- File Size: 2233 KB
- Print Length: 260 pages
- Publisher: EyeCue Productions; 1 edition (July 13, 2015)
- Publication Date: July 13, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00ZPBVJD6
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,545,136 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Class Four: Those Who Survive Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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So, when the opportunity came to review the sequel, “Class Four”, it was a definite no brainer. And again I found myself smiling but this time for entirely different reasons. Class Four is most definitely a gear shift. It’s like comparing The Empire Strikes Back to Star Wars and, oh well…maybe not that great a comparison! The former didn’t have cannibals, zombie circus sideshows, duplicitous humans, nihilistic reanimation cults or loads of gut crunching and brain munching horror now did it? Nah, probably a better reference point might be “The Road” and its’ brooding sense of menace and desperation in a radically changed world. “Class Four” has this much leaner and taut feeling to it than “Class Three” that reflects the world in which its’ characters exist. And that last word really does typify the characters’ way of life. This is most definitely a world where pretty much everyone and everything that you and I would be familiar with and accustomed to is gone. Replacing it is a brutal world where the real danger is more likely to come from those people you meet on your travels rather than what is hungry for meat. And make no mistake; there is plenty of that in here. “Class Three” was definitely the aperitif to Class Four’s red, wet and bloody feast.
There is one chapter in particular where Bradshaw just puts the pedal to the metal and then pushes it through the floor. I don’t want to spoil it for you but it involves the two main protagonists encountering a very peculiar traveling show where survival is the main ticket. Bradshaw creates this demented circus of horrors that is just full on, inventive and relentless. However just concentrating on the zombies alone in this book would make it a dull and lifeless affair. The real evolution seems to have taken place in Bradshaw’s approach to story structure and characterization. That’s not to denigrate his writing. I really like the melding of horror, humor and humanity that Bradshaw infused “Class Three” with. It was a damn entertaining book and whilst “Class Four” is just as entertaining there is a much more assured approach and tone to the writing.
Whilst the main focus of the story is on two primary characters, Francis, who appeared briefly in “Class Three” and Nathan his young ward, Bradshaw intersperses their narrative with illustrated side stories about other survivors. These stories are centred on people holed up in a biscuit factory under the cosh of the ominously named “The Gaffer” who has a rather unique take on crime and punishment. Within this group is a self help group of “troublemakers” who are going through a form of therapy to integrate them within the wider community. As a means of introduction, Bradshaw uses an illustrative panel to set the mood and tone of what they are about to discuss. I just found this a refreshing and different approach to weaving characters into the main fabric of the story but it doesn’t distract from the main focus on Francis and Nathan. Oh yeah, and I must not forget the zombie cult that is inexorably spreading its’ warped and twisted vision across the land. All roads will indeed lead to one place in “Class Four” and in this case, it isn’t pretty.
And that’s where “Class Four” really demonstrates its’ chops. Whilst its’ predecessor is much like Shaun of The Dead in tone, this book’s comparison with “The Road” shouldn’t be taken lightly. This is altogether a much darker and meaner reading experience. Class Four has a similar type of plot whereby Francis has taken it upon himself to ensure that Nathan, his young companion, reaches comparative safety. It doesn’t quite match the unremitting bleakness, despair and sparseness of that novel as there are flashes of the wit, humor and banter that enlivened the first book but these are used sparingly in what is an altogether more serious and at times grim read. This is a world in which the human condition rather than that of the zombie is the real danger. Yes, getting cornered by hordes of shambling, rotting corpses isn’t great but the omnipresent threat is from the scattered remnants of humanity and how they have reacted to the new world order. . More than a few times Bradshaw played around with my expectations and whipped the rug out from under my feet leaving me feeling destabilized and unsure about what was coming next.
And trust me; I am most definitely looking forward to the next installment in this series. “Class Four” is a total blast of a novel from beginning to end and, like its predecessor, is one of the better interpretations of the zombie apocalypse.
I fell in love with the first book, Class Three. So darn different and interesting, and hilarious, and well written, and gross, and shocking, and-and-and...so many ands. Aaand if you are reading this, I'm pretty you have read the first book, if not ~ go back, you took a wrong turn.
Happens to me alllll the time..
HOWEVER, there are no actual spoilers for the first book in this review, just a bit of background so you don't have to go back if you don't want to. :D
We learned from the first book that a bite doesn't turn you, you could absolutely bounce back if you still have all your vitals in one piece.
