Stars: 2 out of 5
This was rather disappointing. I’m always on the lookout for a good zombie story, and this one had promise. The first chapter sure packed an emotional punch. Two women thrown together by circumstances and desperately trying to survive in a world gone mad overnight. It looked like it would be a bloody and scary romp through rural Texas fighting zombies and finding strength and friendship in each other. And it was just that for the first 100 pages or so. But once they rescue Jenni’s stepson and join the other survivors, thigs quickly degenerate.
All of a sudden, instead of being decisive, smart and brave, these girls just give up all of their initiative to the first male figure they encounter. It’s like they switch off their brains and switch on their hormones. Big man will protect me! I don’t have to think anymore. I just have to spread my legs! Jenni is the biggest offender on that front. And the whole story becomes this weird love square between Katie, Jenni, Travis and Juan. Did we really need that? The world is literally ending around them, why do I have to read about who hooks up with whom?
Not to mention how false that reads. I mean Katie just witnessed her beloved wife, the one she literally describes as her whole world, become a zombie and try to eat her face off. That was not even a week ago. And suddenly she has strange feelings for Travis and is doubting her sexuality? What happened to loss and grief and time to process the enormity of what happened? Jenni witnessed her abusive husband kill and eat both her children and barely escaped with her life. Yet as soon as she sees an attractive man, she switches off her brain and starts thinking only with her nether parts. But the least said about Jenni the better. Her characterization is problematic at best.
That’s another issue with this book – characterization. It’s inconsistent. Characters do and say things that sometimes wildly clash with how they behaved before and what they were said to believe in. Some plot points and arcs don’t do anything to advance the plot and are there only either for shock value or to add some zombie gore. Like that whole adventure to rescue Jenni’s stepson, what was that about exactly? He fades into the background almost as soon as they reach the refugee camp and has no further role to play in the story. Heck, the dog has more page time than the kid, and more personality.
And it feels like the characters worry more about who will sleep with whom than the more pressing matters, like how to secure food and other supplies. What will happen when electricity goes down and running water dries out. They should be planning raids on nearby stores and pharmacies, and securing a source of running water. They should be thinking about hygiene and how to prevent the spread of diseases that will inevitably follow. Even the common flu can kill. Not to mention dysentery, which they are all likely to get if they don’t figure out a safe way to preserve food and boil the water they drink. I know, I know, I’m asking too much, but I was looking forward to a good zombie survival book, and instead I got this…
At least I crossed another book off my TBR list, I guess. And this one has been sitting on it since 2018.