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ARISEN, Book Ten - The Flood Kindle Edition
|Length: 402 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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However, Book Ten introduces some new twists to the by-now old Zulu virus. I think Fuchs did a fine job of explaining the changes and not making them as ridiculous as they could have been. However, other readers' mileage may vary. I don't think it was strictly necessary--one can imagine the tension ramping up without the addition of new... ah... kinds of zulus... I guess. But the explanation makes "comic book logic" sense, which is to say, it's plausible with known scientific knowledge of how viruses act and mutate, but the actual practical applications might require some suspension of disbelief.
The one real criticism I have for this book was with Sarah. Sarah... I really want to like her, but the books seem determined to do everything imaginable to prevent me from doing so. I sympathized with her predicament when she was first introduced, but since then, she's become a one-woman tornado of (weird) romantic entanglement and melodrama. It's pretty bad, but it's even worse because nothing actually even happens! Yet, the reader is forced to read seemingly endless passages of either her or other characters agonizing over the nothing that is happening. If that sounds bad, it's actually worse to read it.
I'm reluctant to conclude that the writer(s) doesn't know what to do with female characters; Ali and Kate are great in varying degrees, but even they're saddled with romantic subplots that don't really advance our understanding of them as people. Kate dodged the melodrama largely because her relationship is secret for most of the books, but even Ali--an otherwise strong and interesting person--has pages devoted to agonizing over her romantic entanglements. All of this is nothing, though, compared to the seeming chapters devoted to Sarah's self-flagellation over her (maybe?!) feelings for other people than her (I guess?!) current boyfriend.
This flaw isn't enough to mar my enjoyment of the series overall, but it does drag some of the characters down with it a little bit. Handon, never the most interesting of the team, is even less interesting when he's obsessing over Sarah, Henno, Sarah and Henno, Sarah and Homer (?!), etc. Again, it isn't a dagger to the heart of my love for the series, but I do wish they'd either drop these subplots or do something a little more three-dimensional with them. It isn't new to this book, but it really came to a head for me at the climax of Wesley's mission.
Anyway, that aside, the action in the book is as ridiculously awesome as ever, and I eagerly await the next installment.
I am not sure how many books are left in the series but I am beginning to hope that there is a conclusion in mind and that we are not in line for a 30 book marathon. The reason for this is because book Ten seems to focus on unbelievable scenario after unbelievable scenario - and that's saying a lot in a book that focuses on the Zombie Apocalypse.
Let me try to explain: Team (whichever one the author is focused on at the time) faces a mission and great peril. They get past the initial peril only for it to put them in even greater peril, only for that to get sorted...and repeat and repeat and repeat. The dangers they face seem to get more and more ridiculous too - it is as if they are the unluckiest people on the planet whose luck just keeps getting worse and worse. This applies to all the teams featured whether it's the London guys, Alpha team or the untrained team in Saudi. It feels like the author needs to create a new danger in order to just keep the story going but as a result the book is just danger followed by fix followed by new worse danger caused by previous fix followed by a new fix. Each one is more unbelievable than the next.
Let me give one chain of events which exemplifies what I mean (warning, spoiler): the team in Saudi see a zombie on a gantry and leave it alone rather than disturb it. They later turn on a light switch in the complex which causes an electrical short in the walls next to the gantry where the zombie is. The zombie claws through the holes causing the fire to spread. It is then spread further by the flailing zombie to the ceiling before the zombie falls onto one of the vats of oil below. The flaming ceiling then crashes onto the zombie and the vat causing a massive explosion. Unfortunately the raging fire now blocks the team from escaping so they need to find a way of putting this out. Cue the water tank/tower that's well placed but needs to be blown open by the rocket the guys luckily decided to take along. Problem is the fire and noise has attracted all the zombies so the hero of this team needs to avoid them and the fire and get into a position to blow the water tanks. Phew, peril or what? Hang on, it's not over yet! Just as he starts to run to the rescue, the other tanks start going up like rockets. One of these happens to land in his way blocking his line of sight to the water tower. Behind him are zombies. It's ok though as his colleague will use grenades to remove the oxygen from the fire to clear a path for him. Except the first grenade nearly kills him and he needs the support guys on the watching aircraft carrier to crash a drone into the zombies to stop them whilst simultaneously running through the now, albeit temporarily, receded flames in order to take on the shot that breaks open the water tower.
And that's me summarising in parts and doesn't include the water tower aftermath yet. It also doesn't take into account that the next chapter will switch to another team facing almost exactly the same sets of overwhelmingly poor odds and poor luck.
That has made me think of another quick example: the best squad of soldiers in the world have an impossibly hard time fighting off hordes of zombies on a regular basis but a middle aged bio-scientist with zero combat experience is able to fend off a Red Square full of zombies on his own in order to reach safety. I think he only had a shotgun too? I could keep going.
What I am finding is that it is exhausting to say the least. I am having to suspend belief time and time again and the book is beginning to drag.
The main thing to suffer though is the overall story of Arisen. The primary missions are taking so long that even if they succeed they are only progressing the overall story by an incremental step. Parts of the story disappear for ages (London under siege, scientist stuck in Moscow as two examples) only to reappear after you have almost forgotten what is happening there.
I appreciate that this whole story focuses on a small group of individuals up against overwhelmingly poor odds but this book has taken it far beyond that and to levels which are just daft. I feel a bit bad writing this review but I know the author is taking criticism on board and I hope this helps in giving some direction to the series again. It really needs to wrap towards a conclusion I feel and unfortunately book Ten seems to be an unnecessary delay in the overall saga.
I like the Arisen series as a whole and would recommend it but book Ten is really hard going.
For starters...the whole thing could have been wrapped up in this book or at most another one, because when Zorn gets bitten by that early-onset zombie, they could simply have packed him up and taken him back. He had an early version of the virus in him at that point and the whole whoop-de-do in Hargeisa, not to mention afterwards, could have been avoided.
Secondly, the Russian military are a lot of things, and Spetsnaz are nothing if not brutal, but especially at a command level they are also extremely pragmatic. No way (referring to former books here) would there have been no contact between the two ships, no way would the attitude have simply been adversarial from the get-go with no questions asked. Not in those surrounding conditions. An underlying power play or the intent of getting Patient Zero first, escalating into conflict later on, sure. The rest was not realistic. And at the end of the book it seems as if it is shaping up as Rocky vs. Ivan Drago all over again. I am hoping there is a little more to it than that...