[Quick Reviews] The Zombie Apocalypse

I was on a zombie apocalypse binge a while back and picked up a few zombie books. Some of them were young adult books that were scary but fun to read; then there were adult books that were dark, dangerous and downright terrifying. The following two are apart of the latter.

Rise Again by Ben Tripp

Rise Again - Cover - Review Title: Rise Again: A Zombie Novel
Series: Rise Again
Book one
Author: Ben Tripp
Genre: Zombie, Apocayptic, Survival, Paranormal
Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

A MYSTERIOUS CONTAGION. MASS HYSTERIA. SUDDEN DEATH. 

And a warning that would come all too late . . . 

Forest Peak, California. Fourth of July. Sheriff Danielle Adelman, a troubled war veteran, thinks she has all the problems she can handle in this all-American town after her kid sister runs away from home. But when a disease-stricken horde of panicked refugees fleeing the fall of Los Angeles swarms her small mountain community, Danny realizes her problems have only just begun—starting with what might very well be the end of the world. Danny thought she had seen humanity at its worst in war-torn Iraq, but nothing could prepare her for the remorseless struggle to survive in a dying world being overrun by the reanimated dead and men turned monster. Obsessed with finding her missing sister against all odds, Danny’s epic and dangerous journey across the California desert will challenge her spirit . . . and bring her to the precipice of sanity itself. . . . 

Filled with adventurous human drama—and shocking inhuman horror—Rise Again marks a vivid and powerful fiction debut. 

Review

I wasn’t exactly sure what I expected when I picked up Rise Again, all I knew was that it looked like a good zombie apocalypse book.

The beginning was very interesting, life is normal and Danny is at work handling things. She’s the sheriff in the small town that is packed with visitors due to the Fourth of July parade. Her sister Kelly has taken off with Danny’s mustang which means serious business since Kelly knows that Danny would hunt her down if the mustang was damaged in any way, so Danny realizes that maybe Kelly doesn’t intend to come back. Kelly left her sister a note but Danny hasn’t had time to look at it and is avoiding reading it. Funny things start happening, a dead body is found in the forest at the beginning of the town and no one can figure out how the person died. Suddenly another one is found. And then people are running around screaming and falling down dead for no reason, the whole town gets chaotic and that’s not the worst of it all. A bunch of people are seen to be running up the mountain towards the town while the road is packed with people in cars trying to get through. Soon, everyone realizes it’s thousands upon thousands of people that are running up the mountain, some of them are dying just like some people in town; Danny comes to the conclusion that it’s a wave and once that wave hits it will affect nearly everyone around and they too will start running around and dying. Danny can in no way control it, yet she’s going to try anyway.

Once the dead start to rise I found the book to lose some of its intensity and interest. For some reason I love to read about the fall of humanity more than the actual zombie part, I find it more interesting to see how people try and survive the beginning stages more so than hiding and surviving the middle stage. In Rise Again Danny takes control of the small group of people that weren’t affected, there’s a lot of action, blood and gore in this book except I found that sometimes the action slowed the pace of the story down rather than speeding it up. Plus my favourite character was killed off in the beginning and I found that disconcerting because it felt like he had been set up as a main character yet he had already died. From that point I realized that I wasn’t sure if I liked the tone of the book.

I couldn’t really connect with Danny, maybe it was because she was an older woman? Maybe it was because she had been in a war and from that she was changed and I could hardly relate to something of that size? Maybe it was because she was cold and couldn’t understand other people’s emotions? I just couldn’t connect to her nor like her as much as I wanted to. I felt detached from Danny because of this, I simply could not care what happened to her or if she found her sister.

The story was interesting though, the zombie’s and their evolution was different to what I’ve read before, which I liked. I just felt like Danny’s story wasn’t one that I wanted to read in this world.

Overall, I thought this was one of the better zombie apocalypse books. Even though I didn’t love it I still found it hard to put down, the story dragged me in and I wanted to see how humanity would survive it and if they could.

I recommend this book to people looking for a good gory zombie apocalypse book that aren’t too bothered by no character relationships or developments.

