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4.2 out of 5 stars
The Beginning of the End (Apocalypse Z)
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
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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52 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Wow, where to begin? As I write this, my cute little cat is contemplating my next move. Will I feed the prince? Wait, I think I heard a noise. My heart is in my throat, but I must be strong for my furry friend. I'm just starting to get over the loss of my $4. I thought I would cry as I went from page to page with no hope in site. Not a single page was well-written. Damnit! Then I had a plan, just crazy enough to work! I shouted to the night sky "Damnit, I won't download another Apocalypse Z book!". And I won't. That's the plan. Mr. Furry Pants looks happy, almost like he understands.

If this doesn't sound familiar, download this book and it will.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 4, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Zombies have had the power to scare the snot out of me since I was a little girl and my Dad was watching a weekend matinee zombie movie. The images of the shuffling undead relentlessly coming after the protagonists (and by extension me) figured prominently in my nightmare for weeks. Likewise, I had to be careful about reading this book at bedtime because once again zombies started invading my sleep.

This book is told in the form of journal entries by a lawyer (whose name we never learn) from the Spanish province of Galicia. If you are as unfamiliar with the regions of Spain as I was, I suggest you look at a map before you start reading because the character makes some journeys and I think it would enhance the reading experience if you could picture the geography. Things start out fairly innocuously with news about some troubles in Russia that doesn't sound any more serious than the problems the lawyer has with the local electrical power or the weather. But then what had appeared to be a political problem turns into a health crisis and day by day the problem in Russia starts drawing in the world. But the news about this epidemic is confusing and incomplete until it is too late for most people. I found this part of the book really interesting because the reader knows it is zombies from the start even when Mr. Lawyer (as a later character dubs him) and most of the population is being kept in the dark.

This book is of the "running from the zombies" type of zombie novel. Mr. Lawyer starts out trying to stay in his home with his cat Lucullus, but eventually realizes he has to leave and he goes on a journey in search of a safe place. Mostly he ends up going from one dangerous situation to another and always the zombies are just one bad decision away from catching him. And not all of the danger is from the zombies.

One thing that both humanized Mr. Lawyer and gave the reader a break from the constant zombie pursuit was the cat Lucullus. The lawyer had recently lost his wife and the cat was both companion animal and his link to his old life.

This wasn't my favorite zombie book (I really enjoyed Jonathan Mayberrry's zombie books as well as Breathers: A Zombie's Lament), but it is scary and full of action. In most cases, the author does a great job of setting up how it is that the lawyer has certain things in his possession or skills that help him. But in a couple cases there is internal inconsistency -- in one chapter the lawyer is freaked out about catching the disease from saliva or blood from a zombie, but in a later chapter he gets covered in zombie brains or blood and doesn't react, thenm goes back to being freaked out about the blood in a later yet chapter. But I don't read zombie novels for realism and it was entertaining and enjoyable despite this little inconsistency.

It is the first of three novels, so you should know that up front and not be surprised at the cliffhanger ending. I'm curious what happens in the next two books. If you are fluent in Spanish, you can read them without waiting for the translated versions. This book was a bestseller in Spain (and elsewhere) in 2007 but only translated into English this year.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The book "Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End" is an excellent beginning; and it did end way too soon. I was very disappointed not to be able to continue on with the story right away. I only wish that I was fluent in Spanish. Hopefully, the next book in the series will be translated into English soon. I loved the "blog" format. Once I started reading, I didn't want to stop. I don't want to give anything away, but Lucullus lives!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In some ways this is one of the best zombie outbreak books ever written. The scenes of horror are realistic beyond anything in the genera. The book is not particularly gory but some of the events are absolutely chilling. So why is this not a five star review? The diary style of writing is so over done at this point it nearly ruined the book for me. I have read a LOT of zombie horror but this is the first time where I was thinking, I can only read... "I can't believe I am still alive" paraphrased so many different ways before I want to throw my hands up and yell get on with it! So the story frame totally stinks but the picture itself is fantastic.

Pick it up and you will enjoy a couple long nights reading your way through images of hell.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I borrowed this book on my Kindle being in the mood for a zombie story and it was well worth the read. Kindle formatting which I find to be an issue with quite a few books was outstanding. It's a solid read but I certainly wouldn't rate it above 3 and half stars and would expect the author Manel Loureiro will probably improve his style in the next couple of books. The first issue I had is with the journal style of the story, it's a fairly obvious crutch for a first time writer but where it falls apart is during the final act of the story where the protagonist is running around in a hospital. The style of writing obviously changes from journal entry to direct observation and although it doesn't take away from the story it shows the chosen style doesn't fit Loureiro's ability to tell what is the most action driven part of the book. Another issue is the obvious MacGuffin of the locked briefcase that our hero has to retrieve. It just seemed completely unbelievable as a plot point and really didn't resolve in a satisfactory way at all. It did however move the story to the hospital and get the protagonist from his sheltered boat and dealing with other survivors. Just not in a realistic fashion. Which is too bad considering the style in which the nameless lawyer's journal is written is very realistic, especially in how it portray's the debilitating affects of dealing with zombies and the PTSD that people who survive would undoubtedly have to contend with.

It's basically a mixed bag of readability dragged down by some deus ex machina and some great realistic first person exposition.

If you love zombie stories then it should be a no-brainer purchase.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Kept me engrossed the whole time. Louriero...and translator...have an easy style that made the pages fly by. The only writing bump was L's insistence on ending too many chapters with "...and I needed to do it fast." This attempt to heighten tension had the opposite effect, jolting me out of the story because I was repeatedly being hit over the head with the same pacing technique.

The conceit of writing this as a series of blog or journal entries worked well. It was such a natural framework that it highlighted missed opportunities for character development.
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When our protagonist met the two survivors in the hospital, he must have had an emotional reaction to having company after so long alone or almost alone. And they were female! Surely this would have brought up thoughts from him. His acceptance of them without much comment means either that he's not introspective...which I don't buy, since he muses about other psychological matters, like his growing numbness to violence...or maybe the author was afraid to lose forward momentum. Or maybe some other reason, but in any case I wanted to catch more of our protagonist's inner life at such moments. The blank spot of months spent recuperating, but missing entirely from the journal, was a wasted opportunity both in character development and in pacing, which would have benefited from a break in the constant rhythm of fight-run-fight.

I look forward to the next translated book in the series, when we'll have a chance to observe our protagonist against the backdrop of increased human interaction.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Okay, I've always liked zombies. But this book is in a class of its own. The narrator is funny, sarcastic, and amazing. The cat? Well, he's my favorite character, lol. The thing I liked best about this book is that it is just so plausible. Yes, there are zombies. But if the undead ever start strolling down the streets, I imagine it would come about in just such a way. I give this book my highest recommendation for any zombie fan! The writing is crisp, clear, and realistic. The characters are real, flaws and all. I will most definitely read anything else by this author!
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I have read a lot of zombie books and have enjoyed most of them. This is the most tiresome book I have ever attempted to read. The story is about this lawyer (read rich)that lives in Gilicia, an island near Spain with his cat. He scuba dives and goes sailing on the weekends and then there is a Zombie apocalypse. The book is written in 1st person, and there is no dialogue. I have read 35% of the book and I just can't force myself to go on. I don't care what happens to this guy or his cat.
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