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.
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.
Devourer of all books fantasy
I had been wanted to read this book for some time. I loved zombie books and this one had a great premise. It was an entertaining book that ended up being more about dealing with other people than smashing up zombies...although there is a lot of zombie smashing as well.
I listened to this on audiobook and it was very well done. They have different voice actors for the different voices and blog comments. I highly recommend listening to this if you like audiobooks.
Alison is at work at a bookstore when it happens. People start turning into mindless zombies and eating each other. Luckily the break room is where the safe is and has a huge reinforced metal door. Now Alison is trapped with her co-workers in the bookstore break room. As the world crumbles apart outside, Alison decides to start a blog detailing the day to day events. Alison's story is submitted to a book being written about American heroes during the zombie crisis. As the reader we read it as blog entries.
There are a few things that are really interesting about the way this book is done. Firstly since Alison's story is being submitted for inclusion in a book about American heroes, we know that eventually humanity recovers from the horrible events that took place during Alison's life. Just that gives this book a more hopeful feel than many other zombie books I have read.
Secondly the book is done as blog entries. This is similar to Mira Grant's Newsflesh series, but much different in tone. Alison's entries are more like a personal diary. Also interesting is that comments to Alison's blog are posted at the end of each entry. From these comments we get to see what is happening to the rest of the world; we hear about how other people are surviving and how the rest of the world is fairing.
Alison is an awesome character. She is your typical grad student but she will do what needs being done. No matter how gross or gory. I was a little surprised in the beginning of the book at the inaction of her coworkers. None of her coworkers did anything, they were all victims...Alison had to spur them into action. I found this to be kind of unrealistic; I mean I can't imagine my coworkers ever being that apathetic but I guess I work with engineers not book store employees...so it may just be different.
Most of this book isn't about slaying zombies. It's about making a life for yourself in the chaos and dealing with all of the people (good and bad) that cross your life. As with many zombie books, in the end the zombies aren't the problem...it's all the crazy people you have to deal with in a society that has completely broken down that are the problem.
Is this book gory, heck yeah! Is it sad at times? Yep. But there are also some interesting revelations about life and the meaning of it in here too. There is also a sweet romance between Alison and one of the men she meets that offsets a lot of the violence. I should mention this is a book for adults. Alison swears a lot (I mean boatloads) and sex is discussed quite a bit (although there isn't anything really explicit). There are also some surgery scenes that made me squirm.
The end of the book is pretty predictable, but that being said this is one of the more hopeful zombie books that I have read. Things actually end in a somewhat hopeful way.
Overall this is a very good read. The story is told in a creative way and I really enjoyed Alison as a character. Alison is a tough, ax-toting survivor, but along the way she learns a lot about herself and those around her. There is a sweet romance in here, lots of crazy escapes, and lots of chopping up zombies with axes. I still enjoyed The Angels are the Reapers and Night of the Living Trekkies better; but I would still highly recommend this book to zombie fans out there.
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.
This was the first zombie book I've had the pleasure to listen to. Not at all what I expected and that's a good thing...! I could not stop listening to this book! You've just got to find out what will happen next to these characters. Just enough gore to remind you that it is a book about zombies and it has characters you can really care about. Looking forward to listening to a sequel. Nicely done!
I'm married with 3 children and 2 grandchildren. Love to read books, and love to listen to audio books. Genre's UF/Sci-Fi/ dystopian/ fiction and mystery/thrillers
I may, it was a easy listen.
There were many memorable moments,
This was my first listen by the narrator, she did a really good job :)
Not really, this is more a action book.
Interesting story line.
i liked how the story started with employees at a book store.
i think the narrator fit the character quite well.
it was worth the credit and i would listen again.
I remember this story before it got published, back when it was a fictional blog that I came upon through fazed. In it's original medium it felt more interactive, it's nice to see some of the comments made it into the final published work. Can't wait until Madeleine's next release!!!!!!
This audiobook starts out interesting but does not give you any great thrills.
It is very slow going. The overall story gets summed up in the last 3 minutes of the book.
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