Customer Reviews: The Beginning of the End (Apocalypse Z)
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on October 24, 2012
There are many reasons to love this book. First of all, it's utterly realistic. As a long time zombie books aficionado, I've found all classes of undead literature. I've enjoyed many books, but very few gave me the sense of wonder and down-to-earth feelings that I've got reading Manel Loureiro's Apocalypse Z. Also, the Nameless Lawyer is such an incredible achievement that, as a writer myself, made me jealous of Loureiro in every page. He is witty, he is clever, he is brave, he is a survivor. But above it all, the Nameless Lawyer is a real human being, and every one of us readers can feel his pain, his suffering, his angst. He takes care of his cat in the midst of the end of the world, for G*d's sake! You'll root for him till the very end of the book, which will let you desperately crying for more. Good news, my friend: there are two more books on the way, and are as good, realistic and fresh as this one.

PD: Luculus the Cat is the best character in an horror book ever.
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on November 18, 2012
This is not the best zombie apocalypse novel ever written; rather, it's a disappointingly mediocre zombie book, even to the reviewer, for whom almost any tale of undead Armageddon is a treat. The reason I gave it two stars instead of one, is that it is, after all, about zombies, instead of a chamomile-quaffing dilettante contemplating his navel.

Okay, the reasons I didn't like it are:

1. Only in the first fifteen pages or so are the societal repercussions of the fall of the civilized world discussed at all, and then only superficially. The most interesting part of zombie apocalypse tales is seeing how the world's structures first collapse, and then slowly coalesce around the survivors as they rebuild and regroup to fight the hordes. World War Z is a good example of how this is fascinating. Apocalypse Z, on the other hand, is basically chapter after chapter of the first-person narrator dodging around corners and spear-gunning a few zombies as he flees from storeroom to shack to boat. If "zombie" were replaced by "angry gorilla" throughout the entire book, the author wouldn't much have to change the rest of the plot. The book is like the record of a first-person shooter videogame in novel form.

2. The writing is bad. Is it the original or the translation that is responsible for the badness? I don't know, but the end result for the English language reader is the same. Bad in the way the writing in 50 Shades of Gray is bad: clunky, obvious, hammy. Instead of "Crap! I can't believe I let my desire for Christian's playful strength make me lower my guard." we have (paraphrased) "Crap! I can't believe I let my desire for a bath make me forget that the solar panels I conveniently installed two weeks ago can't supply enough wattage!" And of course, the barely illegal girl who eventually enters the story has a lithe, feline frame and "perky breasts"--perfect for zombie fighting. The takeaway point is that the language and composition give every scene a trivial aspect. I'm not trying to be snobbish here: for a great zombie story that uses an easy, streetwise language, check out Junot Diaz's "Monstro" in the New Yorker.

I don't write too many reviews, but the combination of this book's high star rating (which tricked me into buying it) and the unusual level of displeasure I had reading it, made me want to submit this to provide a little balance.
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on November 16, 2012
Let me start off by saying that I love postapocalyptic... well everything. I like the genre, I like the feel, I like the symbolism with our modern world, and I like landscapes where the establishment no longer exists. I tend to pad ratings for that genre, and I feel I did so with the 1 stars I gave this. 0 star is probably a more realistic rating of how I feel for it. I really wanted to like this. Sadly, that was not possible.

The initial concept of a journal was interesting, and the description of the fall was passable, but things rapidly deteriorated from there. I felt as the book progressed it became worse and the characters became paper thin. The dialogue was forced, the actions nonsensical, and the plot repetitive.

The writing itself left much to be desired. Perhaps this is a complication of translation, but I don't believe so. When I finish a paragraph about something bad happening I don't need the sentence, "This sucks!" finishing it off. I know it sucks Loureiro, I don't need it spoon fed to me.

I would have to highly discourage someone from reading this book, truly one of the worst attempts in this genre that I have read. Take a look at The Stand by Stephen King, The Passage by Justing Cronin, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Old Man and the Wasteland, World War Z, The Walking Dead graphic novel, and my personal favorite WOOL by Hugh Howey. Really, read the WOOL series. Its cheaper and sssoooo much better.
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on October 24, 2012
Too often in Z literature we see macho survivalist men taking it all in stride and simply dealing with the hordes that appear with almost aplomb. That is not what this novel is all about.

Loureiro has crafted a superb tale of horror and survival in the worst possible scenario. A lawyer and his cat, caught in the storm and taken along for a horrifying and amazing ride.

This tale is told specifically from the perspective of the lawyer - through his blog entries and then later his journal. The perspective is excellent, the writing compelling, and the story feels REAL! It's truly an artist who can grab a hold of the reader and not let go at all until the tale is done! The descriptions of the characters are superbly done, from the cat and the neighbor in the beginning, to the ship captain, Ukranian pilot, and Nun, it's the most compelling Z novel since World War Z!