Autumn by David Moody

Autumn by David Moody - Cover - Review

Title: Autumn
Series: Autumn
Book one
Author: David Moody
Genre: Apocalyptic, Survival, Zombies
Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

A bastard hybrid of War of the Worlds and Night of the Living DeadAutumn chronicles the struggle of a small group of survivors forced to contend with a world torn apart by a deadly disease. After 99% of the population of the planet is killed in less than 24 hours, for the very few who have managed to stay alive, things are about to get much worse. Animated by “phase two” of some unknown contagion, the dead begin to rise. At first slow, blind, dumb and lumbering, quickly the bodies regain their most basic senses and abilities… sight, hearing, locomotion…  As well as the instinct toward aggression and violence.  Held back only by the restraints of their rapidly decomposing flesh, the dead seem to have only one single goal – to lumber forth and destroy the sole remaining attraction in the silent, lifeless world:  those who have survived the plague, who now find themselves outnumbered 1,000,000 to 1…

Without ever using the ‘Z’ word, Autumn offers a new perspective on the traditional zombie story. There’s no flesh eating, no fast-moving corpses, no gore for gore’s sake. Combining the atmosphere and tone of George Romero’s classic living dead films with the attitude and awareness of 28 Days (and Weeks) later, this horrifying and suspenseful novel is filled with relentless cold, dark fear.

Review

When I picked up Autumn I was looking for a good zombie apocalypse novel, I wanted something scary as well as interesting. That’s exactly what I got. In the beginning.

I really enjoyed the beginning of this novel, the way everyone died was intensely interesting and scary. I enjoyed reading how the characters that lived dealt with everything at first. Then the dead rose and it just got more intense and more exciting, except that the living characters just got weird and different. They panicked and picked sides, the lay blame and started going crazy, they tossed common sense out of the window and it was incredibly frustrating.

The main problem I had with this book was that the characters all sounded the same, they sounded like one person. When I would be reading any of them they would change drastically, they weren’t consistent and I suddenly found I was thinking of them as one person that had mood swings. I also found that each character became unlikable and annoying, I suddenly hated them all; I couldn’t relate and I couldn’t connect with any of them. They became very unlikable and it ruined the story.

I really enjoyed how the zombies evolved and changed, that was the most exciting part and I found myself thinking of the zombies as a character in their own right. They were way more interesting and I liked them a lot more than I liked the other characters. At least the zombies were consistent throughout the story!

Overall the beginning of this book was intense and exciting, however the end was crazy and weird, and the characters were just stupid, non-relateable, crazy and were just all over the place. I didn’t really like this book as a whole. I will not be reading the next in the series.

I recommend this book to people who are looking for a terrifying zombie read and can excuse character inconsistencies. The world is worth it, the characters and their story however are not.

Jord

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A zombie apocalypse: In an eNovella series format?

I know, I’ve already stated that this blog is on a hiatus. Thing is, I may randomly post something now and then, I just won’t hold myself to anything. Plus this is something I suddenly wanted to share with the world.

I just stumbled across this. At first I found it weird but now I’m loving this idea and I’m on the look out for more eNovella series’!

First we had eNovellas which were told in different POV’s, I kind of liked these because we got to see more of a secondary character. They would either be prequels or in between novels of a series to keep everyone going. Usually they weren’t necessary and honestly I never really want to buy them unless I love the series a lot.

Some eNovella’s felt like they were necessary and those are the ones I disliked because I felt like it wasn’t fair. I mean what if you can’t get your hands on that eNovella? What if you don’t have an eReader? What if it won’t ever be released in your country *Cough*Radiant by Cynthia Hand*Cough*? What are you to do? Well you can’t do anything about it.

Now I’ve stumbled across an eNovella series. A series which is labelled as ‘episodes’ and each ‘episode’ is around 20,000 words. At first I thought this was weird, I mean why doesn’t the author write a novel instead? And then I started reading it and I realised the benefits of an eNovella series instead of a novel series. I will use the one I’ve stumbled across as an example.

