The world is about to go down the drain, and Lance York is barely aware of it. His own life, riddled with failures, seems to be in the toilet already. He bumps into an old coworker, Ron, who calls him ‘buddy’ but seems to be snickering at him half the time during their brief conversation. And then an apparently sick woman walks past them on the street and Lance attempts to keep her from walking into traffic, only to be hit by a vehicle himself. His wife Liz, who he is estranged from, meets him at the hospital. That is where all hell breaks out; not only is the sick woman from earlier there, but also other infected and they are getting more violent and hungry by the minute. Even with military reassurances that all will be well within the quarantined hospital, Lance, Liz, & Ron break out and flee. That is when the true adventure begins and Lance finally starts living his life.
This was another take on the current zombie craze, but an entertaining one. The start is admittedly a little slow, with Lance sniffling about his loser life and inwardly raging about his hateful wife. But once they part ways, things get really interesting for Lance and I really started enjoying his character. On the cover art, you see Cassandra (Cas) who actually doesn’t come into the story until about half way through. She is the most interesting character of the book and her arrival kicked the story up a notch. She carries a badass axe for dispatching the ravening infected. She dresses how she likes and has a practical haircut for the end of the world. I want to do shots with her.
So lets talk about the monsters. In this book they are some cross between zombies, vampires, and demons. In essence, they are all infected humans, but the infection has different stages. At first this isn’t apparent, but as the book moves forward you get to see the later stages of the disease and what the humans turn into. Also, our heroes speculate that the infected retain some of their intelligence, which makes them different from the common mindless zombies we see in nearly every zombie flick/book/tv. I really liked this aspect to the story and it added a new dangerous tone to the monsters.
Lance spent quite a bit of time early int eh book thinking angry thoughts about his wife. Justified or not, it started to feel like the author was using this scenario to exorcise some of his personal hate for a failed relationship. It was turning me off to the book because it was repetitive and Liz’s hoity-toity-ness was over played. If it had been toned down a bit, i would have gotten the idea quite well without getting bogged down in it.
The pacing of the story was good once we got past the initial moping by Lance. There were plenty of monsters that needed killing and plenty of humans simply taking advantage of the chaos. Action was interspersed with meaningful conversations or introspection. Over all, I am very glad I gave this book a try. I listened to it in 2 large sittings as I definitely wanted to see how ordinary Lance was going to keep himself alive. After all, he did start off in the chaos wearing nothing more than a hospital gown! Looking forward to book 2.
Narration: Wayne June did a good job with distinct voices as well as feminine voices. He put in plenty of emotion where it was called for. The terror of the monsters and wonder of a new found friend came through clearly.
What I Liked: The cover art; Cas & her axe; Lance is pretty ordinary & it was great to see how he managed everything; the monsters are more than your average zombies; I want to listen to Book 2!
What I Disliked: Liz (Lance’s wife) is a bit over done, like the author was trying to exorcise some personal demon – it became repetitive.