You have to actually die ~ even from natural causes ~ in order to go full zombie.
It wasn't some sort of monkey virus outbreak or genome clone chrome splicing gone wrong, it was from one of our own probes, coming back to Earth, all contaminated with meteor gunk and stuff.
The first sign was the red skies.
The second tell tell clue were the blood curdling screams of happy meals being chased down by hungry street hordes.
So...just as long as you don't get massacred all the way dead, you should be ok.
I like that little twist of the genre. It's refreshing when writers just reinvent the folklore and make up their own rules to die by.
I really enjoy apocalyptic zombie horror but I DO have to be careful cause if I read too many close together, they all tend to bleed together.
Not the case with Bradshaw's Class books though. They are stand out!
Plus we get these adorable little gory and graphic sketches sprinkled throughout.
Oh I just love pictures. :D
Ok, so, this book takes place on two different timelines within that first year after the dead get a pep in their step.
A lot of main players, much character development, and storylines galore within these 260 or so pages but oddly enough, I never got confused, lost, or felt outta the loop.
THAT'S all due to Bradshaw's EXCELLENT writing skills and not so much my attention span.
The first book mostly centered around brothers Jim and Phillip, battling and bantering during the first critical and disorienting 24 hours, and of course the deranged ones; Devin, Malky, and the rest of their loyal zealot fiends.
Yea, they are back, stronger and crazier than before.
WE GOT Francis and Nathan returning from their small parts in the original, Nathan is a young boy who lost his mom in the initial onset sh*t storm and Francis is the stand up guy who vowed to look after him (you really feel their bond and it gives you warm fuzzies), as they travel aimlessly from here to there, staying where ever is the least combative and offers the highest chances of leaving the next day. Briefly running into Phillip ~ my sarcastic soulmate ~ one day, he tells them of a safe haven camp where his brother Jim and a bunch of other survivors are staying. Off they go, it's a long trek though with side tracks/off tracks aplenty.
Francis has a pretty devastating origin story too, that is told in little snippets throughout the book. Oh, it'll make you mad and sad and added a lot of depth to that fantastic character.
WE GOT the religious fanatics Devin and Malky, plus their asinine apostles and deluded devotees all hell bent on turning the world into a One Republic Aberzombie and Snitch Nation. They truly believe it's their higher calling from some deity dame named Ishtar and through their traveling RV headquarters, worm their confederate moles into budding and thriving survivor camps to bring down the morale and up the undead head count.
They call it 'ascending' and they are sadistically dedicated to their movement.
Their cult kool-aid is obviously spiked with LSD aaand the wilted deflowered zombie fly trap leaf extract of the genus plant species Deluseae grandiosea. (hm..that was funnier in my head, sorry...)
WE GOT survivors in a biscuit factory, a few groups of survivors have managed to come together in community camps far and wide. One such camp is in an old biscuit factory (I believe that's cookies to us Americans, not garlicky dinner rolls) where the people have really started to flourish and work together under the somewhat tyrannical, yet effective, leadership of a formidable man known as The Gaffer. Everyone has their jobs and every job is important, harsh punishments to slackers. Which is understandable, fall asleep during lookout, there goes half your population. We meet a lot of great characters here and can feel the growing sense of unity and teamwork.
Of course, not all get along. Course not..
WE GOT group therapy sessions in that cookie clubhouse, The Gaffer has force ordered a handful of deemed 'troubled souls' into group counseling/share your feelings sessions with their resident ~ used to be ~ shrink, Steve. Little vignettes told therapy style tales are peppered throughout the book and I absolutely LOVED these engrossing first person 'where I was on doomsday' origin stories.
Truly genius writing adding these little 'sidebars' into the broad scope of it all. Probably my favorite sections of the book, such page turners rife with emotion, action, and comedy!
Oh you will flat out adore sweet little simpleminded Matt and his woesome therapy tale about his parents and much beloved dog, Patches. Just wanted to give him a big ole bear hug!!
Also you will feel for meek Sylvia, one of those poor women who's self esteem has been trampled on by a verbally abusive husband, always apologizing for herself...makes me sick. She finds her voice though, oh yes...she flat out roars like a tigress.
