Posts Tagged ‘Zombie’

Buddy Review: Memoirs Of A Neurotic Zombie

Jeff Norton
RGB ZombiecoverFRONT‘My name is Adam Meltzer and the last thing I remember was being stung by a bee while swinging at a robot-shaped pinata on my twelfth birthday. I was dead before the candy hit the ground.’
Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie is narrated by the hilarious Adam Meltzer – pre-teen, worrywart, and now zombie. Adam’s family gets the fright of their lives when he turns up at their door . . . three months after his funeral.
Soon Adam’s back at school trying to fit in and not draw extra attention to himself, but when he sees his neighbour Ernesto transform into a chupacubra, and the beautiful Corina (Adam’s number one mega-crush) turns out to be a (vegan) vampire, undead life is never going to be the same again.
A hilarious adventure caper – if Ferris Bueller met Shaun of the Dead – all about friendship and being yourself . . . even if you’re undead.

Posted by Faye and Caroline

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: August 2014
Format: ARC
Pages: 256
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Caroline & Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Them Or Us

David Moody

them or usThe war that has torn the human race apart is nearing its end. With the country in the grip of a nuclear winter, both Hater and Unchanged struggle to survive. Hinchcliffe, leader of an army of Haters, will stop at nothing to be at the top of the new world order.

For me, ‘Them or Us’, the third and final instalment in the ‘Hater’ series was the best book by far in the trilogy.

For those of you that have not read the previous two books, the premise is simple. In ‘Haters’, the world has suddenly split into two groups of people. The ‘Unchanged’ are the majority of the population who have, unsurprisingly, not experienced any changes. Then there are the ‘Haters’. There is no way of working out who may turn into a ‘Hater’. Just imagine one moment you’re plodding along as content as can be, the next moment you have this uncontrollable urge to kill the person walking past you in the street. Inexplicably, you just know who is a fellow ‘Hater’ and who is the ‘Unchanged’ that must be eradicated.

Moody is the master of slow building tension. In the first book, as you witness the worlds population slowly start to fall apart it is almost painful to read, as Moody focuses on the mundaneness of the lead character’s life interspersed with shocking scenes of violence and the tension just increases throughout until you get to the shocking finale which is truly, ‘jaw drop’ worthy.

The second book, ‘Dog Blood’ details the build up and inevitable conclusion between the ‘Haters’ and the ‘Unchanged’, whilst the two groups are fairly evenly matched, the ‘Unchanged’ by their larger population, the Haters due to their unflinching ferocity towards the ‘Unchanged’. Due to the stepping stones Moody put in place in book one in terms of character building, the events that unfold in book two are all the more heart wrenching and your jaw is now touching the floor as you race through the closing chapters.

In this book, Great Britain has now been ravaged by numerous nuclear attacks by both the ‘Unchanged’ and the ‘Haters’ leaving the majority of the kingdom uninhabitable and in the midst of an unforgiving nuclear winter. The ‘Unchanged’ are now far and few between, slowly being hunted to extinction. The ‘Haters’ primary function which was killing the ‘Unchanged’ is pretty much redundant. They are left trying to adjust to a harsh environment where food and provisions are limited and only those that are useful in some way stand the slightest chance of getting provision and security whilst infighting and abuse between the Haters is rife.

Our protagonist Danny McCoyne, a man who has certainly been no hero for either side is physically and emotionally spent and just wants to be left alone. He continues to reign in the ‘Hate’ a rare skill that enables him to be within close contact of the Unchanged whilst suppressing the urge to kill. This makes him noticed by ‘Hinchcliffe’ a bully of a man that rules the large Hater community Danny resides with and uses him to flush out the remaining ‘Unchanged’.

As his future existence and that of his peers looks bleaker and bleaker under Hinchcliffe’s brutal regime, Danny is forced to choose a side when conflicts between the ‘Haters’ themselves and of course the remaining few ‘Unchanged’ come to a climax. This results with his decisions and actions being the main turning point to end at least this trilogy’s final chapter.

Guillermo del Toro has acquired the rights to make this series into a movie and it will be very interesting to see how the story is reflected on screen.

Verdict: This series will stay with me for a long time. It’s morbid, shocking and an absolutely fascinating and thought provoking read.

