Thank you audible. I have been waiting years for the audible version of this novel, and am not disappointed. In my opnion this is Bear's best work. A perfect balance of science and drama, with very compelling characters. It builds slowly but brilliantly to its inevitable, terrifying, and heart breaking climax. Though it is bleak in some ways, and frightening, there is the ever present flicker of hope throughout. It is thoughtful, intelligent and haunting... A science fiction classic.
But if you have read a few well - then you are in my boat and WOW is it ever formulaic. Change names, slightly different plot - personalities identical to those in other stories... Immortal hunk with super power meets vulnerable, but often tough, and usually immortal or soon to be immortal girl... There is the inevitable misunderstanding, miscommunication, mistreatment of each other and a big falling out. One or both will have been tortured, of course.. then her life is in peril ( or his, but usually hers) and they come together, right all their wrongs and are in love forever and ever in a love to rival no other love - except all the other loves in these endless formula stories.
I know no one wants to hear this and reviews are supposed to gush or not be posted... and it is an escape, I suppose, if you don't mind the repetitive formula and then it is probably a lot of fun.... Kresley Cole is not a bad writer and this is better than a lot of what is out there... But she has a lot more potential, and these are becoming SO predictable and the exact same thing over and over.
Her young adult series was an exploration, and surprisingly the work she did on a series meant for teens shows that she has the ability to really develop characters, relationships, plots that are not just an edless re-hash...If she did not have such potential, I would probably be more patient with this... But am just tired of it... after the first 2 I read, they are all the same...
That said, again, she is a goo writer, compared to a lot of what is out there, though sometimes it is a little cringeworthy and if I never hear the term "hot seed" again, that is ok by me.... But the narrator is beyond superb - making it worth it, though it really is the same old from the author.
The focus of this story is MUCH more about the main character's dating life than an apocalypse. In fact it really is just a sort of chronicle of the main character's dating life. I found the main character to be hard to like, and hard to care about. Kind of a wishy washy guy who sort of drifts along bemoaning his love life, while making silly decisions and bouncing from person to person kind of pointlessly... The apocalypse is really just a backdrop for this dating stuff which is the main thrust of the story. It is not, however, a romance, or a love story, or even an exploration of relationships - just a sort of log and commentary on the trials and tribulations of dating...
It is odd - as though the writer was much more interested in exploring the ups and downs of dating than the supposed demise of the world. There is much more commentary about the kind of girl he likes, the kind of girl he doesn't like, etc, than there is about what is happening in the world and why or how it impacts anything. The apocalypse element could have been left out altogether, since it completely had little to no impact on the main story, which is all about this guy's experiences in dating. The dating stuff got to be relentless at times - on and on and on about which woman he will date and going to a dating service, and ex's he's had and... Ugg....
There is little explanation for why the economy is failing, or what is happening in the world or why, and some weird elements seem to be introduced to try to make is seem like an apocalypse. There are unexplained groups forming in society that seem to have no purpose and no explanation but to somehow make this an apocalypse, and viruses popping up for no apparent reason as we are given no explanation of the state of the world, or who would do this, or why, and it does nothing to move the story (which is just DATING) along.
It really got tedious and was a chore to finish this and I wonder why the author doesn't just write a straightforward story about some guy's dating life and all the commentary he clearly wants to expound on about dating for guys (I am sure there is an audience for that), without the premise of the world ending, since the apocalypse is really an afterthought in many ways it seems in this story. Perhaps it would not have been disappointing had I thought is was a character driven story about some ordinary guy going through all the ins and outs and ups and downs of dating, but "soft apocalypse" carries some obvious promises, so I felt this was very misleading... I had to listen to hours of this guy droning on about his feelings about his dating life when I thought this was a slow end of the world story, which it only was a little and only incidentally, it seems.
I know I can return it, but it is pain to do that. So though I hate giving bad reviews, and though it wasn't the worst story I have ever heard, I really felt there was a bait and switch going on here and I feel a mislead...
Fans of Kresley Cole already know she is incredibly talented at spinning a tale, and is very good at paranormal romance and "bodice ripper" fiction. I think writing for a YA audience has truly unleashed her greatest talents. It is not just he lack of endless sex scenes, which, to be fair, she works well into her adult fiction, but which occasionally trump ( or at least direct) the story, that has made this a superior work. In this story she has focused her powers of plot, or weaving an amazing story, of real character development, of creating tension, mystery, motivations for her characters and their missions beyond finding some ultimate mate, as much of her ( and most paranormal romance adult fiction) focuses on. And wow, unleashing that is has truly set free her creativity and cleverness and ability to capture her audience in an adventure that truly will captivate.
