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Slow Burn: Dead Fire, Book 4 Kindle Edition
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|Length: 225 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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(Spoiler alert from here on)
In installment three he built a great dynamic between a group of characters. It was just firming up into something interesting, especially with the great addition of crusty, competent Dalhover, and then the late chaotic, deadly arrival of three other survivors. So what happens in installment four? Adair ditches the whole ensemble early on and creates the picaresque adventures of Null Spot the Destroyer. I thought this was very bad timing. It was almost like a trial balloon - maybe it'll be in the final collected novel, maybe not.
And the ease with which Freitag gulls Zed into doing her bidding was almost too much. It was so obvious that I was sure Adair was leading us astray the better to surprise us. But no, Freitag abandons Zed, gives him the finger, and leaves him to fend for himself. Very unbelievable. I doubt that Freitag, who must be fairly traumatized by everything that's happened in the past few weeks, would hatch a plot that leaves her alone on the river piloting a boat back to the compound and what is sure to be a hostile welcome. The whole Freitag angle was bizarre, and needed more fleshing out, explanation, back story and motivation. In the end, of course, we don't know for certain what happens to her, so maybe she'll pop up again. Like Mark, the evil ROTC guy from the dorm. C'mon - gimme a break.
Zed the slave, captured by smart ones, was OK. It let us get up close enough to see how some of the smart ones act. But it also introduced Nico, a character that Adair ditched fifty pages later, when it became difficult to deal with him. Who knows? Maybe he'll show up later too.
Back at the mountaintop compound after the improbable escape from the chain gang, Zed goes native among the infected and concocts a highly ambitious plan to blow the infected to blazes. The whole scene strained credulity. Zed acts way too much like food to get away with everything he does at the compound.
Annoying as well is Zed's reaction to the smart ones. He's run up against a bunch of them now - enough to realize that there are many shades of gray among them, and that some of them are just slow burns like himself. Adair has Zed dance around this aspect from time to time, but the outcome is always hazy and weak. Null Spot needs to kill them all! A real novel by a seasoned writer with a good editor would exploit this topic to add a little depth to the book. Adair tries to get close to the topic but always backs off.
And there are typos, and a few missing words. And some of the writing is very sloppy and rough. At one point, Zed has to reach into a container that is full of rotting food. He refers to the contents as "grey disgustoid goo". This is weak language that cheapens the novel, and it happens too often.
Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the thing, and for a buck-fifty, why not?
Adair's writing is excellent - none of the cliche-heavy prose of other self-published zombie authors, great characterization, show-don't-tell, and no fetishization of military jargon and hardware.
My only complaint is hardly a complaint - I want to know more about the other characters Zed hooks up with. I want to know their backstories, etc. Zed is a great character - fully fleshed out (no zombie pun intended), believable and occasionally flawed motivations, and the right dash of luck tossed in for good measure.
Great stuff, can't wait for the next one!
This installment of the saga finds Zed getting some up close and personal views of the infected and gives him the opportunity to really examine how some of them operate. I'm not sure how this is going to play out in the future, but I definitely want to find out. I now feel completely hooked.
Dead Fire had me absolutely livid at one point, and even though I'm a fairly passive person, I'm not sure I would have reacted the way Zed did.
Like I mentioned, I'm starting to feel more invested in the story now and have even already bought the next book and it's audible upgrade so I can continue this tale.
Overall I give Dead Fire 4 out of 5 stars.
Reviewed on Just Another Girl and Her Books blog.