Love and Decay by Rachel Higginson – Episode One on Amazon

Love and Decay is an eNovella series about a zombie apocalypse. And I love it. I mean I’ve been looking for zombie apocalypse books that I could relate to for quite a while (Okay who says ‘relate to’ and ‘zombie apocalypse’ in the same sentence?). I’ve found a few zombie books that I really enjoyed, but couldn’t relate to any of the characters, or perhaps it wasn’t exactly what I’ve wanted but it was still enjoyable:

Ashes – The main character has a brain tumor and carries a gun around just waiting for the moment to kill herself just before the apocalypse happens, more about asking the thought provoking question ‘Just who are the monsters in the world’? Way too political for my tastes,
Rot and Ruin You should not kill the zombies unnecessarily, they used to be someone’s loved one. I DNF’ed this before I could read more in to this so maybe the idea changes? I wouldn’t know, I lost interest,
Enclave – Not zombies but was just exactly what I wanted when looking for a zombie book. Except it’s a dystopian so it’s not set in recent times, and once again; not zombies,
Alice in Zombieland – Supernatural, paranormal, not exactly a zombie apocalypse but really fun to read anyway,
The Forest of Hands and Teeth – Creepy, more about the society and the main character rather than the zombies, she was kind of crazy to me and I couldn’t relate to her at all, I didn’t really like her to be honest but the book was good,
Warm Bodies – A dark humor romance,
Taking on the Dead – I couldn’t get past the first few chapters, the main character already feels slightly crazy and it annoyed me more than anything else,
Zombie Fallout – I could not relate to nor feel for any of the characters that are introduced, because of that I stopped reading a few chapters in. I definitely feel like males would enjoy this one a whole lot more than me,
The First Days – I personally could not relate to any of the characters and got bored quickly.

I found a few that I thought were entertaining but as you could see “I couldn’t personally relate to any of the characters” comes up in a lot of them, this is because most of the characters were military, or were kind of crazy and had been planning for the zombie apocalypse for years so they had guns stashed away and knew what to do, or they were; male, older woman, unlikable, young, immature, reckless and annoying, or afraid of killing to survive or the opposite and not scared of being killed when realistically you should be peeing your pants. Or something of that nature.

I mean if there ever were a zombie apocalypse being in the military and having had  that training or really any kind of training just feels like it’s the only thing that would keep you alive. And while that is easily understandable and makes a ton of sense I personally can’t relate to that. Not everyone needs the skills or is in a position to learn the skills to survive like that. I felt like a lot of the jargon and characters went right over my head.

It all tells me normal people couldn’t survive a zombie apocalypse. Which is probably very true.  I mean I don’t spend my weekends sharpening my knives and learning how to behead the walking dead in anticipation of the zombie apocalypse like some people may do.  Still, I would like to think that I would at least have a chance of surviving if the zombie apocalypse happened; and I’m a person who has no idea how to use a gun.

So all I wanted to find was a good zombie book with a character that I could relate to, where the zombies attacked you because they wanted to eat your brains. Not a zombie book where the the main character had feelings for the zombies, or they have a conscience about killing the zombies because they used to be someone’s loved one, or even a zombie book where the zombies regain their humanity. Those are all well and good but comeee oooon! I just want a good damn zombie book where a normal person -okay so maybe a normal girl/young woman- learns how to kick ass and doesn’t have a conscience about killing things to protect themselves! Throw in a sexy realistic guy while you’re at it.

Obviously I was looking for a very YA version of the zombie apocalypse with a non-cheesy, realistic love interest that isn’t insta-love.

I have finally gotten my YA zombie apocalypse fix.

Love and Decay is the perfect series that I have been pining for for ages. It’s a refreshing take, the main character is not military, in fact she’s a high school girl. Well she would have been a high school girl if she still had to go to high school. I’m not in high school and definitely older but I can still relate.