I am such a sucker for apocalyptic stories, but this is so much more than that - and the world built is one that (though obviously incredibly fictional) somehow draws the reader in as plausible... Amazing stuff. It is a bit dark at times, but overall, that element makes sense and doesn't overwhelm the story at all, and fits in perfectly... Just give it some time. The mood of this book is incredible and the reader will feel deeply attached to all the main characters and their plight.
Of course, there is a hefty dose of romance, and having read her adult fiction, I have to say this is the very best developed relationship of all her work, the characters and their relationship are the most compelling, with little "love at first site, irresistible draw to each other" stuff going on, and rather an incredibly complex set of emotions and meaningful interactions, and a strong background in place, and a very well grounded, well developed, and real basis for deep caring and attraction and love... And the obstacles thrown in their path only strengthen the bond, and never feel like conveniences which will ultimately make the inevitable bedding in the next chapter seem more meaningful... This is on a new level.
So many other have already sung the praises of this book... I will only second all of that and interject that I believe Kresley Cole, who, though she has always been a very interesting and talented writer, has really found her niche here and that this is her best work, and I hope she will continue this path.
The narrators do a great job too!
The summary describes this as action packed. There is a bit of action at the beginning, to set up the scenario, and a little at the end, but aside from that nothing happens.... Nothing. And I don't mean no action, I mean little to no plot. Hours of what will we have for breakfast and who is the leader who will decide our chores (not try to figure out what is happening, or come up with a plan, or anything else that logically the characters would and should be concerned about).
We hear very little about what happened, and no explanation of why it happened, and no real idea of its impact in the world - it is almost entirely ignored aside from being a set up for the scenario for the kids. So we have kids in a store during some unexplained catastrophe. It tries then to focus on what the kids do, but do not expect Lord of the Flies-like tension... There is little tension... The kid set up as the bad guy is a very nothing sort of bad guy with hardly any real conflict, and does very little, the good guys are equally anemic in their goodness... the characters on the whole are incredibly flat, and their relationships completely uncompelling, uninteresting and not at all well developed. The main character is in love with a girl because she is "perfect, smart, funny, a 'goddess'".. Well, we will have to take his word on that because she does absilutely nothing to warrant any of those advectives in any way, does nothing to warrant very many adjectives of any sort really, and the interaction between the main character and his crush does nothing to make the reader feel concerend with their relationship or understanding of the crush.
Very little goes on in this story and it doesn't succeed in being a character driven story as the characters are just so dull and the relationships are so uninteresting. The premise is nearly completely unexplored as well, which is surprising as that could have been interesting. Once the kids get into the store, there are no threats, no real hardships (except deciding what to eat and where to sleep, etc). So it doesn't even really work as a survival story. There isn't even the emotional component you would expect with a bunch of young kids (some teens and some very young little kids) who have lost everything. The occassional mention of how they miss their parents but nothing major - and though I don't want hours of kids in emotional anguish, it would have at least made sense and been something to connect to.
Also, be warned parents - there is a bizarre amount of drugs and sex and alcohol and vulgarity for no apparent reason. This does not make the story more interesting, and is not a major element, though a frequent one, and is totally perplexing as it goes no where and contributes very little to the story or the characters. Even that element is dull and never really develops properly. There are too many undeveloped threads like that - that never seem to amount to something that can hold the story together or give it some direction or shape.
I hate giving reviews like this... But the description makes it seem like something it isn't and I think like minded people will be as disappointed as I was, so thought I should warn.
So many have tried to put a new spin on the zombie genre... So few actually succeed, with most taking the form of a survival story, repeating the same old, same old... As I cannot get enough of zombies, the same old usually must be good enough... This is much better than good enough and is not the same old, same old.
Though it is a YA story, with a fair splash of teen romance, it is also a very unique and well developed zombie adventure. The characters are incredibly well done, and even the romance is well developed and is well paced... Though like a lot of romances, the main couple is immediately drawn together based on some kind of instinct or intrinsic attraction, unlike many such set ups (see Twilight series for the worst offender) there is a real development of this connection, a solid ground for the characters to care about each other and to connect and time is taken for them to actually get to know each other, making the relationship believable and much more compelling. Likewise, the friendships and rivalries are well developed as well, and each character seems unique, with a clear and well developed personality.
