One woman's story as she blogs about - and fights back against - the zombie apocalypse.
Allison Hewitt and her five colleagues at the Brooks and Peabody Bookstore are trapped together when the zombie outbreak hits. Allison reaches out for help through her blog, writing on her laptop and utilizing the military's emergency wireless network (SNET). It may also be her only chance to reach her mother. But as the reality of their situation sinks in, Allison's blog becomes a harrowing account of her edge-of-the-seat adventures (with some witty sarcasm thrown in) as she and her companions fight their way through ravenous zombies and sometimes even more dangerous humans.
Narrated by Piper Goodeve and a full cast.
©2011 Madeleine Roux (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Madeline Roux manages to answer the eternal question all of us must ask ourselves eventually: 'When the zombie apocalypse comes (and it will come), how will I handle it?' For my part, I hope I manage it with as much humanity and determination as Allison. But I would like to make a request for bigger weapons." (Christine Warren, New York Times best-selling author of The Others series)
As a book lover myself I had to appreciate a story that starts out set in a book store which is written in blog format. Allison Hewitt, the lead of our story naturally, is a graduate student in English. Which overall would make you think that she has little use in a zombie outbreak scenario. But she proves that wrong, with her quick and expert utilization of a fire axe.
Written as a find in the future that is being submitted to a literary collection addressing the zombie outbreak, this novel collects the posts and comments (which give a nice flavor for how the rest of the country is dealing with things, something that is often lacking in other books once the comm's go down (taken care by the concept of SafeNet, a (almost magical network to a techie like me) network that was meant for last minute coordination in a grid down scenario)). Any story where the main character almost gets whacked because she is so focused on getting some new reading material to alleviate the boredom is one that I enjoy and relate to. Of course I have a harder time seeing myself being so unprepared and untrained as she is, but it is things like that which make the character relate able.
Overall a well written novel that provides a satisfying end for the story, with a unique voice and very familiar writing style. Only part of the audiobook I didn't like was the whole keyboard clicking during the comments sections... really unecessary.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
Overall, it is an above average zombie novel with decent writing and decent characterizations. The flow of the story was off a bit though - it felt like 3 vignettes woven together, and not all parts were equally sensible. Part 1 was Allison trapped in a store where people behaved pretty much as you would expect. Part 2 was Allison in a re-purposed FEMA camp which, for 3/4 of the section was reasonable behavior, but then, last 1/4 stuff happened that made no sense and was based on some strange stereotype around religious women. Part 3 was a 'road trip' segment which felt the most rushed (i.e. Allison did a lot of stuff in part 3 while parts 1 & 2 she kinda just sat around on her bottom and ordered people around).
The weakest part was the 'romantic' component... I had thought I heard that Collin was in his 50s, but when Allison took up with him, I figured I must have mis-heard it. This whole relationship is glossed over, however - other than a couple mentions that they shared a tent, there was not much contact/mush between them. Until she leaves, which was... weird, because all of a sudden the relationship which was pretty understated to this point became front and center to her motivation to leave, on her own, in a zombie infested world. Then the next 1/4 of the book focuses on her pining over him. I want to emphasize... 1/4 of book spent pining over some old married guy she had just met.
It is wrapped up okay - and the female characters were competent and real and not there as man-prizes, so that is a big shift in zombie fiction. And I did kinda like Allison... I just thought the actual storyline was a bit choppy, and the romantic component was contrived. I also quite liked the blogging component which allowed for little glimpses into how the apocalypse was affecting people outside of Allison's sphere.
I will certainly read more by this author - if only because these female characters are not merely vaginas. The narration is very good. There isn't much gore, for a zombie book, only occasional swearing and no sex.
The good: Fine narration and the author is very descriptive and tries hard to establish characters, soemtimes effectively. It deosn't deteriorate into a dumb action/gore story, which I feared it would.
The bad: It starts out all right, with a story line and characters we can begin to follow and care about. But it degrades it to some endless twist-a-plot, with new scenarios at every turn, none related to the one that came before, established characters discarded with no continuity to move on to the next piece in a way that feels disconnected and not well planned. The internal machinations and goings on of the main character stop being moving at a point when it is so disjointed and far too many plot twists and new characters are in play.
The main character loves her missing mother and has a bog to inspire others, both of which get abandoned as nothing for long portions then recalled when the plot lags, as a convenience, rather than a defining mission it seems.
On the whole it started out ok, but too many characters, too many plot changes, nothing is followed through, as though there was no real plan for the story - even the main character's blog starts to feel like an interjection or a footnote, though it is supposed to be the defining means of conveying the story.
