Thursday, May 16, 2013

Occasional Book Reviews: Zombiepalooza


Right, remember how I used to say that World War Z was the only zombie novel that was not too terrible to read? Well, in the last six months or so, as I've mentioned, I've run into four downright readable zombie novels/series.

First there was D. J. Molles's The Remaining series. Not too shabby for zombie novels, despite the facts that (a) the protagonist is as serious Mary Jane, and (b) the books have a kind of anti-intellectual/anti-academic/anti-UNC sub-theme. Military: good. Academicians: bad. Still, it's set in North Carolina, and that's pretty fun. I read the first two of these and got halfway through the third before I decided to move on.

Then there was Keith C. Blackmore's Mountain Man, which IMHO is a bit better than The Remaining. I got through either one or two of these, though I'm not sure which...  One thing I hate about the Kindle is that books are no longer individuated as clearly as they used to be, and often I don't even know the name of the author or the title of the book I'm reading...  Anyway, we're still not exactly talking The Sound and the Fury here...but readable and zombie-filled. Or perhaps I should say: zombie-infested...

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I read John L. Campbell's Omega Days--which I thought was the best (non-WWZ) one yet. Omega Days is not just readable, it's actually got some characters you care about, and a few surprising plot turns. Not too shabby, according to me.

And I just finished Brian J. Jarrett's Into the Badlands, which is, I'd say, at least the equal of Omega Days. Some pretty good characters, and some good zombie atmospherics. Possibly the best of the bunch.

I've piddled around with a zombie novel for years now, and I really need to finish it or forget it. The zombie craze has come and gone in the time I've spent messing with it, and I'm getting scooped on ideas right and left... And there are only so many zombie-related ideas laying around waiting to be thought of...

But, until I put out what will undoubtedly be the great American zombie novel, I say check out the above. According to me, they're pretty good reads if you're looking for something light and fun.


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