( #Zombies, #KaganMcLeod )
Image Credit: Kagan McLeod/Top Shelf
Top Shelf comics published 250 pages of Kagan McCloud’s Infinite Kung-Fu. Which is basically Karate vs. Zombies.
Check it out: Infinite Kung-Fu
( #MiraGrant, #Deadline )
Image Credit: Jayme Rose
Last year I reviewed the book “Feed” by Mira Grant. The story is set 30 years in the future and zombies are an every day part of life (although still deadly), the main protagonists are a brother and sister duo who are bloggers that get involved in a conspiracy way over their heads (think adult-ish Scooby-Doo without the dog and with real monsters instead of dudes in masks). I liked the book although it had flaws and was glad to see the newest chapter of the trilogy, “Deadline” was released this week… until I actually read it.
Before I start, take note of two things:
1. There are going to massive spoilers in this review, so DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW if you don’t want to know what happens.
2. Generally, I have lost my taste for writing negative reviews. People who go through the effort to produce creative work and build a fan base should be admired. With that said, I feel like this book was a money grab and ties into my rants about every freaking book being a trilogy when there is not enough meat to the story, I am going to touch on that in this review.
Again – massive spoilers to follow.
Grant impressed me in the last book: her take on the zombie virus was interesting because she took an extremely scientific view of how the zombies propagated and that shaped the overall tone and setting of the book. She also impressed the hell out of me by having the guts to kill of her main character (Georgia Mason). Grant lost my respect in the first chapter of Deadline by having the other lead (Shaun Mason) immediately talking to his dead sister. This persists the entire book. Grant spends the entire book explaining how odd it is for Shaun to talk to his dead sister in his head, after two chapters I was yelling at the book saying “we get it, he talks to his dead sister, people think it is odd but accept it – ENOUGH!”
The plot of the second book involves Shaun trying to identify people in the government who were involved in his sister’s murder and the plot holes start appearing quickly. Instead of being proactive, Grant has a minor character from the first book (an junior scientist named Kelly from the Center for Disease Control) appear at their doorstep bringing all kinds of trouble. Kelly’s appearance in the 2nd chapter established that cloning technology exists in Grant’s world. I immediately put the book down and said “they are going to clone George, this is a total cop out”. Shortly after Kelly appears, the characters are attacked and it is also established that Shaun had a “black box” full of writings, videos, and personal notes from George – essentially all of her memories. MacGuffin!!!
For the entire book, the characters run around to different CDC offices saying the same exact thing over and over again: there could be potential cures to the zombie virus but the CDC is suppressing research. Grant establishes the CDC as the bad guys early and the rest of the book forces a series of ridiculous plot twists (why would the Government kill millions of people when the last outbreak almost wiped humans off the Earth – no logic!) By the end of the story, the CDC manages to introduce the virus to insects that essentially causes all hell to break loose (because it can spread so easily). The last few pages reveal the George clone and the book ends.
Deadline could have been a fifth of the size and integrated into the other two books, but instead (I am guessing) the publishers pushed Grant to add a lot of filling and pump out an extra book. It was a bad decision because the quality of the second book was not near the first and it felt like a massive holding pattern. I don’t know if I will pick up the third book, but I am honestly hoping Grant redeems herself on the third and final outing for these characters.
( #Zombies, #Christmas )
My wife spotted this useful video last night….
( #Zombies, #Feed, #RiseAgain )
Image Credit: Reddit
Sad that Walking Dead is over? I got something that can hold you over. Long time readers of this blog will know I love me my zombies. Over the year, I read at least four zombie books (that I can remember), so I thought I would do some quick reviews in case you had an itch to read prose about shambling corpses.
This novel and its sequel (Beyond Exile) were written by an active solider serving in Iraq (I know that the first one was basically written overseas). This gives a unique perspective to the zombie survival story – the main character knows how to survive, sees the issue coming and prepares. Another interesting element is that the book is written in a first-person journal format which has hand-written notes, typos, and drawings. While the character is prepared, the need for supplies and the growing numbers surrounding his house cause him to work out an escape plan.
Throughout both books the protagonist (who isn’t named) finds survivors (both civilian and military) and becomes the leader of the typical rag-tag group. The book does an excellent job depicting action and laying out strategy. One of the criticisms I have of Bourne is that he writes the main character with “Superman Syndrome” – he puts him in crazy situations and then pulls the save out of his ass every time (think Bruce Willis in Die Hard). The technique is fine once or twice, but over two books it spreads thin.
There is a third book planned for the series and it looks to be leading to some hardcore military operations which I am thinking is going to be a turn off for me. But I will stick with the series because I want to see how Bourne ends his story.
Rise Again by Ben Tripp
Rise Again follows the typical zombie format with a few subtle changes. The initial infection is airborne causing most people to lose their minds and run until they fall over dead (obviously some people don’t get infected). As a small town piles up with dead bodies, they start to reanimate. The main character, Dani, is a female war vet and also the sheriff of a small town dealing with the dead. The character is flawed and not immediately like-able.
This throws the pacing of the book off the first few chapters until the reader starts to get into Dani’s head and learns to sympathize with her. The driving point in this book is that the character is trying to survive the zombies and collapse of society while trying to find her sister. Unlike Bourne’s book, Dani’s action has personal consequences which adds to the tension.
While the book starts off slow, it has one of the better endings of zombie fiction I have read lately.
Feed by Mira Grant
This zombie book is set 30 years into the future. The dead rise due to a combination of two vaccines and the population of the world has learned to live around the problem. The two main characters of the book were born after the initial outbreak and have never known a world without the zombie threat. They grow up to be fringe bloggers doing dangerous things to get more traffic to their news network (it is more complicated than that but I don’t want to give away too much back story).
Author Mira Grant seems to have a background in virology and thankfully spends time setting up the rules of her zombie universe. She treats the zombies less like rotting meat puppets and more like walking viruses. The zombies have a purpose: to continue to spread the virus and that plays out in a few different scenarios in the book.
The zombies are not the only major plot point in the book, they are sort of a perpetual threat in the background, but there is another mystery driving the plot of the book (which seems to be setting up sequels). While this split focus was a distraction in some ways, it also made the book an easier read. The characters are not as one dimensional as most zombie fiction because survival is not the only driving plot point.
I just finished the book last night and I liked it – I thought the ending was a bit of a clusterfuck considering Grant is setting up sequels and it is easy to pick out the big villians, but overall Feed was a well developed zombie book with excellent universe building. Because of that I am interested in the 2nd book (looks to be called “Blackout”).