I'm a lover of dry, wry wit...but for god's sake, this is horrible. This is the sort of dribble you dread sitting through at a boring friend's dinner party.
First of all, I think Child has a tick where he has to write "[character] said nothing" at least once every five lines. The author spends a painful amount of time describing meaningless scenery and events. This is poor, sloppy writing with painfully slow pacing.
I've been a science journalist specializing in medical reporting for the last 15 years...and, I also happen to be a vegan (for ethical reasons that stem from a former employment with Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences).
I'll sum it up: this book infuriated me. It basically comes from the same position I do with regard to diet and governmental overview of the food industry--but does so with nothing but a barrage of incorrect information, misinterpretations of facts, faulty assumptions, and a complete lack of perspective. And all this under the guise of giving "bitchy," humorous advice (which it basically fails at).
I'm not going to even begin to try to address any of the entirely wrong scientific or historical inaccuracies--there are just too many. I would just want warn people that this is not the place to start if you want to learn about the vegan lifestyle or perspective on the food industry. Try "Vegan for Life" by Jack Norris and Virginia Messina (actual dietitians) and "Eating Animals" by Johnathan Safran Foer (a great listen here on Audible).
I'm a little miffed that I preordered so that I could make sure that I would have the book immediately with no trouble, but the only way I could get the preordered book on my iphone audible app was to reinstall that app (and lose my place in my other books). Until audible puts out a message saying that the issue has been resolved, I won't be doing that again.
The series has a great premise and had a great start...but a lot of the tropes just get old and tired by the third book. The spook is grouchy and makes hateful decisions, Tom has to come through when the Spook gets hurt/sick/captured, etc....and I swear to god, if this author uses the phrase "My heart sank into my boots" one more time, I'll burn the next hard copy of this series I find.
I was hesitant to listen to this because, although I love the category, I thought I had listened to too much of the zombie genre of literature. But, because of the great reviews, I gave it a try...and I'm glad I did. There are two reasons, both entirely unexpected.
The first (the book's place among zombie literature): the piece is written from a Joss Whedon-esque first-person perspective of someone who is familiar with the zombie genre and gives an entirely entertaining account of the zombie apocalypse. Despite the tired tropes of the genre, this had me laughing out loud while commiserating with the real-life issues that the situation would cause. It's both completely realistic, gut-wrenching, and hilarious.
The second (which has to do with how zombie literature can comment on society): I'm a hard-core gay liberal, but most of my family is boiled-down southwestern conservative Republican, and that conservative perspective is shared by the narrator. There is even a part three-quarters of the way through the book where the narrator compares a nauseating zombie scene to the sight of two guys kissing. But, the writing captures something so much more complex and appreciated. Your neighbor is your neighbor, no matter who they are. The main character is a father of a traditional family--but everyone around him are also potential family, no matter who they are. I kind of feel like this captures the true spirit of most loving conservatives I know. It's touching to see a book like this reveal the a true nature of an average american in that way.
Listen for 15 minutes, and you'll be hooked. The best part is: you'll appreciate it 10 hours later.
It's worth it to finish out the series if you've read the first two. This series wasn't the best of the military-esque zombie survival genre to begin with (WWZ is probably the pinnacle, and Day-by-Day Armageddon was considerably more compelling until it went off the rails)...but it was enjoyable enough. Part of me really thinks that the original author would have had some decent twists that would of upset the predictability carried out in this story line. But, it is what it is. You live with characters through two books, you want to find out what happens to them.
Slightly sub-par...but not bad.
I'll put it concisely: this was just a boring story. The first novel seemed a nonstop cadence of one creative character or event after another. This book lacks the creative supernatural flair, instead hinging upon the author's development of the main character's persona...which is not enough to drag the story through a series of events and settings that can best be described as stale and claustrophobic.
This isn't the most original writing in the world of unconventional superhero novels...and, quite frankly, Mur Lafferty ("Playing for Keeps, among others), Matthew Wayne Selznick (Brave Men Run), and Jeffrey R. DeRego (Union Dues) have done it better. Nonetheless, there is something just so implicitly honest in the writing that makes it an extraordinarily compelling story. I started listening on a morning run, and finished around 4 in the morning. I haven't gone through a book (audio or print) that quickly in several years.
Of course, the content and conflict of this novel is now made especially pertinent by current events (gay teen suicide, the "It Gets Better" project, and Don't Ask Don't Tell). Undoubtedly, this went into Audible's decision to pick up the 2007 book now. What can I say...good timing.
The story distills the essence of what is driving the success of modern zombie-survival fiction into a reliably entertaining, coherent and (until the unbelievably bizarre afterword) entirely believable storyline. A must "read" for any fan of zombie fiction--not as good as WWZ, but close.
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