abuse scenes.  I understand that it was commonplace in the universe he created, and it certainly gives an added emotional aspect, but I think in some ways it wasn’t necessary.  To be honest, that is my only criticism of the book.  (I read the second book, and it didn’t continue into “City of the Dead”).

On the good side, Keene’s characters are well constructed, and show a natural growth progression.  Each character develops as the series goes on, some in good ways, and others in bad ways.  In other reviews that I have read, the dialog has been criticized as being juvenile and predictable.  I have spent the last few days listening closely to those around me and have come to the conclusion that there isn’t really that much original language.  Most people seem to have communicative patterns, phrases that they repeat or words that they use often.  People who are around each other tend to pick up on that language.  My boyfriend Chris uses “Riight?!” all the time.  When we were first dating, I thought I would go mad if I heard it one more time.  Guess who also says it now?  Keene picked language and phrases that fit the characters.  For instance, there is a scene where the pimps are chasing Frankie through a zombie zoo (literally, all the animals are dead).  Of course the pimps aren’t going to be yelling, “Wherefore art thou, o strumpet?”  They’re going to be using regular old language from our current century, and befitting their status as pimps.

“The Rising” was very much in the pulp style.  Using the definition at TheVintage Libarary, it is “entertainment for the masses”.  That’s right people – it’s not meant to be used in a college class.  The average reader is supposed to be able to pick up the novel and enjoy it – and that’s just what I did.  If you’re looking for an deep and meaningful look at human nature in a time of stress, pass this book on.  However, if you’re looking for a book that’s pure zombie-bashing fun, pick up Brian Keene’s “The Rising” today!

P.S.  At the end of this book, I wound up yelling, “What?!  You can’t end a book like that!  That’s not fair!” (even though I had the sequel on the table next to me).  Just be warned.  It’s one of the most gut-wrenching endings I’ve read so far.  It’s also the reason why I wait for multiple books to come out in a series before I read them.

Another Moody series…

Autumn leaves

Image by hichako via Flickr

Almost immediately on the heels of reading “Hater” I started the other series I own by David Moody, “Autumn”.  I had read about it in the back of one of my other books and had been anticipating it for some time.  I was anxious about reading it because I wasn’t a fan of “Hater”.

At first, “Autumn” really delivered.  At first.  There was gore, screaming, people dropping dead for no apparent reason.  There was absolutely no logic to the survival of the characters – and I loved it.  Then something else happened.  Moody tends to get his characters together and spend time building them up, which is good except that nothing happens while the characters are chatting.  The zombie bodies stayed prone while the characters squabbled, when the zombies rose they didn’t do much (not unlike the living characters), and finally the violence started.  My biggest complaint was the inconsistent pace.  There were sections of the book when my heart was pounding, and then there were sections I couldn’t stay awake.

I will say the David Moody has a great ability to create realistic characters who show organic growth.  By organic I mean that when Moody writes about his characters, it’s almost as if they’ve come alive and taken over their own story.  They do things that seem natural under the circumstances based on their personality, but they aren’t stereotypes or caricatures either.  That alone saves the books from being terrible.

I bought the second book, “Autumn: The City” and now while checking some information on amazon.com I realized that the third book “Autumn: Purification” is now out as well.  Blast!  Looks like I’m officially two books behind.  Anyway, as always, I’m advocating that all three books are read.  I don’t believe in judging a series solely on one book.  In other words, you can look for my further reviews when I get around to it – after I’m finished with the two I’m currently reading.  In the meantime – grab the book, read it, and let’s chat!