I bought this book based on its good reviews expecting some ridiculous entertainment. Instead, it wound up being horribly annoying to listen to; by the second half I was listening to ten minutes then skipping ahead an hour, hoping it would get better. It didn't.
- First, for a zombie book that talks a lot about shooting and guns, Tufo doesn't know what he's talking about. Maybe I'm just being picky since I'm a Marine officer, but he says a Squad Automatic Weapon weighs 40+ pounds (a quick google search confirms what I remembered from The Basic School that it's only 22 lbs loaded). Then he has a man carrying around a gatling gun; while that may be physically possible, the idea is beyond ridiculous for those who know combat. Most people think that being a Marine means that you know what you're talking about - it doesn't.
- Second, the book caricatures women as browbeating harpies, which is offensive to women and annoying to men. The protagonist's wife yells at him and strikes him and his only response is sullen acceptance. The other few women there are in the book act the same. It's like listening to Dakota Fanning scream for 20 straight minutes in 'War of the Worlds'. Yeah, I get it, you think children are fragile - after the first 30 seconds though, it's just super annoying. It's the same with women yelling in this book.
- Third, all of the characters are consistently paralyzed with fear in life or death situations, and this is drawn out in agonizingly wordy prose. I appreciate the attempt at realism and saw this as an effort to mimic the effect of horror movie suspense. The writing, however, prevented any suspense building and instead merely caused grave annoyance on my part.
I could continue, but I hope you get the point. In this book's favor, it was well narrated, and you could skip an hour at a time without losing much.
This isn't Walking Dead -- it is lighter than that. In fact, that's what I didn't like about it. The humor seemed forced - like the author was trying too hard. It wasn't as funny as Shaun of the Dead, either. So it was somewhere in between.
I liked the characters. And the story was interesting, but a bit dull. It just didn't seem very original. However, the author planted a seed about the zompbies intelligence that I hope will be more prominent in the later books, which I haven't read yet.
But I'm not planning on reading them, either.
High. As in, just below the Dresden Files read by James Marsden, and the Iron Druid Chronicles.
Mike. By far. As the main character, he is a strong character; seemingly always knowing what to do, but having weak points in his shell for his family.
Runnette is amazing with his accents and voices, and his ability to just whip out the quick witted jokes that would have been less enjoyable in print, without the snap of anger or wry humour.
I don't usually laugh or grin at something unless in a group, I just don't experience things outwardly much. But I've found myself giggling into my lunch or grinning at inopportune times at work while listening to this. And, turning a bit green as my cast iron stomach turns from the detailed explanations.
At first, I didn't care for the performance of this book, but the storyline had grabbed me so I kept listening. I'm glad I did...Sean Runnette grew on me. I found myself laughing out loud quite often.
I'm 23 and I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I love British humor, dry sarcasm, horror and sometimes some fantasy. My all time favorite author is Neil Gaiman.
I'm actually a fan of wrong humor and mildly offensive fun, not to mention zombies, so the general comments below actually were encouraging. In fact, if you want a quick look at the main character, imagine Ash from Evil Dead/Army of Darkness if he was a family man. Yes, the character is about as good as he sounds.
The style of writing however, is not. One minute it's a very tense situation, but wait, let's tell you a five minute story about something that happened years ago. One minute something bad happens, there's build up, oh no what are they going to do... Wait! Apparently you have to know this ten minute story of something that happened in the past before we continue. It really is terrible pacing, like he told himself he would only go this many words without a very long joke.
I suppose I will never know Tommy's secrets. Oh well.
The performance is actually okay, the characterization is spot on for the main character, and there is a degree of difference between the characters that could have been better. The minimal amount of distinction could be a product of the story though.
I would (and have) recommended this book to friends. It's a surprise take on a theme that's been overdone by Hollywood.
I love the rambling style.
The narrator's voice gave me an instant image of him in my mind and within the first few chapters, I was invested in the Talbot family.
There are many laugh out loud moments in the book and times when I was mentally shaking him to "come on , come on, tell me", as he rambles on with stray thoughts. It's just like listening to a slightly nutty friend telling you a story with every detail.
I absolutely must read the entire series.
Page after page of corny one liner jokes delivered by a narrator without sense of timing wore on me. The main character alleges to be a self anointed survivalist from page 1 but all it seems he does is store a bunch of guns in the house. Did he ever go hunting, no he says but he'll ride around in his car shooting stop signs, nice what an idiot. Add to this his Marine experience stealing a truck. I've been in the service and if I'd stolen a truck with C4 in it (unguarded somehow) my butt would be making big rocks into little ones. How he ended up as an HR specialist I'll never know but the company that fired him made the right decision. I just don't have much to care for in this fool. His kids are annoying and the relationship he has with his wife is just silly.
The thing that irked me most was that one day this guy wakes up and the whole world is undead. The author tries to set up the story with a preface but in chapter one he's introduced the main character who isn't aware of what's been apparently going on for months. It's like he's been in hypersleep. If you are going to write a trilogy take time to set up the downfall part.
I'll still read zombie books but this one is a dog.
Someone with a little emotion and the ability to deliver the author's punchlines. However, that being said, I've heard all these one liner jokes either in the army or the bowling alley. They are the types of one liners that you think are lame the 1st time you hear them and they certainly don't need to be collected into a novel. Some don't even make sense.
One thing that really eats me up is the narrator's vocalization of the term "zombie." God it's annoying.
Everyone but the zombies.
I know that people who read zombie novels find the genre endearing but come on this story is just bad and the characters are simply flat and not believable. A good zombie story can stand on it's own and this one can't.
The narrator and the self-deprecating humor. The action was pretty non-stop and the characters were simple and mostly likable.
Zombie Apocalypse fun was the most interesting. The least interesting is his portrayal of women. Flakey, silly, inappropriately focused on frivolous detail while the world melts down. Tufo doesn't seem to appreciate women much.
Sean Runnette is at his likably snarky best here as usual. His performance and humor brought the book up to a higher level of interest.
My most extreme reaction was to the misused words. At first I thought I was just not hearing things correctly or that the narrator had a few slip ups. But apparently Sean Runnette was reading word for word from a very flawed book. According to Amazon reviews the editor has claimed that later editions have been corrected but this audio version is clearly from the original version. There must be a mistakenly used word or phrase on every page of the book. It's jarring to say the least. But the story is fun so I would just shake my head and keep going. Editors are so very, very important.
I LOVE zombie books, even the bad ones, but this was too much. The main character is obnoxious with his ridiculous tangents, support characters are completely one-dimensional and the writing is pretty bad. "He said... He said.... She said..." There was no substance, no tension and nothing original brought to the genre. The narration is monotone and adds to the annoyance of the main character (though in fairness, his voice fits the main character perfectly).
This was definitely one of my most disappointing credits as with all the great reviews I expected it to at least be entertaining. Save your credit.
Im a good listener
If this was anything but a zombie story I would have put it down in 30 minutes. At first I thought it was the narration, but then I realized the narrator didn't have much to work with. The main character is not well defined, his traits are all over the place. The dialogue is horribly cliche. The attempted humor is like fingernails on a chalkboard. It's just all around bad.