I strongly recommend this book. I really enjoyed the first two in this series, but this one really caught me by surprise. Once I realized where this book was headed, it had two strikes against it. It didn't involve the Monster Hunter International team, and it was a werewolf story. Earl was not one of my favorite characters, and I have no interest in werewolf stories.
But it turned out to be such an great story, expertly told, I couldn't stop listening. I even found myself cheering out loud near the end.
The narrator is a good choice and has done a good job with this series. I don't know if he was intentionally doing a "Christopher Walken" voice for Nikolai, but that voice cracked me up.
The book is very entertaining, overall. The problem with this book is that the plot moves forward at a snail's pace (no, at a fraction of a snail's pace) because it is constantly being interrupted with long episodes of back-story. And the back-story seems largely irrelevant at the time. It doesn't help that the back-story is way overdone.
The writer could tease some of what's coming to keep you reading (or listening) but tell the story chronologically. That way you're not waiting to find out what happens next while she takes time out to drone on and on about her teenage heartthrob. There's one spot in particular where this style is very frustrating. Within the span of about a minute or two of the main story, she takes a break to spend what seems like hours thinking back about what happened with her little brother.
I understand some of the reasons why it was written this way, and I won't post a spoiler in order to explain it. As an editor, however, I know there are other ways of leading the reader toward an essential focal point. I almost gave up on the book a couple of times, and that's not a good thing.
I've only just listened to this first in the series, but so far it's the best zombie book I've head on Audible. It has a perfect blend of character development, humor, suspense, and horror. I lost a few hours of sleep listening to this at night. My wife, who knows English but not well enough to concentrate on following the story, couldn't understand why I was cracking up while lying in my bed trying to fall asleep to this novel. In the end, I had to turn it off, because I couldn't stop listening.
My mind often wanders while listening to a story, and I'll sometimes I'll "wake up" and realize I didn't actually hear the last 20 minutes or so. In most cases, I just focus my attention again and keep going. Not with this book. I had to go back and listen to every word.
Get this book. Here's how good it is: I didn't have the credits to buy this and the next book, but the first was so worth the price, I paid for the second rather than wait for my next credit to kick in. I can't wait to hear what happens next.
The narrator is excellent in delivery, but his voice isn't crisp and clear, so if your hearing isn't perfect, it can sometimes take effort to follow every word. Most people shouldn't even notice, though.
Great writers. Great narrator. But while I was hoping this wouldn't be another episode of Scooby Doo for the literary guild, that's exactly what it was.
It's a spooky demon or the devil killing people! No, pull off his mask and it's actually the Kwazy Kount and his Microwave Ray Gun! And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for that meddling Pendergast.
Ok, I've read enough of these guys to know they would never actually introduce a real demon into a story, but a microwave ray gun? Really? That "heats from the inside-out" (okay, that's ALMOST true, depending on what you're heating) slowly enough to create bubbling agony but somehow magically avoids heat conduction or wave bouncing and cremates half a head and leaves the other half intact? If you're going to just make up a weapon out of thin air that isn't based on solid scientific grounds, be more creative than a microwave ray gun. Criminy. The writers hint at other possible causes of death, which would have been far more interesting... but you're stuck with the ray gun.
And there are whole chapters that are nothing but filler. I skipped past every chapter dealing with the story in the Post, and when I browsed them later, confirmed that I missed absolutely nothing.
Given all the above, I'm not sure why I enjoyed it so much, but I did.
The Stealth character is a super genius with the body of a sex goddess, and she shows it off by wearing a painted-on costume with straps. I don't know if it was Khristine Hvam's interpretation of Stealth or if it was Peter Clines' intent, but the Stealth character comes across as a stuck-up self-obsessed b*tch. If she was just another character, her personality might have been amusing and could have added a little humor. But the fact that she's the leader makes the book less believable and less enjoyable than it otherwise might have been.
In addition, the book was too short, and it failed to fill several plot holes. Still, the concept was inventive and it was well worth the credit. I'll give Ex-Patriots a try.
I have to disagree with most of the reviewers here. This was a fun novel, and I'm glad I bought it. But it was disappointing compared to the first novel. The "bad guy" characters were all rather trite. There were also a number of elements in the plot (and plot connections) that were blatantly obvious, yet the supposedly brilliant people and the supercomputer at the Department of Military Sciences had a hard time figuring out. If it's that obvious to a reader, it kills the suspension of disbelief when it's presented as a startling revelation to the characters.
I became an instant Jonathan Maberry and Ray Porter fan with this book. It had the perfect balance of tension, excitement, humor, and snark. I can't imagine a better narrator than Ray Porter. He IS Joe Ledger.
Junk food for the mind. I got tired of the story about halfway through, but when I came back to it, it picked up and was good fun all the way to the end. There are some great moments in the story where he pokes fun at the fantasy genre.
I just bought the second in the series, and I'm looking forward to listening to it.
I've read both novels in this series, and I enjoyed both immensely, despite some flaws in each. The second one really leaves you hanging, so I'm looking forward to the third.
The way Bourne tells the tale made me feel like I was there, experiencing it. I don't have a fraction of the weapons and survival knowledge Bourne obviously has, but that didn't spoil it for me at all. There are some holes in the plot, and he leaves some obvious questions unanswered, but these problems are easily overlooked.
If you like zombie OR apocalyptic novels, get this one.
A better plot? Some twists and turns?
There are only two decent things to say about the book: The clever idea of why the plague was used, and the tease that there might be a follow-up book after the plague spreads to the entire world.
Outside of that, the whole book could easily be compressed into the exposition for a much better book. It was 80% filler consisting of,
Monster Hunter Vendetta. Junky fiction, but fun.
Ray Porter does an excellent job on the Ledger books. Maybe him.
If you're looking for a good zombie book, try Day by Day Armageddon. It may have even less of a plot than this book, but it's somehow riveting, anyway. There's something more compelling about a true apocalyptic novel where the whole country or world has been infected (or otherwise destroyed). I'm not sure why - maybe it raises the tension that the survivors really are completely alone, at least as far as they know. Of the Maberry novels I've read, they've all kept the problems confined to much smaller areas with only the threat of going global.
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