Customer Reviews: Shattered Hourglass (Day by Day Armageddon Series)
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on December 28, 2012
First off I must say that the "Day by Day" series by J.L. Bourne has been the best Zombie series I have read to date (and I have read everything I can get my hand on...)

This book really dropped the ball. Without giving a "spoiler" I have to say that the ending was terrible. By the time I was to the last two chapters I was certain there had to be another book about the adventures in China seeking "Patient Zero"- But nope, everything was wrapped up in a few pages... And I do mean everything. And it seemed totally out of place, not properly paced and "thrown together."

The last two or three chapters should have been an entire book - instead we had an ending which made very little sense and was totally lacking.

Also, this book was not "horror" and was more of a Military "Spy" novel of some sort...Some things (Like the Hawaii Island part) just did not make any sense either along with many other details I do not want to mention due to spoilers.

Suffice it to say, J.L. Bourne has given us an awesome Zombie series with a very lackluster and (in my opinion) unfinished final book. Great series, terrible finale.
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on January 2, 2013
Obviously, there will be spoilers. But if you are planning on getting this book because you liked or loved the first two in the series, there are some things you need to know first.

Like most of the people that pre ordered this book, I had read the first two in the series. I love both books, and have read them multiple times. They are the books I recommend to someone who has any interest in zombie fiction. They are also great for "gearheads" that love to hear about the weapons and vehicles in detail in their books.

The story and the characters are very well thought out, and really draw you in.

But when I got the third book and started reading, I was very disappointed. He has left the "after action journal report" style of writing for a 3rd person view. Yes, there are still some journal entries, but they are sparse and just dumped in to random places in the book. And since he has left the journal style, you get several other stories mashed up together in this book. Too many stories. At one point, there are 2 different groups of special operations guys that are all very similar and also quite difficult to keep straight.

The main character spends a lot of time doing nothing, staying on a boat or submarine, and not doing any of the exciting, tense, action things he did in the first two books. And when the author does try to turn on the tension, it really just comes across as remembering to have the main character do something instead of just talk into a headset.

The other parts of the story are pretty inane, and the Arctic Circle tangent just seemed like a diversion. Maybe he intended to remind the readers what a zombie apocalypse meant to people in a frozen tundra, but at this point in the series, I really couldn't care about the hastily thrown together new characters. And one of the things I loved so much about the previous books was how realistically things were portrayed. He wrote about southeastern Texas like the locations were in his own back yard, and could have been in my territory too. Now he throws in a jumble of Texas, Utah, Gulf of Mexico, Arctic, Hawaii and China locations and nothing seems fleshed out or researched. Just pulled out of thin air. And while I don't consider myself an expert on frigid locales and temperatures, I found much of the Arctic story hard to believe from a purely factual standpoint. Maybe the zombies could reanimate and be mobile in 55 below conditions, but I highly doubt it.

And, like other reviews, the end of the book, which could have been drawn out over the course of an entire 4th book, was just wrapped up in a single chapter. Every one is fine, and now the zombie threat is over. I just could not stop shaking my head at the neat little bow to finish the story. The attempt at creating tension or fear is just laughable at how easily they accomplish the mission and how quickly things are ended.

Finally, I can't finish the review without explaining how many genres he stuffed into one little book. Zombies, fine. End of the world, definitely. A government withdrawn into the mountains still giving orders to the military, believable. A shadow government with its own agendas, I can buy into with a hint of JJ Abrams type of flair. But aliens? No, that's silly. And "Planet of the Apes" type time travel? Complete nonsense! A hasty love story wedged in as an afterthought? Nope, that's it, I've had it with this book!

I can not, and will not recommend this book to anyone. You can find better writing and stories in the Ebook section. Try The RemainingThe Remaining or No Easy Hope No Easy Hope (Surviving the Dead). They have just as much story and "heart" but are significantly cheaper, and their authors don't seem so full of hubris.
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on December 31, 2012
I LOVED the first two books in the series. They way they were written -- in diary format, written by the protagonist -- made it very compelling and gripping. It also made you really connect with the protagonist and understand what made him tick.

The third book has none of that. It's no longer told in a diary format. Instead, it's now told in a more traditional novel format. Multiple characters, multiple points of view, etc. It might be OK if that was how the series started, but it's such an abrupt departure from the style of the first two books that it's ruined the experience for me. It's no longer about one person and his struggles in a post-apocalyptic world. I can understand the author's choice -- it's difficult to wrap up the story if you're limited to one character, but I don't think he fully thought through the impact such a dramatic change would have on folks who loved the first two books.

This book has been a huge disappointment. Not recommended at all.
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on January 6, 2013
I'm having a hard time believing that the same person who wrote this installment is the same person who wrote the first two. I loved the first two Day By Day books and had high expectations for the third. Didn't happen.

Gone is the personal involvement with the main character. As a matter of fact, there is no main character in this book. There is no main story in this book, either. It's comprised of scattered side stories that never get fully developed or even come together completely.

I read half way through Shattered Hourglass and thought, 'It has to be a set up for a fourth book.' Of course it wasn't. Other reviewers have said the ending was rushed. That's an understatement. I would have preferred it if the author had waited another year and then put out a good third and final installment instead of just slamming words onto paper and throwing the bone out the back door for us to catch.