The best part of this whole thing is that the Lawyer is NOT one of those macho types who thinks he can defeat the hordes and take back the world. He is a regular guy. A regular guy who learns through desperation how to survive in this post apocolyptic world. A man who has never fired a gun in his life, a man who loves his cat and risks his life for it, a man who cares about other human beings and makes every effort to keep those he finds alive.

The reader is taken along this roller coaster of a story through all the horrors, mistakes and injuries. Told from the perspective of a character thrust into this new insane world, it shows the amazing resilience of the human spirit.

A true page turner - You will have a hard time putting this one down!

There are a couple of areas where those who have technical hangups will spout "That's the wrong word", etc. Two things need to be understood:

1. this is written from the perspective of a person who may not have that technical expertise and therefore does not know the proper terminology.
2. The book was translated from Spanish and there may be some slight errors there.

Overall it's gripping, amazing and very hard to put down! Read this book!

Hope that helps.
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on November 8, 2012
After reading the sample, I decided to give this book a chance. I'm glad I did. The storyline was easy to follow and you become quickly engrossed in the main character's life. While zombies are the threat, this book is more about the social collapse as it unfolds through the eyes of the average Joe. This is a good read for a lazy weekend. I also want to say thanks to the author for taking the time to create that blood pumping zombie novel. For a real gem, check out the series The Remaining.
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on December 15, 2012
Apocalypse Z has an interesting premise- a Spaniard living alone with his cat gets caught up in the Zombie Apocalypse, and he continues to blog and write in a journal throughout his experiences. As far as satisfying the premise, the book is not bad. I read through the whole thing, so at some level it held my interest. Some (very few) parts of the book are very, very well written and poignant and communicate the horror and despair and helplessness of the situation. Most of the book, however, comes across like it was written by a hormonal, immature, and frightfully naive and ignorant 14 year old. The fact is that I have been reading "blogs" since the early 90's, and no one blogs like this. It was an interesting attempt, but in that it failed. Very few men (I thought there were manly men in Spain?) would have a pathological and completely mentally unstable relationship with a cat (I know, I know.. the cat is his only love and hope and he had the cat after his wife died and if he lost the cat he would just DIE! DIE! DIE! of hopelessness and despair! blah, blah, blah), and the number of times that he puts his own life, and the lives of others on the line because of his criminally stupid cat fetish is really irritating. The fact that the author has to remind us every ten pages that he is doing something stupid and ridiculous because he loves the cat, should tell you that something is seriously unbuttoned in this guy's pudding case. The author tells us, though, that "If you've ever owned a pet, you'd understand." Ummm. NO. I think you can love, honor, respect, and care for a pet, but it is always a pet - and putting human lives, and the lives of children, and your friends in danger because you have a seriously unstable cat thing is kind of scary. It is scary, because there are really people like that out there, and if the author's attempt was to portray a mentally deranged cat nut, then he did well.

I also was disturbed by this adult lawyer's immediate and sick sexual lust for what he first thought was a minor (hey, she turned out to be 17, but what the hell, she still looked like jail bait, right?). I have worked in prisons and been around some pretty sick puppies and I don't think I've met a single person who, in the middle of an apocalypse, surrounded by death, with a wounded friend maybe dying and waiting on him, smelling like fetid death and raw brain goo, would see a helpless child in the dark and immediately and go "DAMN! I GOTS TO GET ME SOME OF THAT!" and subsequently undressing her with his eyes. Even in prison, most prisoners hate pedophiles, and this story treads as close to the line as it can possibly get without breaking some Internet law somewhere. I was seriously more weirded out by that scene, then any of the gory zombie goo scenes.

Also, the hero here vomits, pukes, cries, and pines for his cat more than any character ever written. Hemingway, who loved Spain, would have shot this joker in the face.

This author has some talent, that is evident, and he occasionally showed it. But you do not want to be in his character's AO (area of operation) when TSHTF because he will get you killed over a cat, or possibly rape your minor daughter.
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on October 23, 2013
I am a huge fan of dystopic novels and of zombie fiction in general, and I've read quite a bit in this genre. In comparison, this storyline is not original or detailed, it has some major plot holes, and I am glad I only paid $1.00 for it. The story arc is so simple and the characters are very 2D, with no depth or true humanity.

This book is written entirely in first person form, as if it is a blog. However, it's really written more as a novel, not a blog entry. For example, one of the first few entries ends with "I had to turn off the radio and get to work. I was running late." Those are THOUGHTS, not something someone would write. If it was truly a blog entry, it would have read, "I've got to go. I'm running late." Additionally, there's very little description. For example, I didn't even know what the main character's cat looked like for the first 10% of the book, even though he refers to it constantly.

The setting is in Spain, so there will be some cultural differences and difficulties imagining the location, if you are American. However, it seems as if the author wanted to be able to relate to American audiences, because he mentions the temperature in Farenheight, and refers to Fox News. These discrepancies are sort of inauthentic, especially since WGN News is actually one of the only American stations that is broadcast overseas. Either set your story in Europe or don't.