Reviewed by Karen

Publisher: Gollancz
Publication Date: September 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
Genre: Horror
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Karen
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British book
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Undeadly

Michele Vail

The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird…
Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper-and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts.
Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with. To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly-against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally

In Molly’s world the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians are not so ancient. Following the betrayal of some of his reapers and the earth shattering war in the underworld which followed, the god Anubis took the five magical powers reserved for reapers and gifted them to five prominent and noble families. Each power, associated with a different part of the soul, allowing them to control a different element of the dead. Over the generations, the bloodlines have become diluted and the ability’s of these Necromancers wide spread.

Molly’s ability, to create and control zombies, is the most common. A gift she shares with her sister and at least three other people in her school. Rather than make her special, all these gifts ensure is that she spends her evenings and weekends working at her fathers Zombie emporium, where for a price anyone can cheat death and have their relative immortalized as a zombie.

Undeadly is told from Molly’s first person perspective, interspersed with diary entries, essays and quotes from “famous necromancing” texts. I initially found it difficult to connect with Molly, her use of teen speak, slang and abbreviations really grated on my nerves and as an old biddy in her thirties, I found myself re-reading passages in order to “translate” what was being said. However within a few chapters I managed to connect with the rhythm of her voice to the extent that I found myself giggling along in places.

I really enjoyed the ancient Egyptian mythology that Vail used as the foundation of the world building in Undeadly. It was an original and interesting addition to the YA paranormal genre

Undeadly didn’t live up to my expectations, inspired by a somewhat misleading blurb. I envisioned an antagonistic relationship between Molly and Rath, who’s strong emotions could either lead to passion or something more sinister – ultimately Molly’s interactions with her reaping tutor received very little page time. The blub prophesied that Molly would have to “go through hell” to correct her mistakes, but the reckoning when it came was a very small proportion of the book and anti climatic.

Undeadly was a fast read, exceptionally so, to the extent that I found myself checking Goodreads to confirm that the book really was 272 pages long, as it felt much shorter. I can’t help feeling that the book could have been and should have been longer, that the author could have made much more of the character interactions, the strange goings on at Nekyia, and the repercussions of Molly’s interference with Rick.

While I suspect that the author will explore the repercussions of Molly’s actions and Molly and Rath’s connection in future installments of the Reaper diary’s, she certainly ends the book with an almighty cliffhanger, I find myself unsatisfied. Undeadly felt unfinished, almost like reading part one of a novel not the completed first book in a series.

Verdict: Undeadly didn’t quiet live up to my expectations but was different enough for me to consider reading the, yet to be published, sequel.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: November 2012
Format: eARC
Pages: 272
Genre: Paranormal
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Debut Author
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The Walking Dead Compendium 2

Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard

Returning with the second eight volumes of the fan-favorite, New York Times bestseller series, The Walking Dead, collected into one massive paperback collection!
This is the perfect collection for any fan of the Emmy Award-winning television series on AMC: over one-thousand pages chronicling the next chapter of Robert Kirkman’s Eisner Award-winning continuing story of survival horror – beginning with Rick Grimes’ struggle to survive after the prison raid, to the group’s finding short solace in The Community, and the devastation that follows. In a world ruled by the dead, we are finally forced to finally start living. Collects The Walking Dead #49-96.

Now, that the televised ‘Walking Dead’ series 3 is kicking about, I’m going to try and make sure this review is as spoiler free as possible. There are some in here but I hope that they are obvious and expected developments.

I can’t tell you how eagerly I have been waiting for the second compendium to come out, especially considering the incredibly huge, jaw dropping ‘I didn’t see that coming’ finale that the first compendium ended with. The initial compendium was actually my first foray into comics….sorry, slaps hand, graphic novels. As a fan of the TV series and knowing that Robert Kirkman helped create the graphic novels and series I thought I’d give it a try. The story lines are similar and still based on how the characters have had to adjust to the zombie apocalypse. They now behave with a different set of moral codes which will at times be in conflict with the group as a whole and how that is dealt with.

What makes the novels so brilliant is the level of detail with the illustrations. You literally see what the characters see, if a scene unfolds without speech or watching a character go through a slew of emotions. Time is taken to painstakingly draw scene after scene to make you explore every detail to understand what is going on. It’s quite cruel really as the speed of the story is fast, making you eager to find out what’s happened but you can’t just skim over the pictures as they convey more of the story than the actual dialogue!

