- File Size: 4009 KB
- Print Length: 324 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Bitter Ale Press (March 14, 2015)
- Publication Date: March 14, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00UPQ3128
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,396 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$9.95|
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Slowly We Rot Kindle Edition
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I admit I was surprised at first. Bryan Smith has a well earned reputation for literary mayhem, plus the novel takes its name from a classic death metal album (by Obituary), so I expected a gore soaked action fest. As the story developed and it became clear that this was something different I put my expectations aside and went along for the ride.
The story of Nick's cross country journey across a dead continent is told at a slow pace but is never boring. Occasional flashbacks to pre-apocalypse times give insight in to the character and grant the reader insight in to why he reacts the way he does to things in the present. Subtle events in early stages are important later, so careful reading is recommended.
I was a little disappointed at first that this wasn't the Bryan Smith novel I thought I was getting, but those feelings changed as I continued and now I think it is my favorite book from him. It takes courage to step away from what readers expect and I thank Mr. Smith for that and for this brilliant work with so much to say. 5 stars, highest recommendation.
Wow, I don't even know how to start this review. This was what I initially posted on Goodreads after finishing:
"I feel like I should be annoyed that I don't even really know what happened for a good portion of the book, but instead I kind of just feel like laughing and crying at the same time. Is it normal to feel that way after finishing a book? How on earth am I ever going to write an actual review for this?"
And you know what? I still don't know how to write an actual review for this, but I'm gonna try.
First of all, though there were some zombies, this was not a zombie book. It was an after-the-zombies-have-mostly-gone book. It was a people-are-the-real-monsters book. It was a psychological-mindf*** book. It was an exploration-of-a-character's-inner-demons book.
You see, Noah was a legitimately flawed and messed up character... but I just so happen to love flawed and messed up characters. I mean, he wasn't a *bad* person, he cared about people, etc., but sometimes he did things that no one in their right mind would do, like calmly and unemotionally taking a shower while someone he knew was dead in the next room---and that was *before* the apocalypse, when dead bodies weren't even a normal thing. But that's just it, I guess, he *wasn't* in his right mind. Even then, he was struggling with alcoholism, obsession, maybe even delusion, and who knows what other psychological problems. And, not surprisingly, the apocalypse didn't magically make those struggles go away. So he may not have always been the best person, but he was still someone I could empathize with, and he was fascinating to read about. I will admit it was a little strange how introspective and self-aware Noah was, but it just kind of worked, especially since, for much of the book, Noah was alone and his thoughts were really all the reader had. The way it was written put me really deep in his mind, so I was ok with it.
Not only that, Noah's psychological downward spiral, his descent into a booze/drug-induced stupor, was written amazingly well in a way that really portrayed the situation and also made me feel for him. He became a rather unreliable narrator as well, considering the haze he was living in and the constant blackouts.
Noah's downward spiral was also where the mindf*** part of the book came into play. Generally, I'm not a fan of those types of books in which I don't know what's real and what's not, and I would've liked to get answers to a few specific questions at the end. While it was happening though, I was completely intrigued---confused, but intrigued. That scene portrayed on the cover? It's actually in the book, purple sky and everything. So that should give you some indication of how surreal things get as the book progresses. And eventually you will reach this point in which you stop and think, "He's finally cracked, this can't be real..." but you still won't be sure. The author gives a little info in the afterword though, so there's at least a definitive point up until which things happened as described and a definitive ending. Well, kind of. I guess you never really know, but I felt like I got closure.
Ultimately though, this book made me feel, and I can forgive a certain amount of grievances for that. It was dark, emotional, unsettling, and intense, and when I finished, I felt emotionally overwhelmed and not sure how to even process everything I'd read. But when a book can make me feel that way, I definitely consider it a good thing, so I couldn't be more glad I decided to give this book a read!
Original Review @ Metaphors and Moonlight (link in profile)
When you reach the second half of the book it will keep you guessing and you will just want to press on even more! I read the second half twice as fast because I just wanted to see what would happen next.
And the ending.......holy crap the ending!
I know I'm not giving a really professional review here but I can't help myself because I enjoyed this book so much I'm just too excited to give a serious detailed review! I don't think you will be disappointed.
I saw several reviews saying how people were annoyed at Noah's drinking but he is an alcoholic--that is part of his character and given the seriously messed-up situations he goes through most people who don't drink at all would be looking for a bottle after that stuff!