The zombie infection begins as an unexplained flu or virus, which is fine, but drags on for pages. Despite infected people running around, violently attacking others and biting them, the main character fails to mention zombies until the last second, when he actually sees one. This is unrealistic as the time period is current. As zombies are all the rage now, that would be one of the first things people would think of. Additionally, the author or main character jumps into explaining how the zombies are attracted to noise and "all they think about is eating humans," but there was nothing in the action or the character's observations that would lead him to think this. The whole book is honestly just very badly written. I can't believe it got past an editor.
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on November 15, 2012
First, an admission: I'm not an especially big fan of zombie horror. I don't dislike them, but I don't go nuts over them either. I love horror novels in general, but I have no particular affection for zombies as a subject matter. Sure, I watch The Walking Dead, but mostly because everyone in the office watches it, and I'd feel like I was missing out on something if I didn't.

This book, Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End, had such fantastically enthusiastic reviews that I felt certain I would love it. Of course, after coming off the back-to-back highs of reading David Wong's John Dies at the End and This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It, perhaps the next book I read was destined to disappoint me. And this one certainly did.

I rarely begin a book without finishing it, and this was no exception, though, admittedly, I was eager for it to be over after getting maybe a third of the way through. The bottom line is that it felt completely unoriginal. That statement seems at odds with 99% of the other reviews here (and when that happens, I start finding the other reviews highly suspect), but at no point did I think, "Wow, this seems really fresh." No, it was simply a retelling of the same, tired zombie apocalypse story we've heard or watched over and over, with a few details changed.

The other problem I had was with the writing itself. Or, perhaps, the translation. I understand it was originally written in Spanish, and maybe it was simply a poor translation, but there was something very clipped and inelegant about the writing that I found extremely off-putting. It came off as sophomoric. Under the persona of the main character, the author described the situation and events as being like "hell" so many times that I literally started getting annoyed each time it happened.

The book was supposed to have been written in the format of a series of blog or journal entries. As the story progressed, though, it felt like the author gave up on trying to stick to the format and simply started writing a halting, first-person narrative. The sense of "this is what happened just now" was lost, and it began to feel very "in real-time."

In the end, it just felt unoriginal and unpolished. No charm, nothing compelling, only one semi-interesting character (Prit). It's not the worst book I've ever read, but I definitely wasn't a fan.
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on January 8, 2013
I am beginning not to trust any Amazon book review. If this gets 4.5 stars and the luminous "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" gets only 4, with about the same number of reviews, what the heck are reviews worth?

This book seems like it was written in a weekend. The whole plot can be summed up with "Guy and cat repeatedly and narrowly escape hordes of zombies". Most chapters end with a faux cliffhanger--"Oh no! Hordes of zombies are approaching!" And the next chapter starts "Here is how I escaped the hordes of zombies!"

Badly written, made worse by the first-person narrator. If you like reading sentences like "The meeting with the company reps went great!", "My chest swelled with joy," and "I felt like screaming for joy," this book is for you. The fact that there are apparently two more installments of this crap does not make my chest swell with joy, that's for sure.

Also, if you're a woman (and maybe also if you're a man), you're bound to be disgusted by the 9th hour appearance of a nubile, 17-year-old girl with "perky breasts" and "catlike green eyes" who ends up nibbling on the narrator's ear in the last chapter, which retroactively turns the obviously over-thirty narrator into a total skeev, and makes you want to avoid the next book (where doubtless they'll get it on) at all costs.

I borrowed this book for free and so I really can't complain about getting ripped off, but there's some hours of my life that I'd like to get back.
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VINE VOICEon November 8, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a solid zombie apocalypse tale that kept my interest from beginning to end. I definitely enjoyed reading it - it's exciting and scary and there's lot of good tension, plus the narrator/main character is very likeable and authentic - but it just didn't break any new zombie ground, in my opinion. I just kept feeling like I had read it before. I did like reading a zombie story from another country (Spain), since the perspective is different and some of the issues that come up and the ways certain events unfold are quite different from those in American zombie stories. I also think the characters have a bit more depth than the ones I find in most zombie tales, and one thing that was sort of new is the universal horror all those characters feel about what's happening (which is how it would be in real life, no? I mean, if the zombie apocalypse ACTUALLY happened, I bet I'd be vomiting and crying and going catatonic all the time, too! So I appreciate that). My only complaints about the book, besides it not adding anything new to the conversation, is the dated journal-style format (the dates don't match up properly with the narration, which gets super confusing at times) and also the plot point about the super duper top secret suitcase, which goes on and on and on and then was not at all resolved to my satisfaction. All in all, a mixed bag. If you're a zombie aficionado, definitely read this. If you're looking for only the best of the best zombie tales, I'm not sure I'd recommend it.
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