WE GOT a Big Top out in the middle of nowhere, Francis and Nathan come across a big ole circus tent called The Penny Gaffe, a freak show of sorts, out in the middle of nowhere, it's seen better days but WHAT and WHO hasn't this day in age. The proprietor entices and beckons them in for an entertaining little show and promise of a hot meal afterward. It's the meal that lures the passers-by and the scouted-outs to this spectacle though, but it might also be nice to just sit back, relax, and enjoy a bit of a sideshow delight ....of sorts.
The 'Ringleader' boosts that he's just trying to keep up morale in this savagely ripped and torn destitute new world we found ourselves in. Such a good Samaritan....
WE GOT cannibalistic sh*t pit stops, as if all of the above wasn't enough to keep our haggard and rattled survivalists on their toes and out of the throes, there are also dimwitted ~ yet spry ~ cannibals who have adopted the zombie diet. Protein, 5 a day. With names like Url and Vints (it's how they pronounce them anyway) they will entrap you while prancing about in their ceremonial and empowering skeletal headdresses and body armor, then fatten you up for a family feast with all the trimmings.
SOO..zombies, religious f**kn*ts, shortbus cannibals, circus freak rejects, no wifi or Netflix....
"The world had gone to hell in a heartbeat..."
You cared about these characters, not always favorably... but you still cared. I teared up more than a couple times and flat out balled once (DAMN YOU Bradshaw *shakes fist).
HOLY, this was such a BLAST to read!! I truly hated for it to end. It's also so much more than JUST a zombie tale. It's about the inter dynamics and outer destruction of humanity as a whole. Body, mind, and soul. Some are leaders, some are followers, some are w*nkers, and some are just off in left field repeatedly pushing up daisies.
This sequel IS missing some of that humor that fuel fire catapulted the first book, which is fitting if you think about it. It's been a while and people have grown tired and/or complacent, some almost like zombie versions of themselves....just going through the motions, trying to find food, maintain alliances, keeping their seeked shelter...until someone comes along and eats them.
Not a lot of wisecracking zingers to be had between people in that dark way of life...
The characters may be in dire straights with near flaccid funny bones but fear not, the comedic stylings of Bradshaw still put on quite a show.
He has a hilarious way of describing things, his analogies and deadpan observations are priceless.
One scene in particular really stood out for me where a character has a genius idea for perseverance, he saw it on that famous zombie tv show so it must work!! He painstakingly puts his plan in motion, making sure everything is perfect (I could hear The Eye of the Tiger theme playing in the background) and then....and theeen, he lasts 2...maaaybe 3 seconds before being gutted and digested.
OH, I had to put my kindle down, I was so shocked, yet giggling....needed to compose myself. LOL!!
So, YES, there IS still humor but it's spread out more and not so in your face, sh*t got real to these guys now and they have realized this isn't some long lost Three Stooges episode, ya know, the one where Curly gets peckish.
Bradshaw has a real natural savvy talent of infusing the most random or sarcastic or goofy humor where humor wouldn't normally fit. And it works. Brilliantly. Hilariously.
I noticed in my other two reviews for him, I used the word mesmerizing to describe his writing.
Yep, sticking with that, it fits, like a glooove.
I was gonna bark and growl for another sequel in this sequel review when I saw that TWO more are (or were..) planned.
Well, it's been well over a year now so umm...yea, where are they Mr. Duncan??? hm..
And PLEASE (* growls), pleeease have more Phillip in the sequels. He really is my sarcastic soulmate and I know he feels the same about me.
When we left him at the end of Class Three, he was heading off to find his father. Francis and Nathan run into him all too briefly in this and he is still headed towards that paternal reunion goal as well as a new quest.
Just a suggestion; instead of calling the next one 'Those Who Survive (Class Four #2)'....might I suggest, 'The Phillip and Mandy Quest Chronicles (The Second Coming)'??
It's gotta nice ring to it, EH?? :D
So far, I've read his waaay out there bizarro book called Celebrity Culture about germy people....or peopley germs and now these two highly entertaining ~ a notch above ~ zombie books.
Whilst I wait for the promised sequels (at least TWO (2!!), I have it in writing) I think I will check out his science fiction book Prime Directive. Hanging with Duncan on Mars, I'M IN.
Ooor maybe I'll venture back to the Ancient Inca's ritual days in Hexagram.
WOW, so versatile this writer is! He's all over the genre spectrum.
God, some people are just born with it. For me, it ain't even Maybelline....
So Not Fair.
ACES!! Keep em coming P. Bradshaw! :D