Unfortunately, this one is a “nope”. I’m far enough in to know that the writing style will not work for me, but not far enough in to be able give it any kind of a rating. Ordinarily, I’d persist until at least 50 pages before making a decision about the book one way or another, and to feel comfortable assigning a rating, but as I’m going out of town this weekend, I just don’t want to deal with it.
So, DNF, no rating. I was reading this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly square Cars Land 18: Read a book that was published in 2006, 2011, 2013, or 2014, the years of Cars and its sequels, or that has a car on the cover, but will choose another book instead.
eBook version on Kindle app.
This is the short story/novella version of every 1950’s Creature Feature B movie, where the teenagers witness everything and frantically try to get help, only to have all the adults dismiss them as crazy kids pulling a prank. Except in this case, it’s little kids instead of teenagers. Good entertainment, SK style.
The “bonus story” The Dune is much shorter story, with fairly classic SK story elements, but there’s no horror or gore here, just an odd little story of mysterious events, with a fun little twist at the end.
Audiobook version, borrowed from my public library. Thomas Sadoski (Mile 81) and Edward Herrmann (The Dune) bring their stories alive, perfectly capturing the characters through whom the story is told.
Warning: 90% of this review is hidden under spoiler tags. Don’t read if you don’t want to be spoiled!
Fantastic storytelling and interesting characters lift this novel above the obvious flaws in logic. I especially loved the ending, where
the humans’ last stand, living in isolation in desperate conditions, is found by the second generation Hungries, only to find that the new species has no interest in eating them, but instead regards them with the anthropological interest of 20th century explorers from the West who come across the last aboriginal tribe.
But there are tremendous black holes in the logic that makes up the framework of this story, that the author makes no attempt to address.
Consistently for every character except Rina, a Hungries bite turns them into a shambling, mindless, flesh-craving zombie within seconds. But Rina took about half an hour before demonstrating symptoms, and Stephen’s internal monologue insisted that this was normal. Also, if the 2nd Gen are children who are exposed in utero, but Hungries are undead, and a Hungry’s bite turns you within seconds, (or even 30 mins as for Rina), how can there be so many 2nd Gen children? Rina was only able to carry her baby to term and give birth to it because Stephen was able to concoct a medicine to delay her conversion for several (days? Weeks?). Other mothers wouldn’t have this benefit. So the chances that a mother could give birth in the seconds to minutes of time elapsed between being bitten and being undead are so miniscule that it can’t account for the numbers of 2nd Gen children that the team sees. Unless the women who are pregnant when bitten continue to gestate and give birth in their undead state. But even this doesn’t make much sense. The undead don’t grow or change or seemingly carry out normal bodily functions, so how can an undead woman carry a baby to term? Nourish the baby in utero? Go through labor? Who would care for the first 2nd Gen babies? Do they just lay where they’re dropped until they grow their teeth and learn to crawl by themselves until they’re able to crawl around and gnaw on whatever living creatures can’t get away from their freakish baby teeth?
Well, none of that makes any sense to me, when I stopped to puzzle over it, and the author never addresses it. And yet, it was such a good story that I just barreled past all these questions to get to the ending, which was a good one.
Audiobook, purchased via Audible. Finty Williams provides an outstanding performance.