When the world ends, can love survive?
For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone means fighting for tomorrow is an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can't remember what it's like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda's biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.
When reports of a widespread, deadly "outbreak" begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can't outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy - an enemy who no longer remembers what it's like to be human.
Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you'd die for becomes the one who could destroy you?
Red Hill grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go until its stunning conclusion. This is #1 New York Times best-selling author Jamie McGuire at her unforgettable best.
©2013 Jamie McGuire (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
I love to read and listen to books. I teach and share my love with my teenager and I'd like to share that love with you.
When I set eyes on this cover and realized that EMMA GALVIN teamed up to narrate another of McGUIRE’s works, I had to give it a listen. The combination of McGUIRE, GALVIN, and Zombies is so up my alley that friend Felicia @ The Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog was going to send me the audio to review. But alas, I had already cashed in an Audible credit and marked it “Read.”
You’ll spend a little over half of the book with our three narrators on the run toward RED HILL. Though I could totally feel their anxiety and fear, I had a hard time connecting with the characters and their storylines. But I knew once they all hit RED HILL, things would happen. And they do. Their lives start to intertwine and complicate. I guess messy and complicated should be expected when a zombie apocalypse is thrust upon you. The relationships I enjoyed the most were those of the college kids. They rewarded you with loyal and sweet to uncomfortable and questioning.
Scarlet, Scarlet, Scarlet. I think you caused me the greatest pain. I felt your actions were overly selfish and reckless. They diminished my views towards RED HILL and toward your badassness.
EMMA GALVIN is always a favorite and she doesn’t disappoint here. She captures the youthful hopefulness of our college characters. She made me care about Miranda and the things that burdened her heart plus want to protect those that were important to her. ZACHARY WEBBER‘s stiff, calculated resolve made Nathan hard to connect with on the run. But at RED HILL, it fit what his character needed to be. He had to keep calm for the sake of the children and hold down the fort. JANUARY LAVOY’s Scarlet was hard to read. She was kind of stoic. But in hindsight, it was really one of those creepy calms that has something unhinged bubbling underneath. She was protective and courageous, but it twists into something I couldn’t resolve myself to appreciate in the end.
It is one of those books that makes wonder if the lives lost were worth the ones saved.
Avid reader, enthusiastic book club organizer, aspiring writer & devoted mommy of one Doberman puppy, Maddox, and one Half-Arab mare Kissy.
So, Jamie McGuire’s new book, Red Hill, good? Bad? Ugly? Well I can tell you one thing, it definitely is not Beautiful. I mean, duh, it IS about Zombies, so who would expect beauty, but it also isn’t anything like her previous two books, Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster. The main difference is that this book is not New Adult. Despite the tag line on the back cover of the book, “When the world ends, can love survive?” this is not a romance. While there is romance in the book, it is never the plot’s central theme. My overall impression of Red Hill was that it read like an episode of what I imagined the TV series, the Walking Dead to be like. I have never seen a single episode, so I could be way off, but that was my main impression. The book is told from the alternating viewpoints of Scarlet, an x-ray tech and single mother of 2 girls, Nathan, who has a daughter and a less than present wife, and Miranda, a college student en route to her father’s ranch with her sister and their boyfriends. While the different narratives are all told from the first person, I still felt slight removed from these characters. Scarlet is tough and determined. Nathan is nurturing and likable and Miranda is confused about her relationship with her boyfriend and her intense attraction to a new comer to their little community at Red Hill Ranch. The story tracks these three until they all make their way to the ranch. On the way to the ranch, they each see or unknowingly interact with each other, but never realize it until after they reach the ranch. The relationships in this book are all over the place. Nathan and Scarlet’s love was a little unbelievable to me and Miranda and Joey’s story was too underdeveloped for me to feel any real emotion. While the characters go through a lot, I cannot say for certain whether they truly grew or not. The plot was exciting, if not predictable. However, the ending I did NOT predict. The entire book, Scarlet is waiting for her two girls to find their way to the ranch. After months, everyone but Scarlet thinks the girls must be dead. I will not tell you if the girls ever make it to the ranch or not, you have to read the book to find out for yourself, but I will say that McGuire kept me guessing until the end. I do not know if the ending of the book is satisfying enough given all that these characters endure. One complaint I did have is that the end is told only from Scarlet’s point of view and I felt that there really should have been follow up with Nathan’s and even Miranda’s characters. There was a lot of action in this story and the plot advanced at a nice pace, never leaving this reader bored. While it was not my favorite, (I never truly connected with the characters or felt any real emotion with this book) I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in reading an intense, plausibe survival account of a zombie apocalypse. As a side note, I thought the narration was top notch. And just a small tid bit of "neat-o" the voice of Nathan is read by Zachary Webber, Tammara Webber(author of Easy)'s son.
