Posts Tagged ‘zombies’

The most common complaint I’ve heard about this book is people going into it expecting a little girl with some kind of superpowers. To be fair, the description is a little vague:

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Don’t think superpowers. Minor spoiler in brackets: (zombies).

It’s not that big a spoiler. The author lays on the hints thick pretty early. I twigged from the description (there is a hint in there if you look).

My favorite part of this book has to be the science. Many people have tried sciencing this condition before, but this author comes at it from an angle I haven’t seen before. Fungus. It was very interesting. Also very disturbing since the pov we get most of the science information from is a very nasty lady. Very very nasty. Do not like at all.

Our other povs are Melanie herself, her teacher Miss Justineau, a soldier Sergeant Parks who at first I hated, then he grew on me, and a younger soldier. I kind of wonder whether it would’ve been better with fewer povs. It worked as it is, but the structure seemed a bit odd. At first we have Melanie’s pov, and then a little from evil science lady, and then it’s like all the other povs just dropped in together. If they’d been spaced out better it would’ve seemed a bit less clunky.

Aside from sudden Pov overload, the story flowed well. Nice pacing which made for a thrilling read. Definitely a ‘must turn page to find out what happens next’ kind of book.

No sooner do we start to know our way around Melanie’s small world, than everything explodes. We find ourselves travelling across the desolate Britain, avoiding wild humans ‘Junkers’ and the infected ‘Hungries’ who earn their name.

The characters develop well. Melanie grows up fast in this new world. Her teacher finds her backbone and learns to stand up for what she believes. Other characters I started off hating, and ending up loving. Not evil science lady though. I hated her until the end, but by the end I understood why she believed so strongly in what she was doing. I even felt the teeny tinniest bit sorry for her.

The author remembers well that every villain is the hero in their own story. I rarely see that crafted so well into the characters. Here we have only heroes, each with their own agendas. Some of those agendas cross and make conflict. Others start off crossed and line up through the course of the story.

There’s this interesting theme of morality running through the book. Which course is the right one to take? What sacrifice is worth the goal you have in mind? It results in an ending that some people were mad about. And sure, it wasn’t the ending you might expect, but I think it fit the book well.

Good plot, great characters (with awesome development and lots of work put into motivations), edge of your seat pacing, fascinating world, good writing. Four stars. It would’ve been five, but there’s something about that pov onslaught at the beginning that unsettled me. Good book overall.

One warning. While this is a good book, it’s not a happy one. So don’t expect sunshine and rainbows.

For more reviews about this book go to: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17235026-the-girl-with-all-the-gifts

 

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This is a short story in the Forest of Hands and Teeth series. It takes place years before the first book with a young Tabitha who seems very much like Mary. For my review of the first book go to: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/book-review-we…-teeth-5-stars/

She often walks through the fences much like Mary dreamed of doing. She dreams of what might be out there, and then one day she meets him. He’s a boy from another village around her age. They arrange to meet and talk about their separate lives and dreams. They fall in love and decide to run away together.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? It sounds very much like Mary in Forest of Hands and Teeth.

So, what turned this dreaming young girl into the woman who tries so hard to stop Mary following her dreams? Well, I can’t give it all away. You’ll have to read to find out.

Suffice to say it was very sad. These books hold as much sadness and despair as they do humans tenacity and will to survive. There’s plenty of will to survive in this book, just not the same kind of optimistic tenacity the novels hold. The conclusion made my heart twist. It’s the kind of ending where you really wish that didn’t happen, but it fits so well that you have to accept it. This is not a happy book as Tabitha did not have a happy past.

It does make an interesting point about people’s will to survive. I feel like all the characters in the novels went through their journeys to discover that surviving is important, but it’s so important because of the people you’ll spend time with in the future, and the things you’ll do, and the dreams you’ll have and chase.

Tabitha doesn’t come to the same conclusion. That’s why she seemed so bitter. She came to the conclusion that survival of the many means sacrificing everything, including dreams, people you could meet and things you could experience if you chased those dreams.

