Willy Wonka of it
Sigh. This book had both highs and lows, so I'll just begin there. How about some pros?
-- Decent zombie tale, grounded in reality with a bit of a supernatural twist.
-- Writer injects a lot of humor
-- Some memorable characters whom you connect with
-- To sort of counteract pro #1, while the origin of the zombies was believable, the supernatural bits thrown in don't fit as well, and, at least in this book, aren't explained
-- To counteract pro #2, the writer injects a lot of humor. The writer injects a LOT of humor. The problem is, the writer can't go a paragraph without trying to elicit a guffaw from the reader/listener, and while there were some quips that drew a grin or a chuckle, they were lost in a sea of jokes that either fell flat or they just got run into the ground so badly that the effect was ruined. There are jokes and tangential stories that just drag on for what seems like forever, and never really hit home.
-- To counter Pro #3, the characters I actually liked and took an interest in were in the minority. The aforementioned characters didn't include the protagonist, and con #2 is just a single reason why. The two main women in this book (there's a third, but she's barely mentioned) were the protagonist's wife and daughter. The daughter was whiny and useless (while still being a worrisome PITA for the other guys), and the wife was created to be the snarky counterpart to the husband, while also filling the stereotypical role of "wife rules the roost". Not a chapter went by when we weren't reminded he was a dummy compared to his wife who had all the power. "Yes Dear!". It got annoying (especially since she wasn't particularly strong, clever or insightful), and just further added to the feeling I was reading something aimed directly at the low-brow humor readers.
We also meet the protagonist's supposed lifetime buddy, and his wife (the third woman never really mentioned) who both manage to be useless tag-alongs.
-- We also didn't get much in the way of explanation for a bunch of the events that happened in the book. The book seemed to wander from random story to story until it culminated int he typical fashion for zombie books, and left you hanging on all the bits that were actually interesting.
As for the narrator, he did a good job, except he made the character seemed even more hokie. I'm guessing that was the intention, but it wasn't to my liking.
I'm not sure if I'll examine any of the other books in the series (if there are any). A lot of books came out recently, so I'll likely see what else is out there before subjecting myself to a round 2.
I'm a zombie guy; haven't found a book I enjoyed since World War z
Excellent reading. Really conveys character emotions
I carried an odd sense uncertainty through the book. Wondering what the heck was going on.
After you clear the Wal-Mart scene the cheesy sense of humor grows on you. The story pulls you in. Once I was hooked that was it. I bought the rest in the series.
I have the distinct feeling this book was trying really hard to be Evil Dead. I think it tried to be a less campy, more rooted in reality Evil Dead, but it still had that kind of feel. I really disliked how I got more descriptions of the main character's OCD tendencies than I did the zombies themselves. There is little to no psychological thrill in this book. Mike, the main character, states many times how he, as a man, hates feelings; and thus, we just get a line or two about how Mike vomited again rather than digging any deeper into the terror and fear being surrounded by zombies could inflict.
I think my dislike of this book boils down to one thing. It tends to be very one-dimensional. Characters are one dimensional (and trope-filled), plot is one-dimensional, ect. I honestly don't think this book adds much to the zombie genre (at least at this point in the series, I know things get weird in the later books, I'm forcing my way through book 2 right now).
If you are any kind of feminist, this book isn't for you. I'm pretty sure half of my friends would hate it. If you are homosexual, you will also probably not enjoy the "stereotypical" lesbians, and misrepresentations of gay men. In my opinion, there was a bit of homophobia that leaked through (hey editors, you could have really nixed that part about how two men kissing is disgusting as dead rotting flesh, that was not cool).
Tufo also goes a little overboard on sexualizing his female characters, fat-character bashing, and the only competent members who fight against zombies are male. There are No. Strong. Female. Characters. None. The closest thing is Mike's daughter, but she is tiny and useless in a fight according to the story. Also, I really disliked Tufo's portrayal of minorities. This especially applies to Big Tiny, who is a huge black man written as being a little dim and a hulking threat in the first book, and he ends up allying himself with Mike. Alex, the book's Latino character, is a little better (I think we can thank Runnette for his portrayal of Alex for that). I'll talk about Tommy below.
