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Customer Review

413 of 501 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 50 Shades of Zombie Apocalypse Novels, November 18, 2012
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This review is from: The Beginning of the End (Apocalypse Z) (Kindle Edition)
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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Showing 1-10 of 24 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 6, 2013 10:03:03 AM PST
Streetdog says:
Very erudite review!

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 2:12:57 PM PST
I read this book before this review so this is a review of a review. It absolutely is correct in every word. There are better zombie books to spend your time with.

Posted on Jan 10, 2013 3:48:09 PM PST
Mamamoiselle says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2013 7:27:49 PM PST
BEER30 says:
You're referring to World War Z which is a different book by a different author. No Brad Pitt roles based on this book.

While I'm writing, I'll state I found the book riveting. I also found it very interesting and thought provoking. I prefer the exciting fast paced reads and this fit the bill. I did find the underage girl a little odd and I was disappointed at the abrupt ending. I also found too much emphasis placed on the cat. The cat is either super-personal to the author, a metaphor I couldn't understand, or awkwardly out of place. Or maybe it's just that I don't like cats. Either way, it's a fast enough read that I was done before I figured out that I cared. For it's few weaknesses, it has exponentially more strengths.

Posted on Jan 18, 2013 12:19:33 PM PST
jabbarjamer says:
Couldn't disagree more with this review. The writing in Apocalypse Z is actually quite crisp. Even in translation, the language gives a tangible sense of a person experiencing the events of the novel. The pacing of the story is outstanding. Apocalyptic novels do not exist solely as a platform for describing societal and political systems responding to crisis. Many Zombie and doomsday novels do that well, but it's not a requirement for crafting a good story on this theme. By the way, there exist plenty of pulpy, gore-filled, Zombie books here on Amazon that patronize the genre. Apocalypse Z is not one of them. It's an engaging, earnestly-crafted, first-person Zombie read. I'm looking forward to the sequels in English.

Posted on Jan 22, 2013 7:27:51 PM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jan 30, 2013 12:38:20 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 30, 2013 8:50:16 PM PST
I liked the book more than you, but you make some good points, even if I disagree with most of them. I do want to respond to the possibility of someone purchasing ANYTHING on Amazon based only on customer reviews. Buyer beware! Customer reviewers are notoriously lenient with products the reviewers like, many people casually giving five stars as if that simply meant "thumbs up." Also, customers taken as a group generally have poor taste, just like the larger TV- and movie-viewing public. How else to explain the popularity of Honey Boo-Boo and the like?

Posted on Feb 4, 2013 1:41:35 PM PST
Pamela says:
Thank you for writing this review. Too often, I have purchased books in this genre expecting a 4 or 5 star read based on the reviews and been sorely disappointed. I think too many people become intimidated by all the "OMG BEST BOOK EVAR!" reviews and just decide to go be disappointed in silence.

Posted on Feb 6, 2013 7:51:23 PM PST
T. Mahoney says:
THIS is an accurate review! I, too, was roped into this one by the 4.5 star rating. What a disappointing read!

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 8:16:26 AM PDT
Good, accurate review in my opinion. The most interesting part of the book is the description of a collapsing civilization but the author soon abandons that turning the novel in what you adequately call a 1st person shooter with annoying spurious turns. Still I would give it three stars because I am spanish and I enjoyed particularly some local details.
And yes, the writing is mediocre. I read the original version and I was continouosly bugged by the repetitiveness and obvious lack of devices. I do not think the translation can have possibly made it any worse.
The thing is that Loureiro really started the novel as a blog, writing little chunks from time to time. But the thing got a life of its own and gathered more and more readers so he probably decided afterwards to sell the text as a novel. Pity he didn't get himself a proper editor. He should really have.
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