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review 2021-01-04 04:16
Review: Dread Nation
Dread Nation - Justina Ireland,Bahni Turpin

To start, I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided I HAD to read this. I shall quantify this by saying, as someone who has lived her intire life dealing with the reality of slaver, racism, and mysoginy, I despise dealing with it in my fantasy world. I actively avoide books and movies that are racially charged or heavy with the sexism. Sometimes you can't avoid it, and sometime and book/movie is so effing fantastic that I can give it a pass. Dread Nation is going on the list. But make no mistake, the racism really grated on me.  Also, it was in first person perspective, which I normally loathe; this was not bad.

 

With that being said, this was an amazing story, and what drew it to me was zombies, combined with historical fiction, and black people in the forefront. The characters were fun and likeable, even when they were unliekable. The world building was amazing and the writing was incredible!

 

We follow Jane McKeene a half black/white girl who is a student at Miss Preston's School for Negro Girls (I think that's what it was called.) Basically when the dead decided to get up and walk during the battle of Gettysburg The Civil War "ended" and the war vs the Dead began. The North still "won" and blacks were given freedom, but not really. They, along with indigenous tribes were swooped and placed in combat schools where they taught them how to be on the frontlines in the battle against the dead, as well as beat their culture and "savageness" out of them so that they can better serve their white betters. Sigh, I'm letting the bitterness bleed into the review.

 

Anyway Jane gets thrust into crazy adventures and all around bad situations with her nemisise Kathrine Devaraux, who is also of mixed race, but a goody-goofy know-it-all, which irks Jane to no end. There are devious plots, secret "utopia" towns, crazy scientists with vaccines and terrible experiments. There is also the dead, which the characters refer to as shamblers. There's a lot of death, allies, betrayals and grudging friendships.

 

I've heard the narrator before and they were amazing. They captured the voices and brought the world to life.

 

Just read/listen to it; it was great!

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review 2020-06-09 15:31
Wasteland
Surviving The Evacuation, Book 2: Wasteland - Frank Tayell

by Frank Tayell

 

This is the second of the Surviving the Evacuation series of zombie books by Frank Tayell. I'm not generally a fan of zombie stories, but the first one, London, was so good I decided to try this one and see how far I end up going. The writing is well above average and keeps my interest so that the subject matter becomes background to a well-told story.

 

The characterisation of the main character, Bill, holds up well and a lot of new personalities enter the story. They are distinct and believable, as are the details of the plot, as long as you can believe in zombies. The writing is, overall, excellent.

 

The only thing I would complain about in this one is the ending. Like too many series, it was more like the end of a chapter than the end of the book. I prefer series where each one comes to a definite conclusion. As it happens I do have the next book so I will continue, perhaps next year. After that we'll see. As I said, zombies are not my favourite subject. I would certainly read something else by this author.

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review 2020-04-29 15:41
End Times: Rise of the Undead
End Times: Rise of the Undead - Shane Carrow

by Shane Carrow

 

Oh the feels! I'm not a big fan of zombie stories in general but this is one of the better written ones I've seen.

 

The story is set in Australia, beginning in Perth. Aaron is writing in his journal about applications to colleges, parties at the end of school where his twin brother Matt is very popular but he is not, and about a meteorite that falls near a small town on the other side of the country.

 

Soon reports start coming in from that town about a strange virus, first thought to be rabies, then something else... see where this is going?

 

All too soon Aaron and Matt discover they're on their own in a world where all services have stopped and the undead are out to attack anything that moves. Their phones are running out of charge so they can't even communicate with their father, who got stuck in another small town where he was looking after their grandmother before the road blocks went up.

 

I could really feel the tension as Aaron and Matt try to make decisions in an adult world where they were only just starting to take their first steps towards self-responsibility. Now they have to survive and there's no rule book, no authority to consult.

 

Despite a couple of predictable elements necessary for this genre, the plot progressed with a lot of unpredictable elements and what especially struck me was the realism of how people might react, both good and bad, in a survival situation. Since the journal is written by Aaron, it's a first person narrative and we see his own emotional responses to the need to adapt in a far too rapidly disintegrating civilisation.

 

Both Matt and Aaron develop in various ways as the struggle to survive takes them into situations they had never thought of and they have no choice but to think on their feet and react accordingly.

 

By the time we get to the last entry I was completely wrapped up in the boys' struggle and although I could see a couple of things coming as events led up to the action packed conclusion, it didn't detract from my full experience of everything that happened. This one is an easy 5 stars, just for bloody effective writing.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-04-26 06:46
Review: World War Moo
World War Moo: An Apocalypse Cow Novel - Michael Logan

This was...wowzers.  It was a very good sequel.  I'm not sure how I feel about that ending, but I also do not think it could have ended any other way.

 

Note To Self: Write a better review after the readathon.

 

Updated Review (too many days later):

 

So this was a bit more serious that it's wackier predecessor.  We are reunited with the survivors of Apocalypse Cow and are met with some new characters.  Now the secret is out that the British Government created a biological weapon, and that they inadvertently let out of the laboratory.  The virus, which was engineered for animals, has now mutated and made the jump to humans.  There is an entire island of infected people trying to make the best of the life they've been cursed with.  Meanwhile the rest of the world believes they have the right to make the decision about whether or not these infected people have the right to live.  The fear is that the infection will eventually escape the island and infect the rest of the world.  Both positions are understandable and even defensible.

 

Our heroes are thrust back into the thick of things.  Geldolf learns that his mother was right to hide him from his grandfather, who is a greedy old man concerned only with profits and securing his legacy.  When the man learns that his daughter is still alive on the island, he tasks his grandson with hiring a team of mercenaries to infiltrate Scotland and rescue her.  Geldolf invites himself on the mission, Both to escape his grandfather and to see his mother again--not positive that the rescue mission will work.

 

There are a lot of shenanigans by both sides, threats and posturing and both secretly plan to destroy the other.  The problem is that each side is only seeing things from their own viewpoint.  In the end members from both sides seem to see reason, but will the powers that be agree?  It's a bit of an open ending, which...meh.  Based on how the plot played out, it makes perfect sense.  It would have been hard to create a truly good ending choosing either side.  However; there is also and opening for another sequel, without the absolute necessity for one.  I enjoyed this very much, but am still not certain how I feel about the ending.  I'll go with neutral.

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text 2020-04-26 05:45
Reading progress update: I've read 260 out of 320 pages.
World War Moo: An Apocalypse Cow Novel - Michael Logan

While this has gotten more serious, it still has its funny bits.

 

"...Got a comedian to tell them jokes. He swears the all laughed."

 

"What's a cow laugh sound like, the?" Tom said.

 

"I wasn't there, so I can't rightly say. A but evil, I imagine, like: Moo-ha-ha!"

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