Love and Decay actually feels like a tv series, you know when you watch an episode of your favourite show and you’re just dying to see the next episode. In each episode there’s a storyline within the bigger picture storyline and we get to see more of the characters, the world and the story than what we would in a movie. This eNovella series is like that; we get to see more than we would if this were a novel series. I feel like because these eNovella’s are short it leaves room for more character building and there’s just more that can happen without the reader getting bored and wondering how much more they have to read, all because it’s too short to feel like that. I’ve fallen in love with this.

An eNovella series? Genius. A YA eNovella series about the zombie apocalypse with a normal teenage girl as the main character that has to do what she has to do to survive and has no qualms about killing the already dead? Perfect. What’s more Episode one is free so you can check it out to see if it’s your cup of tea!

Love and Decay: Episode One | Episode Two | Episode Three | Episode Four | Episode Five

I got so excited after stumbling upon this series that I just had to share!

Miss J
x

[Review #85] Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick

Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick Cover - Review - Book two in the Ashes Trilogy Title: Shadows
Series: Ashes
Book two
Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Genre: Apocalyptic
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

The Apocalypse does not end. The Changed will grow in numbers. The Spared may not survive.

Even before the EMPs brought down the world, Alex was on the run from the demons of her past and the monster living in her head. After the world was gone, she believed Rule could be a sanctuary for her and those she’d come to love.

But she was wrong.

Now Alex is in the fight of her life against the adults, who would use her, the survivors, who don’t trust her, and the Changed, who would eat her alive.

Review

Honestly? I was incredibly excited about Shadows. I loved Ashes and even though I felt like the last half of Ashes wasn’t even half as exciting as the first half of the book, I was expecting Shadows to up the game and be a whole lot better.

What I got wasn’t close to my expectations. I was incredibly disappointed.

The pace of Shadows felt a lot slower which lead me to getting bored rather often. There were definitely exciting action scenes that had me turning the pages but the bits in between those scenes were very dull in comparison.

The main difference about Shadows is that it’s told in third POV from multiple characters. So many characters. Characters that we were introduced to in Ashes but I couldn’t remember who half of them were because there were so many and I read Ashes quite a while ago. Shadows didn’t quite go over who was who, it just dropped straight into their story. So I found myself getting very confused and constantly getting pulled out of the story as I was trying to remember who the character was and why their storyline was important.

The rate at which the POV’s changed also annoyed me. I would be getting into one character’s journey when it would suddenly change to another persons POV and all excitement would be lost. I found myself constantly wishing it would just stick with Alex’s POV and her story. I just wanted to freaking know what happened to Alex. Not Peter, Chris, Lena or any of the other POV’s. I get that this story is a lot deeper than just people surviving monsters that want to eat them, I get that it makes you really wonder who actually are the monsters, I get that you’re meant to question; but I just wasn’t enjoying it. I forgot why Alex even wanted to stay alive, I forgot where she wanted to go and why she was fighting so hard. It felt like the reason she was enduring everything wasn’t made very clear. Or perhaps I missed where she reminded us.

While I was overly disappointed with this story I’ve realised it’s because I expected a different story to the one this told. I expected something that the first half of Ashes had felt like. This story is a lot darker and scarier than the beginning of the series, the beginning of the series really just set this story up, it makes you question and gets you thinking.

So Shadows wasn’t at all what I expected and was pretty big disappointment for me.

In Summary:
– After reading Ashes I had high expectations, unfortunately this book didn’t meet them.
– The pace was a lot slower in this book which led me to getting bored multiple times.
– Shadows is told in multiple third POV’s which didn’t work for me. I had forgotten who most of the characters were and since there was no reminder in the book as to who was who I had a hard time following each storyline. I really just wanted to see Alex’s story, I couldn’t care less about most of the others.
– While I wasn’t a fan of the POV’s they did start to show us the whole picture. This series isn’t a typical zombie book series, it has a bigger picture. Just who are the monsters in this world?

Miss J

[Review #74] Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion - Review - Zombie Title: Warm Bodies
Series: Warm Bodies
Book one
Author: Isaac Marion
Genre: Paranormal Romance-ish
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads]

Summary

‘R’ is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows – warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can’t understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.