Oh, why didn't I listen to other reviewers--the ones with brains who said not to bother with this tripe? I should have read the ones with spoiler alerts.
I don't usually like to write reviews with spoilers, but without them, it's pretty tough to dissuade someone from wasting their time and money so I might as well go whole hog.
That said, here's the spoiler alert review as to why this book is best avoided:
Because the author can't tell a decent story, though the writing itself is decent. Did this writer not have an editor? Or a writing group who would have said, "Uh, these fifteen (or however many) things you do in this novel going to be so very unsatisfying for the reader, because what you've done is stupid, illogical, lazy, etc." Or, "Gee, you sure you want to kill off half your cast of characters with barely a 'fare thee well'?"
McGuire gives us Scarlet, one of the main characters who is so obsessed about finding her children that she gets a number of characters killed. Not only does the author kill off a number of the likeable and decent characters, said author sometimes does so in what probably amounts to a paragraph (if you were reading instead of listening). Most times it's told and not even shown in a scene. If that's not lazy writing, I don't know what is. Nobody likes it when characters they like die, but a decent writer knows how to do it in a "satisfying" way. Additionally, the author could have given the characters other reasons for "clearing" the town so some of the deaths wouldn't have been so senseless and a direct result of Scarlet's irrational thinking.
What's worse, after the author kills off many of the main characters, Scarlet's kids coming strolling on down the road after months and months.
What's the point of a minor love triangle when the author kills off all three of those characters?
Autistic (very high-functioning) kid who is never identified as such. If you don't know anything about autism, some of what the author writes might be a little mystifying.
They are not very diligent about keeping watch for the walking dead, which is the main cause of another senseless death.
The ending: Since only one character I cared about survived Scarlet's obsession, I didn't really care what happened.
I could go on, but I think that ought to be enough to warn people away from a novel that was probably written during NaNoWriMo--that's an "event" when you write a novel in one month--and was never edited.
Female narrator who does Scarlet: Excellent
Female narrator who does Miranda: Ok
Male narrator: Rather monotone
I'm an audiobook addict and blog about books at The Reading Date. My favorite genres are YA, New Adult, Fiction & Memoirs.
Red Hill is more of a character study than a non-stop zombie killing adventure. Scarlet’s character is at the center of the action- she’s the mother figure to the group, and also one of the best at taking down zombies, aka creepers/shufflers/teds. She holds on to the hope that she will be with her daughters again and that’s what keeps her going.
The story picked up steam for me once the gang got together at Red Hill. Before that time, they were isolated and dodging zombies separately, and my mind would start to wander. There’s lots of time spent on the journey to Red Hill. And with the shift in perspectives, I felt a little detached from the characters.
When the group meets up at Red Hill though, things get a little less predictable and a lot more dangerous. Character bonds are formed. The danger kind of sneaks up on you, and there are some whoa, I can’t believe this is happening moments. The slow pace of the novel makes any fight or death scene that much more impactful. And McGuire makes some bold choices with the conclusion that took me off guard.
