Book Blurb: Late Fall 2010 Reuters Estimates say that nearly three thousand people nationwide, and fifteen thousand people worldwide have died of the H1N1 virus or Swine flu and nearly eighty thousand cases have been confirmed in hospitals and clinics across the United States and the world, the World Heath Organization reported.
This will NOT be a spoiler free review. There is too much that I can’t figure out how to address without talking about it in detail. That said, I honestly don’t think you will be missing much by reading my spoilered version of the review versus the actual book.
My Opinion: I love a good zombie book. Let me say it again. I love a good zombie book. This does not fall into that category. A little back-story: I won the second book in this series (of about 8 books, all self-published) from Goodreads. I saw book one was only $0.99 on Smashwords, so I grabbed it and got reading. I mean, I have to review my books from Goodreads giveaways, but I can’t start with book two of a series. That is just… unnatural.
I knew right away that I wasn’t going to enjoy this book. There are too many inconsistencies. Right off the bat we have our main protagonist (Michael Talbot) encountering zombies. He is excited about it. Even the most avid zombie enthusiast would be scared out of their mind if the dead started to rise. And the zombie apocalypse has been happening for an hour, and here are a ton of decomposed corpses, maggots and all. Hmm. That doesn’t seem right.
The book blames the zombification of the human race on H1N1 vaccines, but it doesn’t go into the science of it at all. When coming from something like The Newflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant (where she did her damn research on virology and medicine) it is very flat and unsatisfying.
Michael Talbot is a former marine. This is something we are reminded of every other page. He is also a special blend of chauvinist and misogynist. Every time he notices a female character, the first thing he comments on is how attractive she is. He looks down on anyone who doesn’t know how to use a gun, or who is on the elderly side (unless they prove that they know how to use a gun). On many occasions he is contemplating his emotions and his desire to not kill the zombies, especially if they are sentient. And then he brushes off these thoughts as feminine and tells himself he will be needing tampax next.
In short, I hated the main character. A male main character doesn’t have to be all touchy-feely to garner a connection from female readers. But (for me, anyways) he sure as hell has to treat female characters with respect.
From an author standpoint, I found that Mark Tufo didn’t treat his female characters with respect either. They are all the flimsy, harping, whiny sort that men constantly whine about, but in reality are not that common. Again, not every female character has to be a gun-toting badass to be respected, but they should have some redeeming qualities to them.
There were some plot devices that, at least looking at the first book alone, really didn’t fit. The book would have been a whole lot shorter without them, so maybe they were thrown in for bulk. There was the side plot about the almost cheating that happened between Michael and his smoking hot friend. Because men and women can’t be friends without women having an ulterior motive. Then there was the woman zombie who macked on our main character, sending him into some sort of insanity for three days where he spoke the Lord’s Prayer. Backwards. In Latin. Which his wife just happens to speak. And there was a situation with a very sick man having a zombie woman in his basement as a plaything. Seriously? What does that have to do with anything?
The writing was just shy of horrid. I wished it was a physical book when I read the phrase “…with precise precision.” so I could throw it down in disgust. But it was an e-book, and it isn’t my e-reader’s fault that the editing was bad. So I opted not to break it. There was a lot of “Because I am a marine!” and “I just happened to know” and “I just happened to be there” going on. It was weak, and it didn’t sit well with me. The author attempts to infuse the book with humor, which was fine at first, but it gets old very fast. The foreboding was heavy handed, and there was no element of surprise when something bad happened.
And then we have Tommy. I liked Tommy as a character. He is a special needs kid who is rescued along with Michael Talbot’s son from the Walmart where they work. He has the voice of Ryan Seacrest in his head that tells him what to do, and what is going to happen. As a character idea, Tommy was solid. But how he was written was not. Instead of acknowledging that he would have to be a high functioning individual to work at Walmart (even through an advanced hiring system) we get the Tommy who can’t eat without smearing food all over his face, the Tommy who is incapable of proper speech, etc. Bad form.
Also, don’t you think if rigor mortis was a problem for the zombies (as is mentioned when they try to do things like move their hands a certain way) they might, I don’t know, not be moving at all?
I am very glad this book is done.
Bottom Line: There are definitely better zombie books out there.