This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won’t be changed without a fight…

Review

Warm Bodies is a sweet post apocalyptic romance that just so happened to have a zombie as the main character.

R is a zombie. He has no memory of his life before he became one of the walking dead that now rule the world, he does not even remember how he was turned. But from the lack of injury to his body he figures he turned by natural causes and not too long ago as he hasn’t started decomposing yet. The only thing R can remember is that his name has something to do with an R; therefore he has held onto that bit of humanity and kept something of his name from his previous life.

One day when he goes out hunting, among the group of humans he and a group of other zombies are currently in the middle of eating, he discovers a girl. After just having devoured her partner, for reasons he can’t comprehend then and there, he decides to save her rather than eat her. And so his zombie life changes.

The main thing I liked about Warm Bodies was the humour; the blunt, dark humour. I found myself laughing out loud many times while reading this. R was an interesting and likeable narrator and to be honest that is the main reason I was able to finish this book. At the times I wondered where the story was going and what the story was even about his narration kept me reading.

Warm Bodies was sweet in places, scary in others and sometimes downright creepy. Yet I still found myself enjoying this. That was all. I didn’t love this and I didn’t hate this, I simply enjoyed this. It isn’t action packed or filled with graphic horror scenes, it’s about a zombie just trying to figure out why he isn’t happy in his life and why he has taken an interest in his food.

I recommend Warm Bodies to anyone wanting to read a post apocalyptic zombie novel that is more on the romantic comedy side rather than the horror side. It was sweet, super quick to read, and humorous – an enjoyable light read!

Miss J

[Review #70] Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter Cover - Review Title: Alice in Zombieland
Series: White Rabbit Chronicles
Book one
Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: Paranormal
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads]

Summary

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I’d tell my sister no.
I’d never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I’d zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I’d hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I’d tell them I love them.
I wish… Yeah, I wish.

Review

Alice in Zombieland is not a retelling of Alice in Wonderland.

Thought I would let you know that now. So if you want to read this book then go into it expecting a typical YA paranormal romance, and you will love it.

There are elements of Alice in Wonderland in this book. Like the white rabbit appears and the main characters share the same name. And maybe the fact that the zombies are on a different plane yet are on the same earth. Something like that anyway. Yet as a whole this is a very different story.

I went into this book expecting an epic zombie killing adventure with bad-ass characters. What I got was a high school situated, invisible hunting zombies, predictable young adult paranormal romance book.

You can see why I was disappointed.

Therefore the first half of this book screamed cliché, predictable and was very slow paced. This is why I have only rated this book three clubs.

However, the second half of this book is what really grabbed my attention. Once I had gotten over my disappointment and accepted the fact that this was a normal paranormal romance that was probably going to end predictably; I ended up really getting into the story and highly enjoyed the last half for what it was. Even though I saw what was coming.

Alice lost her entire family on her birthday, on the one night that she was able to convince her mother and father to take her and her younger sister Emma to Emma’s ballet recital. Her father never let them leave the house after dark. Alice thought he was crazy, always muttering about monsters that rise at night yet no one ever saw those monsters.

That night on the way home she convinced her mother to drive the way that passed the cemetery as it was at least twenty minutes quicker than the alternate route. But as they got there her father freaked out shouting that the monsters were there. He yanked the wheel from Alice’s mother trying to make her turn around but instead caused the car to flip. Killing everyone but Alice. Alice thinks she see’s weird humans eating her mother and father when she slips in and out of consciousness but when she wakes up in hospital she’s convinced she imagined it.

She moves into her grandparents house after that, moves high schools and her life changes. She’s never lived a normal life. Never gone to a party, never slept over at a friends house because her father was paranoid about the monsters, she’s never had a boyfriend or even gone out on a date. So everything is new and scary. Also with the fact that she’s lost her family and she can’t get over what she thought she saw, especially since she keeps getting sightings of a weird lady hanging just beyond her grandparents’  backyard fence, wearing a wedding dress and something just seems off about her.

In this book the zombies are spirits, they are not physical and this is not about a zombie apocalypse.

