1 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
A Town Called Gonefor, by Wesley Cris, is a novel about four friends who accidentally end up in a town called Gonefor and wind up having to deal with a “zombie apocalypse” occurring there. Genre-wise, it has elements of mystery, horror, and thriller, and based on the author’s closing remarks and references to horror movies through the text, he was likely influenced by works such as “The Walking Dead” and “Cabin in the Woods” at least somewhat while writing this story.
The story starts with four friends, Sidney, Ryan, Jen, and Sean (all four of whom are around 18 years of age), who are on their way to a music concert in Philadelphia. While driving, their GPS and car malfunction, and the four must stop and take refuge in a town called Gonefor. The town is eerily abandoned, and shortly after the four arrive, zombies attack their group. The story focuses on the four’s efforts to survive and escape the town, while unraveling the mystery of the zombie crisis occurring there.
The main things I enjoyed in this book were its changing perspective and focus on plot and action over characterization. Each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the four protagonists, and the perspectives change almost every chapter. This lets the author switch the scenes very quickly, and it allows the reader to imagine simultaneous events more easily. In addition, the changing perspectives allowed a more direct glimpse into the mentalities of the protagonists, while showing their thoughts of each other – I quite enjoyed this aspect of the changing narrative.
The next thing I enjoyed was that the story was definitely a plot-driven tale; there is an almost constant stream of action, which made the read go along faster. The story actually is a bit reminiscent of some thriller movies in its narrative structure and focus on fighting off zombies. Though some readers prefer characterization over plot, I have always favored the main story and action, so I liked that this didn't try to characterize the characters too much. Instead, it focused more on action and the crisis occurring around the protagonists.
However, despite my likes, there were many more things I disliked about the book. The book has numerous typos, the characters often acted very questionably (and at times, downright stupidly), the author neglects to show some events, and the writing was overall weak with many holes that were not filled in by the book’s conclusion.
First, the typos: they are plentiful and easily spotted at least once every few pages, if not almost every page. For example, the second sentence of the book is “Seeing some of my favorite Artists perform live: Golden Touch, Deadly Flesh, One Way St, Jimmy Smith, and Janet Baker.”, which is a sentence fragment already. On the second page, a sentence reads, “So the day after graduation the four of us piled in his old Dodge Neon, and were off. Ryan and Jen in the back, and me riding shotgun” – this contains a missing apostrophe (a mistake that is commonly made through the text, along with missing commas where they should be) and also has another sentence fragment. This is soon followed by the third page's sentence, “It shouldn’t take us to long to drive from New York”, which has the incorrect “to” instead of the correct “too” version. There are many other grammatical mistakes in the book too, such as incorrect punctuation and capitalization: “With The woman’s voice from the GPS…” shows incorrect capitalization, and other examples of poor grammar abound throughout the book. This book could ultimately have gained a lot from a professional editor.
The next major annoyance was the characters’ actions at times. Several times, the protagonists choose to move toward the zombies, often without purpose or reason. To avoid major spoilers, at least two characters move out of the safety of their hotel to a parking lot with many zombies just to “understand” them better. This is exacerbated by the fact that the two fought off a horde of zombies the day before and had ample time to study the bodies of the defeated zombies but opted not to. Another protagonist chains up a zombie, reasoning that it is harmless when chained up, yet the zombie is described as viciously biting a squirrel and still has the use of its legs. The author also writes that this chained-up zombie helps ward off other zombies, but he does not elaborate why or how it does so.
The next issue with the text is that while the characters mostly describe what happens, there were some incidents that were not described and very questionable. For example, when the single antagonist captures four humans toward the end of the book, the author simply writes that the perspective-character blacks out and wakes up locked in a basement. When the character asks how the four were captured, they say the antagonist “had friends”, but it raises numerous questions. Where were the “friends” in the previous scene? Couldn’t the three overpower the single antagonist before the “friends” of the enemy showed up? In addition, at the climax of the book, the four protagonists fight off this main antagonist, a horde of zombies, and a secondary antagonist, which calls into more question the previous scene, as it suggests that even having allies may not have been enough for the antagonist to capture the group.
Lastly, the writing of the story was weak and at times difficult to believe. Many characters take an almost nonchalant attitude toward the zombies, the zombies’ full origins and creation are not actually described, and things like abandoned stores being fully stocked were simply too convenient for the protagonists. The dialogue when talking about zombies and the lack of wanting to contact police were baffling, and the lack of police or military presence is striking given how many people in town and even from outside magazines knew about the zombies.
Overall, I rate this book 1 out of 4 stars. The glaring typos, poor writing, and other issues vastly outweigh the scant positive things I enjoyed of the book. If the book’s dialogue and typos were fixed, it likely still wouldn’t get a “2” from me either, as the holes in the story were still so glaring and the issues so egregious. This book would likely appeal most to fans of thrillers and zombie-based horror stories, but even then, there are many, many better zombie-based works to look to first. In conclusion, this book was ultimately very poorly written with many issues, and I would advise everyone to stay away from it.
A Town Called Gonefor
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon | on iTunes | on Smashwords
Like Storygamer88's review? Post a comment saying so!