I picked up the audiobook because I saw Emma Galvin was one of the narrators. Galvin reads Miranda’s part, January LaVoy is Scarlet, and of course Zachary Webber is Nathan. Galvin is very strong with action scenes and bringing the emotional intensity to her reading- she reads Divergent so this is right up her alley. LaVoy sounds age-appropriate for Scarlet, and you can feel her concern for her kids. Webber’s Nathan has a smooth, calm voice that’s perfect for the character. The narration is good, and sets the mood for the story. Emma Galvin’s intensity stands out among the trio but that’s also the nature of her character. The novel’s slow pace did make the audiobook feel longer than 9.5 hours.
Red Hill is zombie fiction, rather than NA or YA and is such a departure for Jamie McGuire I’m not sure it’s a natural fit for her NA/romance fans. Then again, with the focus not on zombie killing action, it’s not a slam-dunk for zombie lovers either. I’m not into zombies, but even I think there should have been more action and scares.
Red Hill may be a good choice for someone who reads fiction and wants to dip their toes in the zombie pool. There’s not too much romance and it’s not keep-you-up-at-night scary. It has a Walking Dead vibe to it, and you’ll be thinking more about how you’d survive in a zombie apocalypse.
Lover of all books, especially Romance!
This is a great book, a strong women that refuses to give up yet remains true to herself and others. It is zombie like but zombies aren't the basis of the story the basis is faith, hope and overcoming tragic events. A little love mixed it helps. The characters are richly developed, I was attached from the beginning. Nothing hokey here just a well written story that pulls the heart strings, takes you away from reality with characters everyone can relate to. Enjoy! Highly recommend.
I thought this would be post apocalyptic and instead it was a zombie book. Perhaps I read something wrong. Something about the readers drove me nuts - had to stop reading it as I just couldn't stand to listen to them.
yes and- no- I still love a good post apocalyptic story as long as there are no zombie
possibly- one of the narrators read Agilent and she was not bad in that book but I think having heard them read this book does turn me off.
I’m torn about my feelings for this book. It’s one of the few times (maybe even the first) when I’ve read a book that was a definite 5 star read, one that would be a contender for top book of the year, but then the ending changes that reaction drastically.
For me, Red Hill is a great book. The characters that McGuire writes are very well written and complex. There’s no lack of detail in the setting either. There’s a lot of action when there needs to be and some slower scenes to build up suspense. As I said, about 95% of the book was one of the best I’ve read in awhile, especially in the zombie genre.
It wasn’t until the end that I had a change of attitude. I don’t like picking at a book for a small part of it, but the ending of Red Hill just doesn’t sit right with me. For one thing, it was predictable, especially given the genre, but that can be overlooked if not for a few other factors. Another thing is that it basically turned many of the main characters into secondary characters. It’s not that they were forgotten, instead they were pushed aside to make way for (even though I considered these characters the underlying main attraction) a few to become the major players. Overall, it felt too rushed. The book was very well written and thought out, and then there was a rush to end the book, almost.
Lastly, and I’ll keep this brief, I felt the epilogue didn’t even belong in this book. I can see it as a way to set up an avenue for a sequel…though I feel it’ll be a very different book than this one and much less believable (if we allow room for some “realism” in the zombie genre). It added an interesting concept, but it was out of place for what I’d just read.
Despite the fact that the ending left me not so comfortable calling this one of my favorite books, a majority of it was great. Spectacular even. I can understand why there’s a great buzz around Red Hill. Just be ready for a possible change of heart come the ending, or not, depends on the reader, I guess.
Not sure, but perhaps just to avoid the reading of Miranda chapters.
The suspense and being able to relate to the characters.
I am not a fan of zombie stories but this one may have changed my mind about all that. It was great!!! However, the reader for Miranda was very very difficult to listen to, almost like nails on a chalkboard.
The characters are realistic and likable. The convergence of the storyline was setup very well.
When the children come home.
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