If like me, you’ve finished watching season 2 and only seen the trailer for series 3, you’ll know that a prison seems to be the answer to our survivors’ dreams whilst some of the disbanded survivors find themselves in a maintained community with a governor that would make even the zombies shudder. Well, the conclusion to that particular chapter finishes at the end of compendium 1.
Compendium 2 starts straight away following this dramatic finale. The survivors are all scattered but gradually regroup. They’re all emotionally beaten as they have seriously just taken such a kicking. Rick in particular has to fight his demons and has lost confidence in his ability to lead the group, a thought which is also shared by others in the group. As we follow the survivors try to once again find sanctuary however short-lived, the pace feels a little slower but understandably so. The survivors are licking their wounds after all and there is a fear that being too relentless could lead to predictability which the novel avoids. I also wonder if you, the reader can become desensitised to the zombie attacks, something of which, even the characters acknowledge as zombies and the manner of killing them, once and for all becomes part of daily routine.

Verdict: This compendium ends on not quite such a dramatic cliffhanger as it’s predecessor, but you just know that, ‘a storm’s a coming’. Now I know that I could buy the following novels separately, but that will ruin the harmony of my collection so far, so I will just have to sit on my hands and hope that Compendium 3 doesn’t take too long to come out!

Reviewed by Karen

Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: October 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 1068
Genre: Graphic Novel, Zombie
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Karen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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Undead

Kirsty McKay

Out of sight, out of their minds: It’s a school-trip splatter fest and completely not cool when the other kids in her class go all braindead on new girl Bobby.
The day of the ski trip, when the bus comes to a stop at a roadside restaurant, everyone gets off and heads in for lunch. Everyone, that is, except Bobby, the new girl, who stays behind with rebel-without-a-clue Smitty.
Then hours pass. Snow piles up. Sun goes down. Bobby and Smitty start to flirt. Start to stress. Till finally they see the other kids stumbling back.
But they’ve changed. And not in a good way. Straight up, they’re zombies. So the wheels on the bus better go round and round freakin’ fast, because that’s the only thing keeping Bobby and Smitty from becoming their classmates’ next meal. It’s kill or be killed in these hunger games, heads are gonna roll, and homework is most definitely gonna be late.
Combining the chill of THE SHINING, the thrill ride of SPEED, the humor of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and the angst of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Kirsty McKay’s UNDEAD is a bloody mad mash-up, a school-trip splatter-fest, a funny, gory, frighteningly good debut

Culturally confused Bobby has survived the week from hell; A ski trip to Scotland with her new classmates, amounting to little more than constant ribbing for her transatlantic expressions. All she wants to do now is keep her head down and get home without attracting any further attention from her British tormentors.

Opting to stay out of their way, Bobby remains on the coach while all but one of her cohorts pile, through thick snow, in to the secluded services. Irritated that her quiet solitude, not to mention her plans for a private pee, have been interrupted, Bobby does her best to ignore leather clad “rebel without a pause”, Smitty.

Outside the snow picks up, wrapping the bus in a white coat and cutting the passengers off from the outside world, until a single, hand slaps against the windscreen and swipes at the cold covering…

The new girl, the popular girl who touches up her lip gloss mid apocalypse, the rebel with a not so hidden heart and the nerdy, asthmatic conspiracy theorist- a group of people who would have avoided eating lunch together before the intervention of lumbering, reanimated corpses, but who now depend on each other for their very survival.

I know what you are thinking, a group of mismatched teens, thrown together for survival- been there seen/read that! Mckay embraces this and other familiar elements from horror stories and teen movies, infusing them with an energy and freshness that prevents it from feeling trite or clichéd.

The fantastically snarky banter and surprisingly tender heart-warming moments provide relief to the background of gore and mounting tension. The laugh out loud humor has prompted some comparisons with the fabulously funny “Shaun of the Dead” film. While Undead doesn’t contain the visual comedy and slapstick elements (although what Smitty can’t do with a snowboard isn’t worth knowing), I think that fans of the film will enjoy the black humor both mediums share.