At first I didn’t like that the zombies were invisible to people that did not have the sight to see them and the people that had the sight could only attack them if they were in their ‘spirit form’, which meant their literal bodies would be empty and still as they fought. I didn’t like that they weren’t zombies that literally rose from the ground and began tearing and eating human flesh. Instead they were spirits that had the hunger for the human soul and when they ate a human they disappeared into the body and ate their soul causing the bodies blood to bubble to the top of their skin. Killing them in the physical world.

That right there is one cool idea.

So once I wrapped my head around it, I realised just how cool that was. The only thing is I only realised this after I had finished reading the book. Not while I was in the middle of reading it. I believe this is because I was too distracted trying to figure out how I had completely misjudged the premise of this book. The cover and the synopsis threw me off. That being said, I love this cover, it’s just gorgeous! It just feels misleading. But so does the summary. The summary barely reveals anything about the contents of this book. Yet it is very intriguing.

I felt like the first half of this book was so slow because it set up the world and the premise, and I had been expecting zombie-butt-kicking but the zombies didn’t really turn up until half way through the book. Once it got to the point where there was zombie-butt-kicking this book got exciting.

My favourite character in this book was Alice’s best friend Kat. She was bubbly, exciting and completely honest as well as brash. Yet she was also realistic, down to earth and had a vulnerable side to her that just made me want to give her a hug. Kat is a very strong and feisty character yet at the same time caring and an absolute delight. I usually cringe when there are characters that are meant to have a bubbly and over excited personality because most of the time they are written very flat with no dimension. Kat however has a lot of sides to her, she is definitely not one dimensional. 

I’m sad to say that the romance in this book is very predictable and bordered on insta-love. The direction of the story is also predictable. Multiple times through the book the word ‘cliché’ popped into my head.

So if you’re going to read this book expect a predictable storyline and cliché romance but fun and exciting butt-kicking action that happens non-stop from halfway through onwards.

I liked the end half of this book so much that I’m excited for book number two. I want to know why the zombies are so interested in Alice, and why she has abilities none of the others have.

I am intrigued.

Give Alice in Zombieland a go if you’re up for a paranormal romance with a bit of scary butt-kicking. Just don’t get hyped over it or expect it to be a retelling (It is most definitely not a retelling).

Miss J

[Review #63] Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick Cover - Review Title: Ashes
Series: Ashes Trilogy
Book one
Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Published: 6th September, 2011
Publisher: Egmont USA
Genre: Apocalyptic
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Whitcoulls NZ]

Summary

It could happen tomorrow . . .

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Review

Ashes had me addicted from page one!

I couldn’t put this book down for the first half. It was riveting , exciting and plain scary to read. I was dragged along with Alex trying to figure out what had happened to the world when everyone dropped to the ground in the most excruciating pain. With most never getting back up, and the few that did get back up had either ‘changed’ or had been ‘spared’ for some unknown reason.

Since I first opened Ashes right up until I finished reading it my every waking moment was thinking about this book; and I’m being quite serious. That is how much I enjoyed reading this book, and that doesn’t happen often with me as I do get bored easily sometimes. It had action, mystery, fear, a bit of blood and guts, romance, bravery, fear and obviously world changing events. Cataclysmic is the right word to describe it. I just loved it.

But while I definitely thoroughly enjoyed Ashes there were more than a couple of things that did not gel well with me and kept me from rating this a 5 club book, which I would have undoubtedly done otherwise.

The main problem I had with this was that I could barely stand the attitude of the characters. I found Ellie to be incredibly bratty, annoying, and selfish. I seriously do not know how Alex and Tom kept their cool around her because I wouldn’t have been able to not tell her to “Shut up and stop acting like a brat”, for as long as they did. Every time Ellie talked I cringed. I just could not for the life of me even begin to like her as a character because of her attitude.

Yeah I get that she’s a little girl that recently lost her father in a war, she saw her grandfather die, and now she’s in this world changing event where she herself could be killed, but her attitude? Seriously? She really needed an attitude check earlier in the game. And that really sucks because if she hadn’t of been so bratty I’m sure I could have really liked her.