Sad, but it gives a lot of food for thought. If you liked the Forest of Hands and Teeth series, then I recommend reading this short story. It adds some interesting depth to the first novel.

For more reviews on this book go to: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11011944-hare-moon

This is the third book in the series. For my review of the first book go to: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/book-review-we…-teeth-5-stars/

 

Unlike the huge gap between the first and second books, the third takes place almost immediately after the second. You can more or less understand the second book without reading the first, but if you don’t read the second before this one, you’re going to get confused.

Like the other books we get a new pov character. This one is Annah, Gabry’s sister. Now Mary from the first book was a dreamer. Gabry was a scared kid. Annah is scarred inside and out. She doesn’t believe in dreams. She doesn’t have the luxury of showing fear or any kind of weakness. She lives in a tough world, and to survive she has to be just as tough.

I do like this variety of pov characters. It’s interesting to be able to see this world through different eyes.

The plot was interesting. There’s plenty of tension going on. The writing is pretty, and the world is both beautiful and terrifying. And best of all: no love triangles! Well, there’s a bit of self-pitying and whining from Annah and Catcher, our newest pair. That got a little annoying. Other than that this book was awesome. I think it might be my favourite of the series.

The other books are pretty dark, but this one hit new levels of gloom and despair. That was Ok though, because our characters didn’t give up. They kept trying.

That’s the message I’ve taken away from these books. The world they’re set in is so absent of hope, but they don’t give up. They find their own hope. It could be a dream to see the ocean one day, or helping a loved one, or finding your friends again. Whatever drives them, once they find it, that’s enough to keep them going.

There’s a beautiful section near the end of this book. Annah is tired and injured. There are zombies shambling behind her, and if she stops they’ll get her. She’s gone through so much already, and even if she keeps ahead of them she’s no idea if she’ll be able to get out of the situation she’s in.

Her courage is not shown through an epic fight, nor a moment of brilliant inspiration. It’s putting one foot in front of the other for hours. There’s only a small chance she’ll make it, but she keeps going because of that innate desire to live. That single-minded determination to survive.

I think that section sums up what I loved most about all the books. Our greatest accomplishments often aren’t sudden moments of triumph or epic showdowns. They’re the drive to keep going, no matter how tired you are, and how much you want to stop. No matter how dark your world gets there is always something to hold onto, and some reason to take that next step.

Love triangles aside, I really enjoyed these books. And if you liked the last two books, you should check this one out.

For more reviews on this book go to: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8535273-the-dark-and-hollow-places

Here’s a link to my review for the first book in this series: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/book-review-we…-teeth-5-stars/

Years have passed and we have a new pov character who this book is about, Mary’s daughter. So don’t come into this book all amped up from Forest of Hands and Teeth, expecting to see more of Mary’s adventures. Though we do hear about a few of them.

I knew going into it that this was about a new character with a whole new story, but it still felt like there was this huge gap. I wanted to know what happened to the others from the first book. There was so much going on and it just ended. Gah.

As some small consolation we do get to find out some of what Mary has been up to these past years. I guess it’s just something to add to the heartbreak of the first book. Mary didn’t get a happy ending. She found the place she dreamed about, but she lost her family. She couldn’t have both.

Though I still don’t understand why she couldn’t find them. She knew those fences better than anyone. So how could they find their way around in there and she couldn’t?

Well. Moving on. Once I (mostly) got over the broken pieces from the last book staying broken, I started to enjoy this one. There’s a lot to like. The parallells between the stories is pretty cool. The first book is about a bold girl in a timid community. She knows what she wants, and when she gets the chance she goes to get it.

The second book is about a timid girl in a relatively bold community. She’s the last one behind the kids when they sneak out. She doesn’t know what she wants. It takes her life crashing down around her to force her to get out of her comfort zone and find out.

Here’s the blurb:

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

We get to find out a bit more about the world of Forest of Hands and Teeth – outside of the actual forest. There are people who worship the dead and do really creepy rituals that give me the heebie jeebies just thinking about them. I don’t think I’d want to join their group.