If you don't overthink the literature you read, then you probably won't have an issue with the book. If you haven't watched the Evil Dead movies, you might also enjoy them, because I do love Ash (played by Bruce Campbell), and Mike seems like a weak Ash reboot. Sean Runnette does a pretty solid job with the narration. He brings Mike to life in a way I feel does the character justice. Runnette also doesn't overdo Tommy's character, which leads me to...
(SPOILERY) Tommy. The magical, fat disabled Latino boy who is guided by the voice of Ryan Seacrest. As hilarious as the Ryan Seacrest thing is, the trope of the happy go lucky disabled boy who is mentally inept, but actually the best, most lovable puppy in the world, kind of makes me want to puke. Yet another trope that makes me disappointed in the book. (END SPOILER)
Also, this book is highly unrealistic for the genre. I wanted to slap the characters many times for doing things that *should* have gotten them infected. I actually don't know why or how they weren't infected.
So why did I push through the end of this book? Why did I purchase and start the second book? Am I a little bit masochistic? Maybe. I was pretty harsh on Tufo's characterizations, but I have to say there is an underlying story which can be somewhat enjoyable. There were long stretches where I enjoyed the writing and didn't get pulled out of the story because of how improbable a plot point was. There is some solid writing in this novel, it just wouldn't be my first pick of zombie books, nor would I necessarily recommend it.
(However, I will say I am about to give up on the second book. So no, the series doesn't get better, it only gets more ridiculous).
I am a Landscape Architect living in Hanover, Pennsylvania who enjoys historical nonfiction, fantasy novels, and zombie horror.
I’ll give any zombie book a listen, and for the past few years it seems that this one makes every Audible ‘Five Dollar Bottom-of-the-Bucket Sale’ that comes around. It’s worth a listen for that low price, but I doubt I’d be satisfied with the purchase had I paid full member price – and I have serious hesitations about continuing this series. (Sidenote: The fact that seven books have been released in two-and-a-half years is pretty telling about the quality of the writing and the richness of the plot. Don’t expect anything too deep here, folks; this is some hastily-written fodder.)
The plot is straightforward and predictable. We follow a main character from the onset of a ‘zombie apocalypse’ for a few weeks. Within the plot are all the clichés that have come to represent contemporary zombie literature; we witness the transformation of a suburban subdivision into ‘Defense Bunker Alpha’ for a colorful cast of survivors; we follow expeditions to plunder the local Wal Mart and state armory; we observe struggles of power within family and community in the name of ‘survival.’
Along the way there is plenty of zombie gore and death.
Tufo lacks pacing and substance throughout much of the book. What he does achieve is the creation of a conventional and believable post apocalyptic world. It’s a bit funny, sort of tense, not so clever, moderately creative, and overall pretty enjoyable to escape into.
I have one nitpick with this book, and that is that I repeatedly cringed at many of Tufo’s hamfisted and stereotypical plot devices. I can generally ignore such things for the sake of the overall story arc, but Tufo manages to bog his narrative down with so many unrealistic distractions: the villains in the story are all ‘bad guys’ just for the sake of being ‘bad guys’ and they lack any real motivation; the humor is crude in a ‘lols we all smell like poop’ way, and probably worst of all, the supporting characters are all utter stereotypes without any development or reasoning—we have a Russian henchman whose sole purpose in life is to speak in a thick accent and inject icy intimidation as needed, a pair of weepily woeful lesbian feminazis, and the most facepalmy—a mentally-retarded teenage sidekick with an obsession for Yoohoos and Kit Kat bars.
Runnette just doesn’t convince as a narrator. His monotone ‘old timey’ voice and calm, plodding narration style is charming for more political and scientific fare (I loved him reading ‘The Roots of Obama’s Rage’ and ‘What Einstein Didn't Know’), but he isn’t able to communicate the appropriate levels of suspense, emotion, and sheer horror that a zombie book needs.