Then: I really liked Alex up until three quarters of the way through the book, due to certain events it led her to start acting selfish and annoying. To me it felt off that she changed that way, it didn’t feel natural considering the events and the things she had been through. It was weird because the character development went in the opposite direction from what I find usually happens, which is from: annoying -> really likeable. For me it went from: really likeable -> annoying.

Another thing that stopped me from rating this book any higher was that the middle of the book felt like the plot changed direction from where the reader expected it to go; it flipped 180. The pace slowed right down, I got a little bored and I felt like if the author had gone in another direction with the plot it would have been a lot more exciting, more likeable and the pace wouldn’t have dropped.

Ohhh, but there’s one more thing that I need to get off of my chest. There was a love triangle that I did not expect to happen at all. I’ve never really thought about love triangles before, yeah sometimes they annoy me and other times they really work. But this love triangle felt forced, unnecessary, out of character and like it was put there to make the story more interesting rather than move the story forward. Instead it broke my heart a little. In a bad way.

You might argue that all of these points mean that the author was able to surprise the reader and it means book isn’t predictable. In my opinion these points didn’t feel like they worked as well as one would’ve expected if that had been the case. They frustrated me, angered me and lowered my rating overall. Therefore they hindered rather than furthered.

BUT in saying that, I found that I really, really loved this book. Yet at the same time there were a few things that just annoyed me too much. It’s like parts of this book are at the “Best book ever” side of the scale and then other parts are on the “Worst idea ever” side. This book stretches to both ends of the scale and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.

Regardless, I still think of this book as one awesome book!

Overall this book was the most exciting book I’ve read in a while. It was simply just thrilling to read, I could hardly read fast enough. I just loved it and devoured it within two days. So even though there were the few points that I felt like I needed to rant about they didn’t deter me from dying to read the next book as soon as possible!

Ashes was one of those books that I seemed to eat, live and breath until I was done reading. But then right when I was done I realised I needed to read the next book straight away. By description: Addicted.

I definitely recommend reading this book!

You may also like:
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Miss J

[Review #61] Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Outpost by Ann Aguirre Cover - Review Title: Outpost
Series: Razorland
Book two
Author: Ann Aguirre
Published: 4th September, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Whitcoulls NZ]

Summary

Deuce’s whole world has changed. Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.

To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around any more. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.

Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.

Review

This book had me reeling in anticipation, excitement, anger and heart-break. 

Outpost is just as exciting, if not more than Enclave. The second book to this series is packed with fear, action, fighting, romance and bravery. In a nutshell; I loved it.

In Outpost Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan are now living in Salvation; a town on topside that is surrounded by walls to keep the freaks out. Each one of them have been taken in by a different family, they’ve been split up and made to go to school. Everyone want’s them to fit in but for Deuce this is hard because she isn’t anything like the other girls. Fade isn’t speaking to her and she doesn’t know why, Tegan also keeps her distance but Stalker sticks around although because of his tattoo’s on his face he doesn’t seem to fit in either. Deuce decides to join up to the summer patrols whom guard the planters that harvest food for the winter while they work in the fields.

The freaks aren’t known to attack Salvation often, only when they’re starving but for some reason they’re seem to be around more than usual, what worries Deuce even more is that the freaks also seem to be acting different.

Outpost was one of those books that I couldn’t put down. When I picked it up to read it I got so lost in it’s pages that I had no recollection of time passing as I read, so I would read for hours non-stop without realising. I actually quite like it when I get stuck into a book this much, it tells me it’s one awesome book and it definitely deserves the five clubs!

I felt like I connected with Deuce on some level in this book. She mostly always put the people she cared about first, even if it meant she was in pain herself. That touched me and I understood where she was coming from. I loved that she wasn’t selfish like a lot of YA heroine’s can be, that was incredibly refreshing.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It was fast paced, action packed and exciting. I loved every minute of reading it!

Outpost is an exciting post apocalyptic book that has you’re heart racing.

