The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history
I thoroughly enjoyed this decidedly different zombie novel. The story was highly engaging, telling the tale of a world in which a zombie plague was unleashed but snuffed out years earlier. The remnant population of “LDs” (Living Dead, or “differently living”) has gone underground to avoid the reprisals of the intolerant dominant society of “breathers.” As the years stretch into decades and their undying bodies deteriorate from wear and tear that cannot be repaired, many of the LDs become philosophical, if not downright mystical, while others become increasingly militant.
That there can be two philosophically opposed camps of zombies is made possible by slightly tweaking traditional zombie lore. In this world, those infected by a zombie bite only go crazy and eat humans for a febrile 24 hours. Once the fever is gone, they are no longer living, but neither are they dangerous.
The protagonist, Stony, is of course a zombie but the circumstances of his arrival in this world are so unusual even other zombies find it hard to believe. He is different and wonders whether he will ever find another person who truly understands who and what he is. The book follows his life, first as he lives an Anne-Frank-like existence hidden by sympathetic “breathers” and then as he becomes a champion of what can only be called zombie civil rights. Because I think young adults are interested in these themes and also because Stony is a young adult for a good portion of the book, I think it can be classified as a young adult novel (not a bad thing).
Lest you think the book is all heavy thoughts, there is plenty of zombie mayhem, guts and gore but there was an equal amount of character building, plenty of funny bits, and just enough sentimentality to make it fun and interesting. I listened to it as an audio book read by David Marantz, who did an excellent job narrating.
I bought this book because of the October Zombie book sale. It was one of the few that looked like it would offer something different and interesting. It was definitely a different and refreshing take on the typical Zombie Apocalypse theme, and it was certainly entertaining, if not elevated literature. I would say that the book's tone reminded me a lot of the Sookie Stackhouse books--it got a lot into Zombie politics, culture, and philosophy. All in all, I liked it, but I'm glad I got it on sale.
I think this is the first time that I have given an "overall" score that is actually higher than the sum of its parts...but I LOVED the 'experience' of listening to this novel (granted, I am one of those zombie-, vampire-story lovers). Yes, there were a lot of silly digressions, a lot of unexplained 'issues'....but it's hard not to fall in love with Stony. You are rooting for him every step of the way. Even as I was telling myself that the story lacked "depth," I could not stop listening (I listened to it in two days)...and I was SO sad when it was over. I wanted MORE. An ADORABLE Zombie! Who would have thought?
The beginning of this book was very entertaining, I enjoyed the first third and thought I had found a winner. Then came the middle section, and by middle I mean the middle two thirds of the book, and the politics of the living dead was drawn out to infinity, the big bite or we are people too debate. I think this would be a great book for the "Twilight" crowd, nothing wrong with that genre, and it has a strong following to be sure, but it is not for me.
Finally finding time to enjoy my first love... "reading" ... in a whole new way that fits into my busy schedule.
Going in, I am not exactly sure what I expected of this book, but I can tell you it turned out to be much more than just a ZOMBIE book. Yes, yes the main character...heck, many of the characters, are zombies, but they think, they feel, they ARE dead but they ARE human. It was easy to recognize the real connection Stony has with his family and his friends. His outlook and quick wit had me laughing on more than one occasion. Heck I was even rooting for the Zombies. It is definitely a book I would recommend to adult friends. My only complaint is the use of the word "f**k" SO much in this book. I am grown and I can ignore it but by the time I reached the end it was becoming annoying. I don't feel as if gratuitous cursing adds to a novel...but hey, if I lived in a society were there was a plague of zombies, perhaps my vocabulary would more frequently be sprinkled with vulgarities...hopefully we will never know.
Addicted to audiobooks & podcasts. 5 Stars=I Loved It, 4 Stars=Enjoyed it Thoroughly, 3=Kinda Good, 2=Bad/Boring, 1=Complete Waste of Credit
I was hesitant to try another zombie or "walking dead" book - I've had bad luck with them in the past and swore them off after the last giant disappointment. I'm so glad I took a chance on Raising Stony Mayhall - it really is a great story with a new take on the whole undead genre. The book is not at all about zombies chomping on bodies and stumbling around moaning - or about desperate humans fighting off hordes of walking corpses with drama at every turn - it's about a real family with realistic characters dealing with the fact that one of them just happens to be not technically alive. The narration was easy to listen to - not flashy - just natural in a way that makes the narrator's presence barely noticeable - which I mean as a true compliment. The last quarter of the story went a bit off the map but it didn't turn me off enough to make me want to stop listening. Would I go for a sequel? Probably not - but I was very pleased with the selection overall and would recommend it as a fun listen for all.