There’s also a creepy army type group that spend a large proportion of this book chasing around our main characters which consist of: timid main pov girl, her crush, his sister who happens to be her best friend, and mysterious guy who doesn’t talk a lot but stares a whole heck of a lot. He starts off creepy as well, but grows on her and the reader as the book goes on.

So, a whole lot of creepy people in one book. Well, it is a zombie book I guess.

The writing itself is pretty and smooth. The characters are interesting, the plot action packed, and the world building is beyond interesting. The pure scale of the dead is horrifying, but it does make sense. If most of the world died and turned into zombies – the type of zombies that could go about their shambling way for decades – then you could have millions of dead with only a very small percentage of living people left.

Not a good world to take a stroll anywhere. Though the fenced forest paths from the first book seem safer than most and make another big appearance this book.

This book did have another love triangle. I hate love triangles. I did have to grit my teeth a couple times, but the love triangle in this book was relatively free of woe, manipulation and whining. Not completely free, but more or less.

(The love thing was actually kind of confusing. She starts off with a solid crush on one guy, while the other guy is dubbed creepy. She gives up her life to save her crush. Then comes the developing attraction for now not so creepy guy which leads to ‘which one’ feelings. Then comes her decision which seems to be out of the blue and made up in less than a second.)

There are a lot of brilliant moments that make gritting your teeth through love triangles worth it. There’s one moment at the very end where our girl and the (guy she didn’t choose) have to do something that I can’t explain fully because of spoilers. But it needed her to trust him with her life – literally. One wrong move from him, or her – even a tiny slip – and she would be dead. My heart was hammering reading that bit. So good.

For more reviews on this book go to: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6555517-the-dead-tossed-waves?from_search=true&search_version=service

This one is the seventh book in the series.

Links to my reviews of the previous Dresden Files books:

One: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/book-review-wednesday-dresden-files-storm-front-5-stars/

Two: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/book-review-wednesday-fool-moon-dresden-files-4-stars/

Three: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/book-review-wednesday-dresden-files-grave-peril-4-stars/?preview=true

Four: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/book-review-wednesday-dresden-files-summer-knight-5-stars/

Five: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/book-review-wednesday-death-masks-dresden-files-book-5-5-stars/

Six: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/book-review-wednesday-blood-rites-dresden-files-five-stars/

I’m going to assume by this point you know what this series is about. So here’s the blurb for this particular book:

 There’s an entire world that exists alongside the everyday life of mankind. There are powers, nations, monsters, wars, feuds, alliances – everything. Wizards are part of it. So are a lot of other things you’ve heard about in stories, and even more you’ve never heard of…Vampires. Werewolves. Faeries. Demons. Monsters. It’s all real.

Harry Dresden knows full well that such creatures exist. Paranormal investigations are his stock-in-trade, and Chicago is his beat as he tries to bring law and order to a world that exists on the edges of imagination. Luckily Harry’s not alone in this struggle. And though most inhabitants of the Windy City don’t believe in magic, there’s a department that’s been set up within the Chicago PD to deal with “strange” cases: the Special Investigations department.

Karrin Murphy is the head of SI and a good friend of Harry’s. So when a deadly vampire threatens to destroy Murphy’s reputation unless Harry helps her, he has no choice. The vampire wants the Word of Kemmler and all the power that comes with it – but first Harry has to determine what the Word of Kemmler is. Now Harry is in a race against time – and six necromancers – to find the Word before Chicago experiences a Halloween night to wake the dead.

I’m finding that as the books go on, the writing gets better. This one was definitely a five star book for me, so no exception to that rule.

We spend a lot more time with medical examiner Waldo Butters, who was introduced in previous books. He finds himself right in the middle of trouble this time, poor guy, He’s a very different character to our usual ones, and his interactions with the other guys is interesting. He’s a little guy with a big heart who is not made for all the scary stuff Harry deals with every day, so of course he ends up with a bunch of really frightening zombies and their crazy leader chasing him around.