In short, this book stands on its own well enough if you have low expectations and don’t take it too seriously. The plot is predictable and straightforward, and because of the way that the author employed standard zombie conventions and emotions, it is easy to get into the minds of the characters and enjoy—at least surficially—the world that Tufo has created and the story that he tells. But for the sheer amount of ‘Zomb-Lit’ available nowadays on Audible, I would suggest looking elsewhere within the Horror Pantheon. Zombie Fallout isn’t a classic—it leans more toward ‘Zomb-trash.”
You never have to wait for anything if you bring a good book.
For $5.00 I figure I had nothing to lose, but honestly this book was a waste.
The story was pointless and implausibly absurd. For example, the hero's wife and daughter are living in a fortress neighborhood because of the zombies (oh and they still have electricity of course) and these two women don't even know how to make sure their guns are loaded, but while all the men are off fighting zombies they decide to go off alone and raid the local gas station for cigarettes... yeah right. Before the huge zombie attack a single female zombie points at the ex-Marine hero and he's suddenly compelled to jump over the barricade and give her rotting face a lip-to-lip kiss... yeah right. And then there is the kidnapper/rapist who has a zombie chained in his basement and prefers her putrid flesh to human hostages because real girls "always lose the will to live"... yeah right.
This doesn't appear to be a campy parody, but a low-brow pot boiler trying to capitalize on the zombie craze. The whole story is so stupid it's amazing and even more amazing to me is that there are lots of folks who rate it very highly.
The narration isn't terrible, but as another reviewer said, he doesn't sound like an ex-marine.
No, not really, I read some of the reviews decided to read anyway. Good read!
When bear protects the family.
Had a couple , but liked tommy quite a bit.
Yes, read some more of Mark Tufo books.
This book made me smirk. The main character had a fun, quirky voice which was helped along by the most awesome narration. I enjoyed the new twist on zombies, as well.
However, I think you'd have to be a tee shirt and jeans wearing, domestic beer drinking, football worshiping, man cave owning guy to fully appreciate it. Women, especially beautiful women, were dangerous, mysterious, volatile, helpless, demonic and/or banshees, the source of all evil, or just plain zombies. Flatulence was elevated to levels I'd not seen in literature before.Guys liked to sneak a hug, and then call each other fruity. The attractive lesbian in the tale was a potential convert until she was found to prefer zombies over men.
I found I couldn't help but roll my eyes from time to time, which made it quite difficult to listen and drive at the same time. Nevertheless, it was a fun story, and the main character was likeable. He wasn't all that different from some of my exceedingly hetero guy friends, and he liked dogs. No one who likes dogs can be all bad.
I was immediatly engaged with the main character. And by the end of chapter one I was already excited that I might have found another series to get hopelessly addicted too.
but then.....I'm not sure....Maybe it was the wierd 'twists' that the author was trying to take with the zombies (which i understand) ..... or the strange and out of place 'powers' some of the characters seem to have.....or just some of the plot events that maybe seemed like awkward extra limbs...or the behavior of the extra characters that seemed wholly unbelievable given the situation (like he tried for the 'levity in spite of long odds' that the dresden files uses to amazing effect but couldn't quite pull it off) I don't know.
I haven't given up hope, but this book has fallen by the wayside already....and I very rarely come back after that happens.
The reader does not do justice to the character. Not sure why, it just doesn't work for me personally. The book tries to be glib, but it doesn't come over well considering the topic.
Not make it so much about this guys personal feelings about people and family and more about the actual fact that there are zombie's with actual powers to make decisions.
Since it is a series and left off with really no ending I feel I should listen to the next one just to see what the smart zombies actually come up to infiltrate the non zombies
This book could have been a story told in any bar anywhere. The characters are not especially gifted. They are just your neighbors dealing with zombies.
I liked this book for that. I have never seen another zombie book handled like this.