- Series: Autumn series (Book 1)
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (October 26, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780312569983
- ISBN-13: 978-0312569983
- ASIN: 031256998X
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 144 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,049,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Autumn (Autumn series) Paperback – October 26, 2010
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Originally self-published and offered as a free download, Moody’s sluggish apocalyptic survival story follows three characters as they deal with the aftereffects of a virus that kills most of the population, then turns them into zombies. When the dead first rise, they are harmless and unresponsive, but eventually they regain their most basic senses and turn violent. Most survivors, having become accustomed to the undead being rather benign, are unprepared for this change and perish quickly (though regrettably off-page), but Michael, Carl, and Emma, barricaded in an isolated farmhouse, remain secure—for a little while. While the staged progression of the virus makes for an interesting premise, the execution is lacking, with excruciatingly slow pacing, repetitive dialogue, and characters as dull and aimless as the dead. While the story picks up around the 200-page mark, concluding with an exciting escape scene that leaves two of the characters’ fates undecided, zombie fans may want to give this first in the Autumn series a pass and read Moody’s superior Hater (2009) instead. --Krista Hutley
“With AUTUMN, David Moody paints a picture of a marvelously bleak dystopian future where the world belongs to the hungry dead. It's the creepy start to a compelling series.” ―Jonathan Maberry, multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Patient Zero and Zombie CSU
“Zombie fans rejoice! One of the original zombie novels is back from the grave to remind us all why the walking dead are so scary, and what it means to have a front-row seat for the end of the world. Autumn is genuinely creepy, an atmospheric study of what happens when the dead come back--and what we have to do just to survive.” ―David Wellington, Author of Monster Island, Monster Nation, 99 Coffins
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Unfortunately, at least for me, this book takes a very, very, very long time to get rolling. The very cool twist with the zombies I mention above is not used as well as it could have been, in fact its somewhat tragic that the book didn't explore this situation further. Soon the situation changes and the standard human-attacking zombie is back in the fold. This is a cool idea that I hadn't encountered before and frankly, I wished the author had spent more time here....it could have *really* made the pacing of this book unique (rather than the standard Humans-Run-From-Attacking-Zombies).
Also, endless reminders of the shattered psyche of the characters really starts to get in the way after a certain point, particularly when nothing much is happening. When things do get rolling, the story immediately begins to mirror...well.....isolated Farmhouse? 'nuff said. So we are treading on a bit of conquered ground to a certain extent. This, by itself isn't an issue...but because the book takes quite a bit of time to get our characters to said farmhouse, it seems to all wrap up fairly quickly...as though the Author only wanted to include enough "meat" in this book to sell the sequel.
One last thing, because we are always reminded of the horror the characters are experiencing, the author seems that gives them carte blanche to behave like jerks, all the time. This gets old since, halfway through the book, I was hoping they'd all get wiped out, and a new more "deserving" bunch of humanity would appear :) No such luck.
So, I hated it? No, absolutely not. In fact, I'm buying the next book in the series, because I want to see more of the world the writer has created. Issues with the read? Yes....but not terrible ones. I'd rather have a slow book with some well-traversed zombie situations than a shallow cliche ridden action fest. But in the end 3 stars....I enjoyed it, but with some reservations. I am, however, looking forward to reading more...something I can't say about all the books I read.
To take an old publishing saw and turn it on its head, for every million self-published disasters, where cartons of bloody horrible novels sit in an author's basement waiting for a single sale, there's one monstrous, awe-inspiring success story where a self-published author becomes richer than Croesus based on word of mouth alone.
But I'm not here to talk about Christopher Paolini, I'm here to talk about David Moody. Who is not yet Croesus, but probably will be given a few more years.
Autumn is like nothing you're ever read. It is often referred to in word-of-mouth gatherings as a zombie novel (and, in some cases, the zombie novel), and it's blurbed as a zombie novel on its cover. But here's the thing: it's no more a zombie novel than 28 Days Later... is a zombie movie, really. And this has led to some negative reviews by folks who were expecting something other than they got. If your blurb suggests a comparison to Romero, your readers are going to expect Night of the Living Dead lite, at least. Autumn is, above all, not that.
It actually starts out rather more like Day of the Triffids than Night of the Living Dead-- a plague, whose genesis we do not yet know (though I assume we'll find out in the rest of the series), wipes out most of humanity. Or so we think-- again, our perceptions are confined to England here. For all we know, the rest of the world is just fine. (A trope used to great effect, with opposite endings, in Day of the Triffids and 28 Days Later....) But it's England we're focused on, and things are decidedly not fine there. A small group of survivors of the plague holes up in a drafty town hall and tries to live together. Moody is not interested in everyone coming together to face tragedy despite conflict, as was the case in Romero's or Robert Kirkman's or Brian Keene's works; no, Moody allows that the group is not sacrosanct, and three of the characters split off to try and find something better. (And yet even this group is not sacrosanct; Moody's iconoclasm cuts all the way to the bone, folks.) The remainder of the first book deals with the first period of his three characters adapting to post-plague life, after the dead finally do get up and walk around, which takes an awfully long time for a supposed zombie novel. It's impossible to go into the other main differences between Autumn and your typical zombie novel without major spoilers. Let's just say that Moody seems to have set out to write, simultaneously, an anti-zombie novel and a satire of zombie novels. Which, for obvious reasons, seems as if it's going to be working at cross-purposes with itself. And yet, somehow, he succeeds-- well enough, at least, that I've put the other three novels in the series in my Amazon shopping cart, to be bought with my Christmas gift certificate.
As with most post-apocalyptic novels worth their salt, Moody doesn't focus on the by-products of the plague (in this case, the walking dead); he uses them as accents to highlight his story of interpersonal relations. Which sometimes falls a touch flat; there is, after all, a reason this is self-published work. But while the gulf between self-published and professionally published work is often a vast one, there is the odd book now and then that narrows the gap considerably; Autumn is one of them. This is one of the best-written books you'll ever see outside a professional publishing house. It's worth your time. ***