This book is a little like a previous one in the series where we meet werewolves. It ended up that there were a lot of different kinds of werewolves, and we met pretty much every type. In this book it’s necromancers. So you’ve got the old fashioned dull brained zombies listening to their leader, all the way to ghosts. A few different groups of necromancers fight over this book that contains the code they need to perform this ritual that will kill hundreds and hundreds of people.

Cue Harry sticking his nose in and making a whole bunch of big powerful enemies as usual. Lots of action and puns commence.

I really recommend this book and the series. It’s definitely getting even better as the series goes on. The writing in this one is full of energy and humor, even more so than I’ve come to expect from the author.

For more reviews on this book go to: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17683.Dead_Beat

 

Another zombie one. Yup, it’s a bit of a theme. I love a good zombie book.

This one is different to the usual zombie books I go for. It’s a zombie humor novel. Sounds a little odd, right? Humor is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of zombies. It’s a good one though, take a look at the blurb:

‘R’ is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows – warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can’t understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.

This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won’t be changed without a fight…

What you may or may not pick up from this is that this book is essentially a modern version of Romeo and Juliet (look at the names), except Romeo is a zombie, and Juliet is a girl he almost kills. I’m not sure whether I like that fact or not. I think it could cope without it.

Anyways, this one did have some major flaws. The plot was slow, and for a zombie book there wasn’t much action. This is definitely more of a humor / romance than a ‘die die zombie book.’ That’s not a bad thing, but there were a few areas where there could have been a bit more action before everything was wrapped up (like near the end). The plot points that were there were also rather convenient and fluffy.

What made this book 4 stars for me, instead of 3 or 2 was the humor. I chuckled way too much reading this to give it a low rating. And despite my logical mind wanting to poke at the plot holes caused by the rather fluffy reason why R is so changed (like why the heck this hasn’t happened before), I kind of liked the candy coated idea that *Spoilers* (love can conquer all, including death).

So my advise: read an extract and see if the humor appeals to you. If so, give this one a go. Link to more reviews for this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7619057-warm-bodies (more…)

An awesome zombie book (and series if you go on to read the following books). I loved, loved, loved this book. I’ve read 22 books so far this year, and I think this one may be my very favorite.

Here’s the summary:

In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

As for why I liked it so much: it had a great mystery to it, complex characters and deep down was about a girl finding herself in a world of zombies. Mary’s world is very dangerous, and only gets more dangerous as the book goes on. A lot of people die in this book, including some main characters. The zombies are interesting. Mostly they’re your typical moaning dead, shuffling for a taste of human flesh, but Carrie Ryan somehow makes it feel fresh. And there are a couple differences.

More than any other zombie book I’ve read (and I’ve read quite a lot) forest of hands and teeth makes you feel how menacing the zombies are, and it doesn’t have to give them a whole load of new bells and whistles to do so. Again and again it reminds you of the volume of the dead. A person is bitten, they change, then they go on to bite another two or three people. It’s simple math. They never die, but the living do. So you end up with thousands, millions of walking dead, and the living dwindle down in numbers.

I love the world created in these books. I’d never want to live in them, but they seem so rich and interesting. Most of all there’s a constant theme in the books of surviving, of pushing on and living no matter how bad things get. Of having dreams, even in dark times.

Now for the bad. There’s a love triangle. Ick. But this does help the main character grow and learn what she wants in life. She doesn’t want to stick with what she knows, she wants to push herself and explore. Sure, she worries about who she should love, but more and more as the book goes on she looks to bigger issues like how she should live. Plus the zombies don’t let her dwell on her romantic issues too long.

Her major goal is a little strange. She wants to see the ocean. She pushes herself and the others toward this goal. At times this can seem a little stupid. At one point, she’s in a great house safe for the moment with the guy she’s been dreaming of being with forever, but she isn’t happy. She wants to see the ocean. She wants to know more about the dead. In a lot of ways this is a story about a girl’s descent into madness. Things pile up, and she cracks a bit. But she cracks in a cool way, a risk taking way, not a curl in a corner and hide way.

