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Having read this novel all the way through, it troubles me that there were so many 4 and 5 star reviews. The book was so hilariously bad I found myself reading paragraphs aloud to my wife in disbelief. The writing was so awkward that even when my wife asked me to shut up so she could work I kept laughing out loud. I couldn't help it. She'd sigh and say, "Ok, read it to me," and then she would have to laugh too. Frequently the sentence structure and verbiage were so odd that it seemed the writing had been translated from another language - by a crappy computer program. A few examples:
"As good as he looked in a suit, he could woo any woman with his business professional sex appeal."
"The sting in his genitals reminded him why he'd gotten up.... He felt a different kind of growl in his stomach. His bowels signaled to him that he had more business to take care of."
"The frustration in her voice combined with her tone, sounded like the voice of a varsity cheerleader, and was overshadowed by the smacking of the gum between her teeth."
When I first wrote a review for this book I had made it about 1/4 of the way through before quitting in frustration. However, after considering another reviewer's honest opinion that the book improved in the second half - and his admonition that it is unfair to judge a novel without completing it - I went back and read it from start to finish. I found the style and language shifted from amateurish and bizarre to simply amateurish as the book progressed. Amidst the 6th-grade-short-story-assignment-quality writing were fewer sentences sounding like over-literal translations from Japanese... but there were still some humdingers. For example:
"Instantly, her head hurt and her neck felt like a piece of gum."
"[Her] heart began to dance in her chest. It thudded against her ribcage like rising bread trying to burst out of a tight pan."
Along with the odd usage of language there were a number of odd gaffes throughout. They could have been ignored except that pivotal elements of the story hinged on them. These ranged from the plunger in the aircraft lavatory (no plumbing = no need for a plunger) used as a weapon, to unorthodox applications of CPR, to a grenade that apparently materialized from nowhere and was used to blow up the wall of a building, and so on. If your characters start the story unarmed, and you are going to supply them with grenades, or even one grenade, you are fairly obligated to let your reader know how they got their hands on said munition(s).
***On a very serious note about CPR: please do not initiate chest compressions on a patient with a pulse, who is talking, even though they may appear to be in distress.*** Reference the AHA website for more information on CPR.
For a fan of post-apocalyptic or zombie fiction there was a lot missing. As others point out, there was no progression to the zombie plague or the collapse of civilization. People started to cough, and suddenly all but a few fell down dead at the same instant. Then the dead were up and munching the living. There was never an explanation for this sudden calamity, though very late in the book The Rapture was referenced (very, very) briefly.
In the end, the plot remained uninspired. The action sequences included odd, extraneous details that were unpleasantly distracting. The characters stayed quite flat.... There was nothing susbstanial to hold one's attention.
Bottom line: The rating system on Amazon can be gamed. The author may have some potential but has a long way to go. This book was not good.
I'm not usually a zombie person, but I really liked this. I liked how the author kept the characters experiences separate by chapter just hinting at other characters until there was more direct interaction. I need to get the second one but haven't had the time.
I just finished the sample book of the series, Empty Bodies. Your writing is awesome and I can see the colors of the things you describe. I hope you understand what I mean. I feel like I know each character already. I bought the rest of the series and I will be looking for everything you have written.
I'm a sucker for zombie stories ... and this one definitely kept my interest and I plan on reading the rest of the series. The 3-star rating is due to the fact that some errors would kind of trip me up ... i.e. using the word 'trader' instead of what he meant to use: 'traitor.' However, the story was enough to keep my attention and make me want to read more. So, on to book 2.
First, I am a fan of zombie and end of the world stories. As for the mixed reviews, I think it all comes down to personal taste. Yes, there are editing errors. Yes, there are some inconsistencies. Yes, some of it seems unbelievable (apart from the zombie aspect which is why I read this genre) And, yes there is some question as to the recuperative capabilities of the characters. I personally would have liked to have seen more fleshing out of the characters as well as more details on the reasons behind the "fall". Perhaps in follow up stories. All that said, I soon got over those "issues" and found myself clicking to the next page with more anticipation the further I got into the story. All in all a good read. I would not hesitate to recommend it to fellow fans of this type of fare. I eagerly look forward to reading the next installment.