Posts Tagged: zombies

The Girl with all the Gifts – Audio Book Review

October 12, 2015 Review 1 ★★★★

The Girl with all the Gifts – Audio Book ReviewRelease Date: January 14, 2014
Title: The Girl with All the Gifts
Author: M. R. Carey
Narrated by: Finty Williams
Length: 13 hours 4 minutes
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Source: Audible
From the Publisher: Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.
4 Stars

This was one of the strangest books I’ve ever read (or “read” since I listened to it).

I had no idea it was a zombie book until a friend recommended it to me and mentioned them. I’d bought it last year, so I figured now was as good a time as any to listen.

It was slow getting started. But eventually, I became interested enough in the characters that I got sucked into this world. It was definitely a new spin on an old topic.

In this world, the zombies are called “hungries”. And the culprit responsible is a mutation of the parasitic fungus cordyceps. This is the one that takes over ants and then sprouts out of their brains. So, not entirely implausible in an alternate universe.

But something strange has happened. There are children popping up who can speak and think but clearly exhibit symptoms of infection: namely, wanting to eat people.

Dr. Caldwell is convinced that these children are the key to a vaccine or cure.

Sergeant Parks is just doing his job, though he struggles with the idea of not killing these “hungries” (because they aren’t children in his eyes). He ensures they don’t get loose in the base.

Miss Justineau is one of the teachers that have been brought to the army base to teach these children and observe their mental capabilities.

Melanie is Test Subject Number 1. Not because she’s the first one they found, but because she’s the brightest of them all.

After a raid on the army base, this cast of characters is thrown together and simply try to survive in the world when the world has ended and is overrun by a predator. Think The Walking Dead meets Mary Poppins – only there’s no singing or dancing.

My favorite thing about this books is that it kept me guessing. As I read I came up with many many theories about how it would end. I kept changing my mind because the book wasn’t predictable to me at all. I didn’t know until the end how it was going to end.

And I’m not sure at all how I feel about the ending. I don’t want to say too much so I don’t spoil anyone who hasn’t read it – but I’m struggling with the idea of a well written ending vs. the ending I’d hoped for. Don’t get me wrong – it was very well written. It really was the ending this story should have had. But it’s not necessarily the ending I would have wanted for Melanie.

Bottom line: if you want to read a new spin on a familiar topic – this is a great book.


Review: Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (Benny Imura #1)

February 8, 2013 Review 4 ★★★★

Review: Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (Benny Imura #1)Release Date: September 14, 2010
Title: Rot and Ruin
Series: Benny Imura #1
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Pages: 458
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.
4 Stars

Thanks to Smash I have a new fondness for zombie books. My favorites will always be the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant – but this one was also surprisingly good. When I think of “zombie” I always think of ick and gore and braiiiiiiiiiiiiins. Because you know – Hollywood. But Jonathan Maberry gives a whole new level to zombie lore.

Plus – it’s not about the zombies. It’s about how society has rebuilt after the zombies rose. It’s about the choices that were made and are still being made.

And I would love to see this book made into a movie. If Hollywood would promise not to screw it up (fat chance, right?).

At first, Benny Imura irritated the snot out of me. He was an entitled little kid (at fifteen) who thought that he didn’t have to work to survive. He hated his brother and thought he knew everything he needed to know about the world.

Kind of reminds me of me at that age.

Finally, he realizes that he has no choice but to join his brother if he’s going to have a job (in this world, you have to have a job at 15 in order to eat). And his world suddenly turns upside down. Tom is one of the most famous zombie hunters in the world, but Benny can’t understand. As far as Benny is concerned, Tom is a coward. But as he goes outside of the fence into the Rot – where the zombies are – and begins to learn how the world really is, Benny begins to understand that things aren’t always as they seem.

And that’s when the real action begins. Kidnapping. Murder. Forced child/zombie fights (for fun).

Benny grows up fast.

If you like zombie books, you’ll like this one. If you don’t – but you like action books – you’ll still like this one. It’s a good one, I promise.

Other Reviews:


Review: The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker (Weepers #1)

April 23, 2012 Challenges, Review 7 ★★★★

Review: The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker (Weepers #1)Release Date: May 15, 2012
Title: The Weepers: The Other Life
Series: The Weepers #1
Author: Susanne Winnacker
Pages: 265
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Source: NetGalley
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: Sherry has lived with her family in a bunker for more than three years. Her grandfather's body has been in the freezer for the last six months, her parents are at each other's throats and two minutes ago, they ran out of food. Sherry and her father must leave the safety of the bunker. What they find is an empty Los Angeles, destroyed by bombs and haunted by Weepers - savage humans infected with a rabies virus. While searching for food, Sherry's father disappears and Sherry is saved by Joshua, a hunter. He takes her to Safe-haven, a vineyard where a handful of survivors are picking up the pieces of their other lives, before the virus changed everything. Sherry must find a way to help her family, stay alive, and decide whether Joshua is their savior or greatest danger as his desire for vengeance threatens them all. This debut novel is a page-turner that is not easy to forget.
4 Stars

Mutant zombie beasts caused by rabies.