While Undead has all of the necessary carnage, gore and violence you would expect from a story featuring teens battling flesh eating zombies, you can rest assured that you are unlikely to lose your lunch. McKay provides enough description to transport you in to frozen rural Scotland, but avoids the overly graphic details, which make some horror books hard to stomach.

As the tension built I was loathe to put the book down (and not least because I was reluctant to leave my safe warm, zombie free home to take my puppy out in the pitch black for her nightly constitutional), and I had to stay up in to the small hours to see how they would escape one perilous situation after another.

Verdict: Fun and likeable characters populate this eerie and atmospheric page-turner. I will definitely be picking up a copy of the sequel, Unfed when It is released next month.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: September 2011
Format: eARC
Pages: 294
Genre: Horror, Humour
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: None
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Author Interview: Jeyn Roberts


With it’s new, vibrant, red jacket Dark Inside is all dressed up and ready to celebrate it’s UK paperback release!

Moments after several huge earthquakes shake every continent on Earth, something strange starts happening to people. Michael can only watch in horror as an incidence of road rage so extreme it ends in two deaths unfolds before his eyes; Clementine finds herself being hunted through the small town she has lived in all her life, by people she has known since childhood; and Mason is attacked with a baseball bat by a random stranger. An inner rage has been released and some people cannot fight it. For those who can, life becomes an ongoing battle to survive – at any cost

Please give a warm welcome to author Jeyn Roberts who has very kindly taken the time to answer my questions about this chilling apocalyptic series.

Post Apocalypse books are so popular at the moment, but most concentrate on life afterwards. What made you decide to write about an apocalypse actually happening?
I think it goes back to the books I loved as a teenager. I remember reading The Stand and loving the first part a lot more than the second. I never liked books that start in the middle. I’ve always been more interested in how the destruction begins. The nice thing about doing a trilogy is that I get to do the beginning, middle and end.

I found ‘Dark Inside’ really chilling, in fact it’s the only book other than those written by Dean Koontz that has actually scared me. Did you set out to make the book quite so scary?
I love hearing stuff like this. I’m so glad I scared you. Haha I can’t say that I really thought that much about it to be honest. All I can say is that I really enjoy scary. I love horror. So I guess it’s natural that I’d end up writing about it.

I’m not normally a fan of books written from a multiple point of view but I found its use really effective in the book. What made you decide to write ‘Dark Inside’ in this way? 
When I started writing, I realized quickly that there was going to be more than one story. The problem with a single POV is that you only get one side. With Dark Inside, I felt it would be more powerful to see the way different people would react. I can’t imagine that everyone would behave the same way during such a crisis. I’m not even sure how I’d cope.

Dark Inside began to look at how everyone has a dark side, and the darker side of human nature overall. Is this something that will be explored in future books of the series?
Absolutely. There’s a lot more of that in Rage Within. Now that all the characters are together, I’ve been able to get more into character development. I’ve really tried to focus on different types of dark human nature. There’s Mason’s deep fear that he’s dangerous to his friends and then there’s Aries’ discovery that making mistakes can really lead you down a dark path. Personally I think we all have a dark side. Some of us are just better equipped to deal with it than others.

Do you think ‘Dark Inside’ fits with any kind of genre? 
That’s a tough one. I’ve always thought it fits simply into horror. I’ve heard post-apocalyptic horror and that works too. It also does fall under the dystopian category—depending on which definition you use.

What was your inspiration for the book?
Dark Inside came out of a series of dreams I used to have when I was a teenager. I still have them every now and then. I would dream that I was living in this isolated world where there is a great underlying evil. Often I would be trapped in dilapidated buildings with a group of survivors. Some of the scenes in Dark Inside are actual real dreams.

Why did you decide to write books for teens? 
I like writing for teens. I love how passionate they are about the things they love and hate! I find teens way more interesting than most adult characters. Funny enough, I started out writing adult literary but that never kept my attention long enough. With YA, I feel like I have a lot more freedom.

Do you have a favourite character in ‘Dark Inside’? 
I’d say that Mason is my favourite character but he’s also the one that drives me crazy. He’s so emo! But at the same time, he’s always the one character I seem to understand the most. Not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing.

Jeyn Roberts

Dark Inside is available to buy in paperback from today. The second instalment in the Dark Inside Trilogy,Rage Within is due for release at the end of August. Both are published by Macmillan Children’s Books.

Post by Alison

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