In addition to that, the plot moves along very well... though the set up takes a few chapters, once the story gets going there are mysteries to be solved, challenges to be met, action carefully spaced throughout in such a way that it is well woven into the overall plot and not action for action's sake...
On the whole this was an impressively entertaining experience, and I think will appeal to both a YA audience and an older audience as well, since a well done story is a well done story, regardless of the age group it is aimed at.
Also, the narrator does a very good job! There were a few points where I felt the reading was just a tiny bit too slow, but it is a very, very small complaint and in fact worked very well in the more introspective, emotional points in the story...Overall, I recommend!
The publisher summary does not do this book justice and makes it seem frivolous. I wish it would be re-written somehow.
This book is really well done. I am not a young adult. But am a huge sci-fi fan so will read anything good in that genre. This book transcends its teen classification I think, and I suspect people of many age groups can enjoy it.
It is incredibly well written with characters you will come to care about and identify with, even though they live in a world that is completely different from the reality we know... or is it?
Substitute the world "hybrid" for any kind of "different" or any kind of out of favor or hunted/ discriminated against group in our world (unattractive, gay, disabled, of a particular religion, or no religion at all, a minority race, etc - any arbitrary thing a society may refuse to accept as part of human nature and choose to define as "other" or evil). Then imagine your very best friend or your brother or sister or daughter or son or mother, father, etc, in that role of the different, and shunned by the world, expected not to exist - and then imagine you are intrinsically linked to that person, physically in the same body, as close as any 2 people can be, and you are that person's only hope, only chance, but it comes at your own incredible peril...
Now, imagine being the unwanted being in that scenario, totally powerless, with only your one soul mate who you love sharing your body to defend you, to help you. You are powerless and must be hidden as a your existence is a crime, but you have all the needs and hopes and wishes of any being.
Ok, so the premise is very interesting - but many books have interesting premises and fall short. This one does not. It is well written, the story is intelligently developed, the characters are interesting and compelling the plot and theme very well paced.
The reader does a great job too.
Unfortunately, it falls prey to what many of these teen sci-fi stories do, and kind of has a bit of a non-ending, and a set up for a sequel. It is so common, such an ubiquitous book sales trick in this genre that I hate to even single it out for criticism, as I know that is the norm - I just wish the authors could make the first book feel a bit more complete, while still leaving room for a sequel - some do that very well and I think the author of this had that ability. Unfortunately, it sort of just stops with hints of what will come next in an unfinished feeling way - but as I said, so many do that, so I hate to single this out.
However, aside from that one criticism, it isn't a silly romance like so many are, though has the beginnings of some solid relationships that are well fleshed out, but the main thrust of the story is the plight of these persecuted beings, and their struggle. It is suspenseful, well-paced and really compelling at times. Well worth a listen.
I just can't pass up a zombie story. I researched this a bit before I bought it. It is based on a graphic novel, so the visuals are not included. However, it doesn't read like a graphic novel - which personally I think is a good thing, as sometimes I feel like those are not always particularly well written and can have underdeveloped plots and simplistic characters, in that they are driven by images a lot of times rather than writing. Admittedly, I am not a fan of graphic novels however, so probably haven't experienced enough to be a fair judge.
This was a pretty well written and fun short story. Reviews of the written version claim it is an entirely new spin on the zombie genre. I wouldn't go that far. It is written from the point of view of a doctor and takes the form of journal entries detailing his observations and experiences during a zombie outbreak. Essentially, it is a survival story, though there is a bit more explanation of how the outbreak occurred and it does have, at times, a somewhat scientific approach, which is a bit unique. But in the end it is a survival story, which is what the majority of zombie stories are.
That said, it is a really well done survival story. The performance is really great as well, so it does in fact feel like someone speaking into his voice recorder during a crisis at times. The story moves along nicely, and I cared about the main character, was interested to hear what would happen next, found the whole experience pretty entertaining.
My only complaint ( and this is a very small one, to be fair) is that it felt very short... wish it had been a longer story. Then again, I wouldn't want fluff to fill it out, and it was quite well done in its brevity... Seems slightly pricey for a short story, but you get what you pay for, and I would rather pay for a really well done 2 hour story than a poorly done long, long novel any day... So maybe my complaint isn't a very valid one, I guess...
In any case, if you are like me and like well done zombie fiction, I encourage you to give this a go... It is a fun couple of hours.
Why is this book listed in the teen section? It is in NO way intended for young adults, doesn't have any teens in it, is a very adult story... Not to say a teen wouldn't perhaps be interested, but it clearly is not intended for that audience. It must be a mistake, and hopefully audible will move it to a more appropriate section. Teens be warned - this is not a YA book.
