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3 out of 4 stars
Review by ashley_claire
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The world turned to hell six months ago when a real life zombie outbreak arose. Since then, Amanda Carter has been living in the middle of the California desert with a small group of survivors. Without a proper shelter, they've been camping for the past six months and living based on their day-to-day needs. Amanda is tired of just barely getting by and wants to establish some sort of normalcy amidst their entirely abnormal situation. What does the new normal look like?
Amanda decides to risk a trip into town for the biggest supply run her group has ever done. Her goal is to collect items that will make their group more self-sustaining. The trip is further complicated by the fact that half of her group is injured and her only choice of partner isn't even old enough to drive. Samantha is fifteen and has never done a run into town before. Out in the LAZ, zombies are the least of their worries. Other surviving groups are prepared to do whatever it takes remain alive. Is Sam ready to face whatever they might find waiting for them in town?
Though this is a book based around a zombie apocalypse, zombies are not the focus of the story. It is a slowly paced narrative that relies on a diverse range of characters to describe how they are surviving in this new world. Auburne writes about characters who span a wide age range while making them all feel believable. Sam feels particularly convincing with her headache-inducing teenage attitude.
It is very apparent that the author has previously spent time in the desert. It shows through her description of the landscape and when she details the system that the group develops in order to survive a summer in the desert. While it might be easy to get bogged down in mundane details, I loved reading the exhausting steps the group must go through on a daily basis. I felt like it added to the authenticity of their situation. All of these elements came together to make me feel like I was actually in the desert with them.
While this is definitely more of a character-driven book, it was well worth the wait when the action did pick up. There were a couple of scenes where I couldn't put the book down because I just had to know how the situation was going to pan out. The book does leave off with a pretty open-ended storyline, but that didn't bother me as this is the type of book that is kind of impossible to wrap up with a pretty bow on it.
The only real negative I have about the writing is that it occasionally felt too formal. One of the characters in particular says phrases such as "wait just a minute young lady" and uses the term "missy" several times. It made her seem more like a throwback sitcom character than a modern day mother.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of writing errors scattered throughout the book. Most of it is stuff that could easily be fixed with another round of editing. For instance, "spike in her blood pleasure" was one that really stood out to me. There were also a couple instances of using "lounged" when it should have been lunged. I wish I could have overlooked these, but it happened too many times to count.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The main reason for it losing a star was just a need for some more proofreading. The characters are what makes this book shine and I thoroughly enjoyed going on this journey with them. People who enjoy character-driven books or stories of survival will enjoy this book.
Amanda Carter In The LAZ, Life After Zombies
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― Ernest Hemingway
I know that you said it was clearly a character-driven book, which it totally fine, but do you think the plot suffers for this? Certainly the zombie/post-apocalyptic genre is not one that has a shortage in stories in various media. So, it seems like unless a story is one of the originals of the fad (like Night of the Living Dead), has extremely gripping writing and plot (like The Walking Dead), or is very original (like Warm Bodies) it can be hard to make anything that stands out. It's because the zombie genre is so popular right now, that it's hard to find originality or uniqueness in a story with that genre.
So, do you feel that this book has a solid enough footing among the giants of the zombie genre? Again, I know you said it's character-driven, but even these characters need a firm foundation to lean on.
Thanks and awesome review...
Thanks for the questions!
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