PJV Quickie: This book had a fairly promising start, but that was extremely short lived; it was all downhill from there. It’s going to be hard to find something nice to say about this novel, so stick around to find out what worked for me, and what didn’t. SPOILER: Most of it didn’t. I also want to let you guys know that this book is no longer free on Amazon; it just so happened to go off Freebie status when I was almost done reading.
Author: Kirk Allmond
Series: What Zombies Fear, #1
Published: September 8, 2011 by Kirk Allmond
Source: Amazon Kindle Freebie
A small percentage of humans are genetically immune to the parasite. Instead of turning these humans into mindless shamblers, they gain enhanced abilities. These new abilities will be pushed to their limits in their quest to carve out a safe haven to call home. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.com)
Oh, where to start on this one? Let me just say that the thing that drew me to picking this book for the Freebie Feature was the fact that it wasn’t just a generic zombie novel. I loved that the author put a spin on things by adding in zombies that have special powers. I also thought the first two chapters weren’t too awful; they described how Victor Tookes (or just Tookes for short) first learned about the impending zombie apocalypse and rescued his 3-year-old son, Max. At this point I was thinking to myself, “Hey, this book might actually be pretty good!” I must have jinxed it, because I don’t have any positive feedback for the rest of the novel.
I ended up despising Tookes. His mourning of a certain person who was very close to him was so short, I had to wonder if he even loved said person in the first place. I know, I know, if zombies actually existed and tried to kill everyone, you wouldn’t have time to dwell on things. I would have liked him to show a little more passion over the death though. If he doesn’t care about that character, why should we as readers? He also developed this macho-man attitude after a while, and the dialogue between him and another survivor made me think of a really cheesy action movie. I found myself giggling while reading the exchange, which I’m sure wasn’t the reaction the author was looking for.
Since we’ve already segued into it, let’s talk about the dialogue in this book. It was pretty atrocious. One instance involved Leo, a fellow survivor who joins Tookes and Max on their journey, telling a story of how she got where she was when they found her. It lasted 15 pages, which is not an exaggeration, and was written so awkwardly that it was hard to get through. The dialogue was not at all like actual people talk to each other. There were too many little, minuscule details for it to sound like authentic speech. I don’t want to quote the book without the author’s permission, so I will just make up a few sentences to show you what I mean. A normal person might say, “I went to the store and bought some bread.” If that same line were in this book, it would probably read, “I went to Walmart. When I got there, I walked in the door. A lady spoke my name; it took me a few minutes to register where I had seen her before, but then I remembered that she was my son’s teacher. We chatted for a few minutes, with me commending her on her teaching abilities. When we finally parted, I made my way to the bakery section to buy the one thing that caused me to make the trip to Walmart in the first place: bread.” That is how all 15 pages of this long, boring section were written. Then, to top it off, in the middle of her telling this supposedly suspenseful story, Tookes interrupts her to ask where she got her accent. This guy, I swear. That really couldn’t have waited until she had finished? This same strange dialogue occurs throughout the book, but another long instance occurs towards the end as well and it almost caused me to mark this one a DNF. If the author wanted the characters’ stories to be so drawn out and detailed, he would have been better off giving them their own chapters and simply removing the quotation marks. Presto, first person point of view!
I think you get the idea about the dialogue, but there is entirely too much description plaguing most of this book. For example, Tookes rambles on and on about reinforcing the fence at his mom’s house for so long that I kept zoning out and had to keep telling myself to stay focused. He also really loves his guns. So much time was spent describing the guns and what he was doing with said guns, it started to annoy me. I get it; he likes his guns and knows a lot about them. That’s great, but not really essential to the story, especially not when it’s repeated over and over again. He even named one of his guns “Sammie”, which I found endlessly confusing. I kept forgetting he named it and tried to figure out who this Sammie person was, only to remember that it’s an inanimate object.
I noticed on the book’s page on Amazon that the author stated he had What Zombies Fear: A Father’s Quest professionally edited in early 2012, so I’m guessing people had complained about lack of editing previously. Even so, I still found some grammar/spelling errors. Not enough to cause me to want to rip my hair out, but I still noted them. This book received about a 4 star average on Amazon, so obviously not everyone felt the same way I did. I’m glad they enjoyed it; I did/could not. If you think this might be a book you would enjoy, you may be interested to know that there are three other books out in the What Zombies Fear series: The Maxists, The Gathering, and Fracture.