Aside from that, this is a medical thriller in which a scientist tries to unravel the plot of a villain/terrorist who is releasing various nasty diseases. I agree with the other reviewer here that there is a lot of gruesome, graphic detail regarding those diseases, but that didn't bother me, and was obviously part of the story. However, those with little tolerance for that sort of thing probably want to avoid this book. The story is often very dry, bordering on dull. I think it is meant to appeal to people who like such books as The Hot Zone or Demon in the Freezer, but it is not nearly as compelling or well written as those.
The characters are not in any way compelling and don't feel well fleshed out and I didn't feel concerned or interested in them. So when the disease attacks become personal, it lacks the punch I think it was intended to have. After several hours listening to the unleashing of the various diseases and their effects and the scientist explaining them, it became very repetitive and we kind of know exactly where it is going.
There is a theme to the disease attacks- a pattern they fit into. The theme of the disease attacks stops being mysterious once we know about it, and personally I didn't find it as clever as I think it was expected to be - just complex and complicated. I think if you aren't impressed by that element, then the story will not seem as compelling or unique as I think it was supposed to be. I found it just to be really complex, unecessarily so, and a bit too far fetched and often too much dry detail and analysis. There was just something missing from this story for me... The basic idea makes it seem like it should be really interesting, but the writing is just dull, sometimes with more medical detail than is needed, flat characters and an unbelievable and overly complicated plot.
Halfway through I was ready to give it one star, but finished the whole thing and realized that this is not to my taste and I want to be fair. I think the 3 stars I gave it is generous, but there is no 2 and a half option... If I take my personal taste out of the equation, I still don't think it is a brilliant book, but it may appeal to some more than to me, and to be fair it is readable, I made it to the end, and I suspect there are those who will have more interest and patience for the aspects I found dull... So if you like complicated medical crime stories, perhaps this is the book for you, though there are better choices out there, I think - such as those I mentioned above. I also think this book really needs to be moved to its proper category ( thriller, mystery, even science fiction would all be better than the teen section) where it may find a more appropriate audience.
This was a very interesting and fast paced story. It has a solid plot and fairly well done characters and stays pretty riveting throughout. The ending is a surprise, and ties everything together in a way that makes for a really unique idea. The reader does a great job too. I wonder about its classification- it is listed as mystery/thriller. It does have that - there is mystery and at times it is thrilling. However, I would have classed it as science fiction since I think that was the most dominant genre- that and a touch of horror.
One small complaint though, and this may stem from the genre the writer is trying to produce for - I think it would have been a stronger book without all the torture. I know that is popular and some peole are drawn to it - whole films have been made in recent years that revolve entirely around people being tortured in various ways. It isn't that I am too squeemish or uptight for it, though I do find it uncomfortable at times. More so I just don't find it particularly creative or interesting - ask anyone you know to think of the most horrible ways to hurt and kill someone. Everyone will quickly have lots of ideas. Particularly with a story as strong as this one, with so much that makes it interesting, and so much tension and mystery, I thought this was a major distraction at times. There were points at which clearly it made sense as it was integrated into the story and necessary, but for large portions I thought it served no real purpose and was far more detailed than it needed to be and found myself waiting for those bits to end so we could get back to the good stuff.
Also, it seems like it would have been more interesting if the antagonists had ways of interacting with the hero and with the good guys in ways that didn't always have torture as the main defining interaction - if the " I will now torture and kill you in horrible ways" wasn't the main motivation at all times... It seems a constant threat and, in the end, when we find out what has gone on, what this was all about, it particularly doesn't seem in keeping with the purpose behind the story. I can't give examples without giving spoilers so will leave it at that... As I said, I know it is popular among some audiences, but I really think this author is solid and creative enough to write a really great story without all that - or at least without it factoring so large in the book.
So those of you like me, who are not interested by that, and those of you that really hate that stuff have been warned. However, as I said, there is a lot going for this story and I found it very entertaining and was eager to find out what would happen and what all this was about... So overall, I think it is a pretty good experience and would recommend it.
Like all compilations of stories, there is a variety in terms of quality. However, this one leans toward high quality. There are some really great stories in this one - particularly Alone by Robert Reed, and The Things by Peter Watts which was a real surprise and which I had read before, but which was well done in this narration.... and several others that were memorable and original. The narrations are pretty uniformly well done too. This one is definitely worth a listen and worth the credit as the good outweighs the average and there really isn't anything bad. Fun to come across well written science fiction stories!
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