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The Neuropathology of Zombies Paperback – March 27, 2012
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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My background is as a neurosurgical RN who was a former medic in the US Army. As such I can tell you that the author gets every bit of his medicine right. He has assembled a great number of rare conditions for us to consider that do, in fact, produce some Zombie like features. He discusses in good detail and an understandable fashion conditions as rare and diverse as Klüver-Bucy syndrome and the Encephalitis lethargica that was associated with the 1918 flu pandemic.
Using his knowledge and background he constructs a very scary and all too real sounding epidemic in a remote location. The protagonist of the novel who just happens to be a forensic neuropathologist is brought in to deal with the outbreak on the basis of a "tongue in cheek" lecture that he had given on Zombies in popular films and fiction.
With a setup like this the book should have been an easy five and the start of a killer series. I still have great hopes of the series but I am forced to rate this one a four because of huge problems in two areas. The first should have been corrected by his editor. The book seemed to lack any proofreading at all. Almost everything in italics was run together into one long word. There were casual misspellings and a great number of grammatical errors. Goodness knows, I have no room to point fingers at grammatical problems, but I review this stuff I don't write it.
The biggest problem for me, and this one I have to lay at the author's feet, is a complete lack of knowledge of how any military operation works. The author has his Marines just sort of standing around waiting for suggestions from the good doctor. There is no NCO command structure in evidence and most tasks are carried out by whoever is at hand and feels like working. Trust me Dr Cummings, that is not how the military works.
I will spot you letting the main character, the neuropathologist, get involved in the action. Even though in any real crisis the military keeps the high priced help a good distance from any loud noises. I understand that the hero needs to be the hero and I can suspend my disbelief that far. But Marines are first of all riflemen and they do not cut loose with autofire at the drop of a hat. Aimed rapid fire is a trademark of trained infantry and if you tell them you need headshots you get headshots.
I have a great hope that this author gets a little bit of advice and goes on to deliver a good series. He leaves enough unanswered questions and loose ends to support several more books.
Let me close by recommending this book very highly. I enjoyed it and was only disappointed that it could have been even better.
New Hampshire - Dr. Hawk is a respected neuropathologist. He is astounded to find two Marines on his doorstep one day, telling him he needs to come with them. His country needs him. He discovers that a strange disease is raging out of control on a South American island and the symptoms seem to be consistent with zombie behavior. Because Dr. Hawk once gave a joke lecture on the neuropathology of zombies to a group of students and interns, he is the expert in these matters. Can he figure out what is happening to these people, stop the progression of the disease, find the vector - can he stop the zombie apocalypse?
Overall I liked the story a lot. It has a good pacing - intense action sequences slotted between the very interesting scientific aspects of the search for the cause of the disease. I think the story does a pretty good job of giving us a good idea of the unreality of the situation, and how people might actually react in these circumstances. At one point, for instance, I found myself thinking along the lines of wanting the characters in the book to just start shooting, but upon thinking about it, I believe most people - when faced with a situation like the one outlined at the moment - would have reacted just like the people in the book. It is NOT your typical zombie book; that is certain! It is possible that some readers might get bogged down in the scientific explanation and information, but I found it fascinating. I really liked the direction the writer went with on this one. My only complaint is about the editing - it is just awful, truly. I challenge anyone to name any given page in the book on which I would NOT be able to find some sort of editing error, be it misused words, misused apostrophes, missing words, extra words ... It was bad enough to make me take off a star, and I try to be generous about these sorts of things nowadays. Other than that, for those who enjoy horror novels, novels about things that go bump in the night, and stories about zombies, I think you will find this one to your taste. I think we'll be seeing Dr. Hawk again - I hope he'll be examining the scientific basis of many more of our favorite monsters!
There were some formatting issues, like paragraphs where all the words were stuck together, or where a few lines would be spaced so they took up the whole page. But other then that, it was a very well written book, and I recommend it to any horror/zombie enthusiasts.
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I began reading and gave it to about 20% before I finally said there are just too many faults for me to...Read more