In a lot of ways, it is like it's own medium - a blog. The main drive of the story is supposed to be a personal blig durign a zombie apolcolypse. And like most personal blogs, it is disjointed and feels random... though it has a zombie apocolypse to define it, the story itself has a meandering, amateur personal bloggy feel to it.
For those sci fi, there is none of that here - no explanations or exploration of why the zmbies have happened, there is no medical accouint of it - no explanation or even a description of how it happened. Not that this is a bad thing - but just understand that this is a character study, not a piece of sci-fi or a medical thriller, or even a survival story
I liked that this story remained narrow-focussed and intimate. And it kept to that track almost throughout, and only got a little broader towards the end. Allison's survival depended upon making lucky choices a lot of the time, but after a while you start having to wonder when that luck was going to run out.
There was good character development here, and the tragedy and its impact on the characters is explored convincingly.
I've read several zombie novels now that rely upon a "diary" structure, and personally I don't know what the motivation is for that construction. It's not necessary to the story, and in many places punctures the tension due to the obvious "I lived to write about it" necessity of the form. Yes, it's used to bookend the story, but for me it could have been scrapped in lieu of a straightforward narrative and been the better for it.
Overall a very good listen, though, and I will look out for more from this author.
Todd W. Brown
This book started very strong. It was at a fast pace and it made you want to know what would happen next. Allison gives a female voice to a genre that is heavily skewed to the male action hero/everyman type. That was a refreshing change. I did knock one star off for the mid part of the book where Allison just got a bit too soupy over the older man...but the story was still VERY solid.
However, at around the midpoint, she got a bit too "girly" for how her character had been reacting up to that point. All of a sudden, we get the "schoolgirl crush" version of what had been a strong female lead. I am not against tossing in the romantic tension angle, but Allison just did not seem "in character" when she was pining over the older (married) man.
What really made this story work for me besides the fact that it is a well-told tale (despite my slight knock against the pithy Allison in the middle of the book) was the voice talent that did the narration. I will be looking into more of her work as well as the author.
More stories about wishing a guy would like her than anything about surviving the apocalypse. Unrealistic and boring most the time. Had a great start, and I liked the blog premise. Characters are one sided and don't grow or change, despite circumstances. Most of the conflict is inadequately explained or glossed over, while her day dreamy thoughts about relationships get tons of detail.
I also didn't like how the comments barely mentioned other people's circumstances. Other people's stories are barely mentioned. In a halfway real story, blogs would be filled with stories, tips and tricks. Not "oh Allison! We miss you, keep blogging!" Every post.
As you have probably gathered, I do not recommend this book.
Mother of 8, grandmother of 12, RN and book nerd
I probably wouldn't have found this book if it hadn't been fIeatured on sale. I put off ordering it until last night. I have not been able to put it down! Great story, great characters and the narration is perfect. Well worth the credit even if it weren't on sale. Got it for sale price and saved the credit. Zombies and much more. Enjoy :)
Post apocalyptic listener with some thrillers mixed in. Follow me on twitter at @drewsant
Written as a blog, this “zombie” book doesn’t actually have much in the way of zombies but is entertaining none the less. The story takes you through the early days of the outbreak and beyond as a small group of survivors as they make their way through this word and try to survive. The voice of its young author come through loud and clear in this one and I think anyone from 20-40 will find this book right up their alley. It’s got plenty of action as the group finds itself in trouble more often than not but it’s mostly from other survivors with the undead making an appearance every so often. Other than some blood lust every once and a while the characters are likable and quickly form a bond that makes you feel as if you’re right in there with them. My only real complaint about the story would have to be that since its told through a blog and the way it’s written (the emotions mentioned) tells you that you’re reading a firsthand account not an observation or retelling so you know that she made it out of that alive. I know that comment is probably bit nit-picky since the hero escapes in 95% of books anyways, it’s really the journey that brings the suspense and this one does a good job.
Ms. Goodeve does a good job all around and the cast reading the comments was a nice touch.
Mu favorites are paranormal, supernatural, post-apocalyptic, and horror!
I enjoyed this book and found the style to be unique and fun - storytelling through her blog, followed by "comments" offered by her blog readers. It fit well. I didn't expect much as i have read many zombie books and figured it couldn't have much of anything new to offer, but the story was different and the characters were fun - even the ones i hated along with Allison. Where many zombie books i have read focus on the action, this novel also paid enough attention to the small details that helped the setting feel more realistic (i.e how and where to dispose of their waste?, trying to track down an internet signal, or trying to invent their version of Molotov cocktails based on what she had seen in the movies)! Allison is a brave, inventive, ax-wielding female who proved she could take care of herself, but never had to do so alone. When the world has fallen to crap - friends are detrimental to one's survival. I would like to listen to this story again someday and would therefore rate this it 4****s.
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