I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would.
It is part gentle family story, part zombie appocalypse-if you can imagine such a thing. Daryl Gregory casts zombies as a group oppressed, politically persecuted and hunted by living humans, with the title character caught between. It is not a typical zombie read, in that it focuses very little on neither the frightening scientific causes of the plague that brought zombies about, nor the gory details of the effects. The narration actually wryly acknowledges zombie cliches, from time to time, suggesting that the reader insert-dramatic-escape-here, complete with narrow misses, exploding zombie heads, etc.;some may find this annoying, but I found it amusing. The story instead focuses on the relationships between the characters, and on Stony's quest to figure out where he belongs and how he can help the people important to him.
There are some interesting philosophical tidbits, as Stony ponders what it really means to be alive (he, an undead American, being in a unique position to ponder). The end is a bit out there, but I liked it, because it follows this question to an interesting extreme.
I give it four stars instead of five, because it does drag a bit in the middle, and maybe is just a bit too long in general.
The narrator is great for the role, capturing Stony's sardonic wit and introspection well. His female voices are good-like Patrick Swayze doing drag in To Wong Fu.
Overall, I was not disappointed, and in fact, surprised at how much I liked this book.
Of course this is the beginning of the year, so that's kind of cheating, but seriously, this was very, very good.
I'm not sure why zombie novels are all the rage right now, or why I'm reading so many, but Raising Stony Mayhall was unexpectedly good. From the description, I was expecting it to be kind of a one-note gimmick based on the thin premise of a "zombie baby," but some positive reviews convinced me to give it a try, and I'm glad I did.
This is a book written by someone who knows the zombie genre and treats it with appropriate respect, while adding something of his own to the zombie mythology. The background is that in 1968 (yes, that date should ring bells if you know your zombie movies), there was a brief zombie outbreak, which was quickly contained after a large number of deaths. Unbeknownst to the public, however, the zombies weren't all destroyed, because it turns out that zombies are only mindless brain-eating monsters for a few hours after they "turn"; after that, the madness passes and they become their normal selves again... except, dead.
The government has been imprisoning or destroying every zombie they find and keeping their existence secret.
Stony Mayhall was a zombie baby found in the arms of the dead teenage girl who had recently given birth to him. The baby is found by a single mother and her daughters in 1968, just after the outbreak, and instead of turning it in, they keep it. Somehow, this "dead" baby grows up. Stony has to live his life in hiding with his adoptive family, though he does have one childhood friend who knows about him. Other than being undead, he matures mentally like a fairly normal kid, until one horrible night when he is a teenager, events force him to flee and go underground. He discovers that there is an entire secret society of living dead hiding from the authorities. They are divided into factions: some want peaceful coexistence with the living, others want to start a zombie apocalypse.
This book has many strengths. The writing is a cut above; Daryly Gregory does not write this like a pulp horror novel, but more like a literary bildungsroman. Stony is a compelling, sympathetic character, as he's smart and introspective and while a good person, he's also capable of learning to become a hard-bitten, cunning one. The book raises many issues concerning the morality of the living dead and what defines a human being; to its credit, it never goes for camp and while there are some funny parts, it's not satirical. Gregory has thought out the rules for his zombies very carefully, and everything is internally consistent. He confronts certain physical impossibilities head-on, which become important in the final climax.
My only complaint is that it skips around in time a bit, spending the first half of the book with Stony's upbringing from 1968 into the 1980s, and then jumping around from the early 90s to the present day. So the overall chronology of the book isn't always clear.
Other than that, though, this was an excellent read. I've never read such human zombies, nor a zombie novel with so many touching moments. It's entirely self-contained and there's absolutely no need for a sequel, so I recommend it for anyone even mildly interested in the genre. It wasn't quite blow-my-mind awesome, so I'm giving it 4.5 stars.
Overall this book is a win!
The narration is well done and the story keeps you listening.
I was pretty skeptical about reading a "zombie book", but this was a lot of fun and a good story. The narration is the perfect tone, great balance of seriousness and lightness when it is called for. I would read more by the author and listen to more from the narrator.