I definitely recommend giving this series a go! I really don’t know how I’m going to wait for the next book!

Book 1 in the series:
Enclave

Miss J

[Review #51] Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Title: Enclave
Series: Razorland
Book one
Author: Ann Aguirre
Published: 12th April, 2011
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Dystopian
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Whitcoulls NZ]

Summary

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

Review

One thing I have to say about this book is: I have not read anything like it. Ever. Therefore, this was one epic read! Granted, I have never read any dystopian/apocalyptic books with a zombie apocalypse (Sort of at least).

The Apocalypse? Check!
Deuce lives in the Enclave, which is one of the village’s tunnels underground. The Enclave is surrounded by barricades used to protect the people from the Freaks, the Hunters guard it day and night. The Freaks are mindless creatures that are driven to madness by starvation, they only eat flesh. They resemble humans yet they have rows of sharp teeth used to tear meat and flesh apart and their eyes aren’t quite right. They eat any meat they can get their hands on, including their own kind. They hunt  by smelling blood, they are drawn into it and go into a crazy frenzy when they come near fresh meat.

The Enclave is lucky, their settlement includes a constant small stream of fresh water, the only light is the light from their wooden torches which cause the air to continuously be smoky, the hunters set traps for their food and they are the only ones allowed to venture out into the blackness. Whether it be to do their rounds of traps for food or to take a trading party to Nassau, one of the other underground villages three days trek away.

No one else is allowed to leave beyond the barricades for their own safety from the Freaks. No one dares to go Topside which is said to have water and light that burns flesh off of bone. But those that break the strict rules of law that have been set for everyone’s safety are banished from the Enclave and forced to protect their own.

Deuce has been training to be a hunter all her life, on her naming day she’s proud to get the six burn marks that represent she is a huntress. As her hunting partner she ends up being paired with Fade, the outsider that was found alone out in the tunnel’s a few years back. Fending off Freaks by himself. The Enclave brought him in but he never truly ever tried to belong, and so he has mostly been treated like an outsider. Deuce is a little disappointed at the turn out but doesn’t question it. She is finally a hunter after all, now she will be respected just like all the other hunters.

Originality? Check!
I loved that names of things weren’t names that we call them, in the enclave children were called brats, ‘children’ wasn’t even a word. Sex was called breeding: “They will try and breed you.” were said. Then there was the fact that these words were only used for the people of the Enclave. Other words were used for the different branches of people.

I loved that there were different ‘branches’ of humans that looked different or lived different because they were brought up in a completely different way. Yet they spoke English except, perhaps with an accent. I even loved that there were different evolutions of Freaks. It made everything so much more interesting and layered.

I loved this whole plot.

Fast-paced action? Check!
I loved how excited I felt when I read this book. The freaks scared me, in a really thrilling and exciting way. The fighting scenes had me holding my breath. The must-know-what-happens-next train of thought kept me awake till the early hours of the morning every night until I was able to finish this book. There was so much going on but it was extremely exciting getting to see the vastly different world through Deuce’s eyes.

Must read next books now? CHECK!
Outpost has just been released recently, which means I am waiting impatiently for it to arrive at my library. But that means that Horde (Book 3) is a whole year away… A. Whole. Year. A whole freaking year! That’s so far away. One thing I hate about awesome series’ is that the books are nearly always released at least a year a part. I’m too impatient for this! Way too impatient.

Overall I really loved this book, although I do have to say that it took me a large portion of the book to get used to the minimalist style of writing.

Enclave had me wanting more, more, more. It was exciting, thrilling and had me holding my breath from beginning to end! 

I definitely recommend this book if you like dystopian. Although even if you don’t I still recommend it because this dystopian is outside of the box.

I seriously think my next ‘craving’ is going to be anything along the lines of:
Apocalyptic,
Post Apocalyptic,
Zombies,
Apocalypse caused by Zombies, and,
Post Apocalypse with hybrid Zombie mutations.
Do you know of any awesome books that falls under any of these categories? I would love to learn about them!

If you liked Divergent, Legend and The Hunger Games you’ll like this!

Miss J