And ending it so that the impression is everyone lives happily ever after? Are you serious? La-la-lalala, lalalalala. Might as well have ended it with all of the survivors living in the Keys with the Smurfs. At least I would have gotten a good laugh out of that.
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on January 6, 2013
First two books in series were excellent!! I waited and waited for Shattered Hourglass. I read it (it was painful) and did not know exactly what happened. I went back through it, still scratching my head.
First, I wish I had known that John and Kilroy would have been secondary to other storylines. The heroes were relagated to the back burner in a story that was weak. Second, I wish I understood what "quantum" and "C-130" had to do with anything. I don't know if spending more time writing, less time re-writing, or just getting your act together before publication is the answer.
IF you have the time and money, go read the first two. Then, imagine your own ending, I think you'll be happier not touching this book.
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on January 22, 2013
Like many, I was an absolute fan of the Day-by-Day Armageddon series. The first two books were a thrill ride, almost a breath of fresh air for the zombie apocalypse genre that has long gone stale with rehashed stories of the same thing. J.L. Bourne took us into the mind of a military officer trapped amidst the madness. The story was claustrophobic. Nerve-racking. We couldn't see beyond the journal, and that kept us curious about what lie beyond. Even when we learned things, we still felt helpless. It was fantastic.

This third installment is an absolute disaster. Deviating from the style that made it great, now we have a third-person overview story, where you see the apocalypse from the outside. Our favorite unnamed journal writer is named Kilroy--apparently he was identified in the second book by that name... I forgot. Either way, it only helps because the unique name stands apart from the blend of Billy, John, etc. Former characters from previous novels feel like shells of their former selves, coasting through the book without a personal touch to Kilroy. There are a handful of new characters that, honestly, I couldn't give a crap about--Bourne elected to scantly develop them to the point of the reader not caring. I actually found myself rooting for the zombies to kill them off, just so I wouldn't have to sit through their backstory anymore.

For a zombie novel, the story was okay, but the departure from the journal format was the killer for me. I'm not sure who had that brilliant idea. J.L. Bourne should seriously fire whoever came up with it. Or, if it was his decision, take it as a sign not to even try for a fourth novel. Recapping the story in my mind, Bourne could have easily just stuck with the old journal format. Sure, the story wouldn't have been as far-reaching, but the tension and suspense would have prevailed and fans could have easily handled the crummy conclusion. And, Bourne wouldn't have tipped his hand at being an amateur writer, revealing his juvenile dialogue and ridiculous overuse of similes. Yes Mr. Bourne, that type of language is adorable in a journal entry, but doesn't translate well to traditional storytelling.

I slogged through this book to the very end, and it killed me with every page turn. It's like when I was a kid and I loved the original "Home Alone" movie, so my parents brought home "Home Alone 3" from the video store. And I was like, "But this isn't Home Alone, with Macaulay Culkin and the two funny burglars," and they were like, "Yeah, well, it's the same title, so it must be pretty good too!" That's how much pain I felt with this novel versus the rest of the series. I give it a reluctant 2 stars, based on an average of a 3-star plot and a 1-star *penalty* for killing the traditional series by changing the format.
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on January 9, 2013
As a huge fan of the first two books in this series, I had extremely high hopes for this (final?) installment. I could not have been any more let down upon completion of the book. As others have mentioned extensively, the ending is horrendous. I mean really, really bad. I would contend that the rest of the book is not much better.

Mr. Bourne's writing style of using short, succinct sentences, which translated so well into the journal entry form of writing, falls completely flat in novel form. Add to this a hodgepodge of novel form, journal entry, and military teletype communication entry, which all serve to make the flow of the book staggered and abrasive. The unfamiliarity with writing dialog is also extremely apparent, as the majority of it is military jargon/humor, and what isn't is typically very "cheesy" or unrealistic. It ends up giving the impression of a "B" movie, and not a very good one at that. The main character, who was the driving force in the first two books, seems more of a side story until the ending. The special ops teams chapters are much more compelling, yet even when one of them is killed in dramatic fashion, you won't find much reason to care.

All in all, the book feels extremely rushed. Ideas do not seem to be clearly thought out, answers to questions posed in the second book make little sense at all, and the entire format itself feels to be slapped together. The ending could not have been anymore anti-climatic, and the concluding epilogue was laughable at best. I wanted to love this book, but I found myself struggling to enjoy it at all.
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on January 11, 2013
J.L. Bourne knocked it out of the park with the first book in the series - the format of the book as the journal of a man trying to survive a Zombie pandemic was unique and well done. The second book in the series continued that format, and although the story got a little fantastic at times it was still an excellent "cannot-put-it-down" read.

Compared to the first two books in the series, the third book is simply awful. Gone is the narrative of a man writing a journal (although it does make a cameo appearance from time to time). The third book in this series is simply a multi-threaded zombie novel with a hurried, simplistic and borderline dismissive ending. Some of the story threads are interesting, some are not. Some simply leave you wondering why you bought this book and if it was written by a different J.L. Bourne. He injects his own politics into the book in an effort to add some connection to the "real" world but the end result is it feels like he's just injecting his own politics because it's his book and he can do that if he wants to do that. The ending of the book - the last 40 pages - feels like he crammed over a long weekend to finish the book to make a publishers deadline.

In the scope of the genre, it's an ordinary book. However, Bourne set the bar so high in his first two books that this third book feels like an abject disappointment. The story is so all over the place it's difficult to care about any of the characters. Part of the reason for this is because he has so MANY characters that the opportunity to develop them simply doesn't present itself.

This is the first book I've read in a very, very long time where I was so annoyed at the end that I wished I could get my money back.
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on January 20, 2013
This series started great and then got more and more ridiculous with each sequel. Save your time and money! I would recommend to the author try reading some reviews. Would give it 1/2 a star if i could. The author is why the military continues to conduct random unrinalysis testing. First book... Fantastic, seconf mediocre...third...ridiculous GARBAGE
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on December 23, 2012
The book was flowing well and then all of a sudden it ends. I loved the first 2 books and expected a little more. I hope there's another one but feel this one just have been fleshed out more and tied up loose ends instead of just ending without much explanation.
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