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review 2014-07-04 01:11
Liked the first "part" and the Irish setting
Drop Dead Gorgeous - Wayne Simmons

Opening Line: “Mere moments after ninety-nine percent of Belfast’s population dropped dead, like wound-down clocks, the silence descended.”


I really liked “Part 1” of Drop Dead Gorgeous and it’s worth 4 stars as the reader is introduced to several random people on any ole Sunday morning in Belfast. Something goes wrong with the world though and a lot of the hungover masses don’t wake up. We follow several others as they witness crashing cars, falling planes and survive train derailments. It seems that 99% of Belfast’s population has just dropped dead.


The set up was really good as we introduced to a bunch of intriguing characters (Star the tattoo artist, an alcoholic stuck in the 70’s radio DJ, Professor Herbert the agoraphobic, teenager Caroline and her crush on a soon to be derailed train and Siobhan shopping with her asshat boyfriend.)


I was initially invested in all these characters unfortunately though as soon as the masses finished dropping dead and the “end of the world” arrived for the survivors the story took on a completely different tone and things got pretty dull.


This never did become the zombie story I had naively been expecting, the dead don’t rise, they just stay where they dropped but they don’t decay either, they are preserved and waiting… We instead follow the politics of “preacher man” and a group of survivors barricaded in a school being governed in military fashion by an ex IRA operative and an RIR soldier. So yeah no problems with them getting along. Star and several others hunker down in the train station and just continue to party. 


I did enjoy that this took place in Ireland, nice to read an end of the world scenario that doesn’t take place in America but ultimately there ended up being too many characters and none of them were at all likeable. The violence factor amps up towards the end and there is some “rising” but not what I expected and by then I just wanted it to be over.


Struggled through this one. The first half is about a 4* read but as soon as the masses finished dropping dead and "the end of the world" arrived for the survivors it got pretty dull. Enjoyed that this took place in Ireland. A ton of characters and none of them very likeable. Ultimately I just wanted this to be over.  ~2.5~


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review 2014-06-16 23:26
More Than Just A Zombie Story
Day by Day Armageddon - J.L. Bourne

Opening Line: "January 1st 0358 hrs. Happy New Year to me"

Wow, this was a surprise! Before I begin I should tell you that I’ve never read a Zombie book in my life and I’m not a fan of the genre (although I did think Shawn Of The Dead was hilarious.) I generally read romance novels with the occasional biography thrown in. So you can imagine my surprise when I became absolutely engrossed in a book about surviving a plague of walking dead.

Day By Day Armageddon was unputdownable and had me alternating between being really freaked out,(checking doors and windows) despairing for the future of mankind  (afraid of the dark) and getting my personal survival kit ready for “that day” (weapons, food, Band-Aids, Gin) -Could I really kill my undead friends and neighbours?
Simply put this is more then just a zombie novel and this romance reader loved every minute of it.

DBDA has been written from the first person and in the form of a journal which for me increased the suspense factor. Because our unnamed hero  sometimes starts out an entry with things like “0430 hrs- I’m still weak from blood loss” before going back and explaining. As the reader you’re like, holy shit what happened last night?

The narrator is a US Navel officer who begins his journal as a New Years resolution. It all starts out rather mundanely with day to day life stuff and a few ominous mentions like this one
"It seems that something is going on in China; the local news reported some type of influenza virus sweeping them over there.”

The flu is of course the Zombie virus and it spreads to apocalyptic proportions within months. I found these parts really interesting; how the author saw the realistic (?) breakdown of society, media blackouts and the extents the US government ultimately took to eradicate the disease. In the early entries our hero spends a great deal of time describing (in a very calm manner) how he safe guards his home; locating and stockpiling weapons and ammunition, collecting food and water and having an alternate power/communication plan in action. He’s a super smart guy and although the military jargon and descriptions of guns got to be a bit much I’d definitely want him on my side.

With swarms of undead now parading through the streets our barricaded hero eventually teams up with his neighbour John and with no options left the pair flees the city, picking up other survivors along the way and dealing with a multitude of post apocalyptic problems. The futility of it all really got to me here as they struggle to stay alive under ridiculous odds. I had a hard time seeing a point to it all. (Good bet I wouldn’t survive)

This book is full of action and also a ton of well written suspense although it wasn’t as gory as I was I expecting. Don’t get me wrong though, it has its moments but its not gore for gores sake, all the kills are warranted. (Can’t believe I just said that) As silly as this sounds this book really made me think; what would I do? How could I prepare myself? Could I survive? I should also warn you that this is addictive reading and that the ending is well… more than a cliff-hanger. Just make sure you have book 2 (Beyond Exile: Day by Day Armageddon) on hand because the war on Zombies isn’t over yet. 

Highly Recommended for lovers of apocalyptic fiction, Zombie fiction, horror, adventure, disaster stories, military buffs, survivalist fiction and the occasional romance reader. Cheers!               
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review 2014-03-28 00:56
Epic dystopian, super long but worth the effort
The Passage - Justin Cronin

Opening Line: “Before she became the Girl From Nowhere --the One Who Walked in, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years—she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy."


I wanted to give this 5 stars because it is pretty damn fantastic; the complex story, the imaginative and often beautiful writing, the suspense, the hopelessness, but oh my god it’s long. At around 900 pages it took me over a month to read and towards the end became more of a goal to finish than anything else. I was so ready to move onto something else but didn’t want to miss a thing either.


 The Passage also reads like two totally different books with the first part taking place pre-apocalypse, as the virus/cure is discovered, developed, tested on several subjects and followed through it’s epidemic. It then jumps several hundred years into the future and several generations of survivors later as we follow them in their new scary world.


 There is a huge cast of characters to follow in both ‘parts’ (very Stephen Kingish that way) and I enjoyed them equally. Along those lines I would categorize this as an apocalyptic masterpiece reminiscent of Kings The Stand, or Robert McCammon's Swan Song including suggestions from Salem's Lot, Cormac McCarthy's The Road and a bit of Walking Dead thrown in for good measure.


It’s definitely worth reading but you’re going to have to make a commitment.

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