The characters have depth. There’s this one guy who you hate a bit at the beginning because he seems selfish, but then as you read more you see him as a guy who’s human and in love. A guy who makes mistakes. All the characters make mistakes at one point or another. No one is perfect in this book.

The main reason I love this book is harder to explain. There’s something so addictive about reading it. Usually I hop about a little between books, but reading this one I had to make a bee line from this book, to the next and the next. I vacuumed them up. It was difficult to get anything else done. I think it’s knowing they’re never safe. There’s always something else coming around the corner to shake their lives up. And yet they don’t stop living. Sometimes they consider giving up, but the main characters push on and on without stopping.

There’s a scene in the very last book that sums up the whole series. The main character is stuck in a seemingly hopeless situation but she doesn’t give up. She tries, tries, and then tries again. She just keeps moving forward, even with dead on her heels, even when all seems lost. That determination to keep going is what made me love these books so much. It gives me faith in the human race. Some might give up when things get bad. Others go along with the flow and don’t think for themselves. But a few will keep fighting no matter how bad things get. And that is a beautiful message.

Want to check out more reviews on this book? Here’s the link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3432478-the-forest-of-hands-and-teeth

This one is another graphic novel, but don’t walk away if that’s not your cup of tea, you might surprise yourself. I’m very picky about which graphic novels I read because I don’t usually enjoy them as much as books. For me reading a graphic novel is like eating desert, it’s fun, but it doesn’t fill you up like books can. This one is worth a try.

And that’s the best thing about this graphic novel, you can try before you buy. Strictly speaking you don’t even need to buy, it depends on how much you want to support the wonderful artist / author Ashley Cope. Ashley very generously puts all her pages for this series (what’s in the book and much more) on a website for everyone to read for free. Here’s the link: http://www.casualvillain.com/Unsounded/

Unsounded is a lot deeper than other graphic novels I’ve come across. The world is rich and the characters are multilayered, and they grow as time goes by. Sette, one of the main characters has come such a long way from her first pages to the latest ones on the website. There are twists and so many things to discover as they go through their journey, and still more mysteries ahead. And the art is amazing!

Here, have a look at the cover as one small example:

Unsounded - Volume 1: The Zombie & The Brat

Nice, right? And believe it or not the art inside is actually better! Ashley draws these vibrant backgrounds, and she has this great skill to make the characters look so expressive. I have no idea how she does that for zombie Duane since his face is covered by that hood so much, but somehow she manages it.

Here’s the blurb:

Daughter of the Lord of Thieves, Sette Frummagem is on a mission, and she’ll lie, cheat, and steal to make sure it’s a success (she’ll lie, cheat, and steal anyway). Condemned to aid her in her rotten endeavours is a rotten corpse who seems oddly talented with the supernatural, and oddly not laying motionless in the dirt.

The road is long and no one is what they seem. Never trust a thief, and never trust anyone who won’t let you look into their eyes.

It’s funny, tragic, and heart pounding in all the right places. Seriously, this comic has so many feels it’s impossible to accurately describe them all in one short review. Ashley’s world building is immense, and her plotting in well thought through. Reading some of the comments on the site gives you a good picture. You have all these people predicting what’s going to happen next, and because of her awesome foreshadowing some actually get it right.

They discuss little bits of the world introduced through the comic like it’s some kind of religion. And the world is so thought through that you do pick things up, like the rules for prymary, or the caste system. One of the big ongoing mysteries (there are a few, and some wrapped up once you get to the latest pages) is how Duane is present mentally when all the other zombies seem to be more akin to the unthinking things we see on horror movies. We’ve had some clues, and there are several ongoing theories. People reference lines and emphasis that happened in the comic to try to work things out, and this comic is reliable enough that you can do that.

My verdict: go along to the site linked above and try the first few pages. It starts out as an adventure through a strange land with two hilariously incompatible comrades, both with mysteries we get to find out, and from there it gets richer and richer.

If you want to know what other people are saying about this comic follow this link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17372154-unsounded—volume-1