After swearing I’d never read a zombie book, I seem to be reading lots of books like this lately. The fun thing is that while the genre is definitely picking up momentum, I don’t feel like each book I read is simply a retelling of the last. They are all fresh and new.

The zombies in this book aren’t true zombies, per se. They are mutated humans (aka Weepers, named for the milky fluid that leaks from their eyes), not the walking dead. But once they have transformed, they start jonesing for meat and blood and will eat you in a flash.

But really, the story is less about the Weepers and more about the survivors. Which is really how any good story should be.

And truth be told, the only thing I didn’t like about this book is that it was so danged short. While the hardcover may be 256 pages, my eGalley was only 180. It ended before the story really had time to get started. It was just long enough to introduce us to all of the characters and throw in a plot twist that won’t be resolved until later in the series.

And I liked it well enough that I’m kind of annoyed it ended so soon. I want more. And I want more now.

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Review: GeNeRATION by William Knight (Blog Tour)

March 30, 2012 Blog Tour, Review 11 ★★★★

Review: GeNeRATION by William Knight (Blog Tour)Release Date: February 21, 2012
Title: Generation
Author: William Knight
Pages: 294
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Novel Publicity Blog Tour
From the Publisher: A crime-thriller with an injection of horror.

The facts behind the fiction.

In 2001 scientists isolated the gene for regenerating damaged organs from the DNA of a South American flatworm. Within five years it had been spliced into the chromosomes of a rhesus monkey, transported through the cell walls by a retro-virus denuded of its own genetic material.

Attempting to regrow impaired or elderly tissues, a scientist will one day modify the DNA of human beings by injecting the gene-carrying virus. It is just a matter of time.

Before consenting to treatment, you may want to ask a simple question: could there be a situation in which you would want to die but were unable to do so?

Journalist Hendrix 'Aitch' Harrison links bodies stolen from a renowned forensic-research lab to an influential drug company.

Aided by Sarah Wallace, a determined and beguiling entomologist, he delves into a grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining.

But Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.
4 Stars

Once again, I’ve managed to read a zombie book. Except this is a zombie book unlike any other.

In 2001 scientists isolated a gene in the South American flatworm that regenerates damaged organs. Within 5 years, it had been spliced into the chromosomes of animals using a live retro-virus. If successful, aging could be stopped – even reversed, diseased or damaged organs could be regrown, and life could be extended indefinitely. Scientists are now working to modify the DNA of humans by injecting the virus.

But there’s just one question left to ask… could there be a situation in which you would want to die but were unable to do so?

After reading this book, the answer is emphatically yes.

Interspersed throughout the story were chapters from the perspective of living corpses – those who had been infected by the virus and could not die, though their bodies were decomposing.

It was quite horrifying.

The book revolves around Aitch – Hendrix Harrison – an off-beat journalist who stumbles onto the story while investigating tales of ghost sightings. He is led to Dr. Sarah Wallace, a forensic entomologist, whose entire life’s research has just been destroyed by the pharmaceutical company developing the virus. Together they work to find out what the company is hiding while dodging murder attempts and accusations.

It really is quite thrilling. Crime dramas aren’t usually my forte, but this one is definitely worth reading. My only negative comment is that there was a very predictable sex scene that added nothing to the story, and actually detracted from it from my perspective.

Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes:

  • Get Generation on Amazon or Barnes & Noble – you know you want to!
  • And please vote for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a $50 Amazon gift card. I want that to be me! You can vote in the poll by visiting the official Generation blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom.
  • Be sure to enter for your chance to win an autographed copy of Generation ENTER HERE.

About William Knight

William Knight

William Knight is a British born journalist and technologist currently living and working in Wellington, New Zealand. He's chased a varying career starting in acting, progressing to music, enjoyed a brief flirtation with handbag manufacturing and was eventually wired into technology where he's been since 1989. In 2003 he published his first feature in Computing magazine and has since written about the many successes and failings of high-tech for the Guardian, Financial Times and the BBC among many others publications. He continues to maintain a lively IT consultancy.


Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

March 22, 2012 Review 1 ★★★

Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney SummersRelease Date: June 19, 2012
Title: This is Not a Test
Author: Courtney Summers
Pages: 326
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: NetGalley
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: It’s the end of the world.

Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.

To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?
3 Stars

First, I want to say that I do understand why so many people have raved about this book. I really do. The writing is superb. It’s got the kind of literary vibe to it that you don’t often see in YA novels. Courtney Summers is very talented as a writer.


I wasn’t blown away by it. I was left with more questions than answers. The whole thing was really depressing. There’s lots of death and zombies and blood. But there’s no redemption. At all.

And quite frankly, I like my stories to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. This story only has a middle.

The characters know more than we do about what’s going on. And that always makes it really hard for me to connect with a character.

When I read, it’s as a form of escapism – true for a lot of people, I’m sure. But what also happens is that for a little while, when I read I become the character(s) I am reading about. That didn’t happen for me in this book because there’s too much the audience doesn’t know about the story. We’re thrown in halfway and ejected again before it’s over.

A lot of people like books like this – I just happen to not be one of them.

Other reviews: