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What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
My first issue with this book was that the author decided to reshape the world we know. By this I mean that he wrote as if he was the first person to use zombies in a book. This lead to me being confused for the first couple of hours as to why no-one was realising they were facing zombies.
I have no idea why the author did this, as zombies have been in comics, books and movies for decades. So I found it confusing in the beginning because it made the characters look like idiots and to my mind is somewhat disrespectful to the people that DID create this sub-genre of horror.
My main issues though were that the characters were all pretty two-dimensional and loathsome. I honestly didn’t care for any of them, and was rooting for the zombies to kill them all. Sadly that didn’t happen and the one I really hated was one of those still standing at the end as well.
The writer doesn’t manage to convey any sense of tension or terror. The people in this book are trapped in an office building surrounded by thousands of zombies and yet they seemed to be as bothered as I would be to be told it was raining outside. When he describes the zombies they don’t sound that frightening at all and he normally resorts to white eyes, pale (or grey) and blotchy skin as his default description. Rarely do any have massive injuries or are half-eaten, as would be the case.
To be honest the zombies are not a major part of the book. It is more about how a group of people that don’t know each other well deal with each other while trapped in a confined space with dwindling resources. And the final part of the book is not bad, though I did find it a little predictable the twist ending and who was responsible for it. Still, I’ve seen far worse endings.
It’s not the worst zombie book I’ve read, but it is far from the best as well. There is some enjoyment to be had, though you will find most of the characters and their conversations irritating, and often bordering on stupid. Based on the end I doubt there will be a sequel – or at least I hope not. Passes the time but not much more.
What will your next listen be?
The King of Clayfield.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
Any where characters got killed. Loved those because I hated them as much as the zombies.
You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?
Yes, the last few chapters were okay, and the writing was passable.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
It is difficult to write a review of this book without revealing the plot, but I'll try. Like the Walking Dead the zombies in this book are reduced to background noise and don't really seem to pose much of a problem except to the terminally stupid - and we have those in plenty. Why would anyone decide to make their last stand a place with big windows on the ground floor. A place that cannot be defended, has no stock of food, water, fuel or weapons. At no point in this book does anyone suggest bugging out for somewhere that has any of the above. They do deserve to die and death does come a calling. However, not from the zombies.
It is this second aspect of the book that I find interesting and give Iain McKinnon some kudos for trying a new twist on a rather hackneyed genre. If only he'd had the courage of his convictions and built on the tensions that he introduced and then abandoned - race, gender - even office politics, but no. Having populated the book with a cast of two dimensional characters - they are disappeared with barely a ripple of concern. It is maddening to listen to. It is also somewhat racist with both black characters having no redeeming qualities and being either in menial roles or cast as psychotic. Personally I have yet to meet any Polish people who have travelled abroad for work who speak no English.
There is a definite rushed feeling to the end of the book. Having listened for over 9 hours the denoument seems to come out of nowhere in the last 30 minutes. It's as if even Mr McKinnon had got bored of his book and decided to wrap it up and go out for lunch. This is a shame as the overall idea could have been played out better.
The narration of the book is strangely lifeless with very little variation in tone even when fairly exciting things are happening.
I wouldn't say don't buy this book, but, don't be surprised if at the end you think you could do better yourself.
Any additional comments?
as the story opens, harrison and liz and their 2 children, grant and melissa, have packed their car to go on vacation. when they come to a stop in the city, a disheveled man shambles toward them and starts banging on harrison's window. as the man smashes through the car window and grabs harrison, the young family's nightmare begins.
john heads to work early b/c sirens woke him up in the middle of the night, and he couldn't get back to sleep. i work in an office and am well aware of the different personality types. john is a frustrated it salesman, who's looking for another job, and takes the elevator to the first floor.
sharon is the boss at the it company. she's uptight to the point where she's still looking at powerpoint presentations when the dead start to crowd around the office building. she's high maintenance, highly strung, and she's a cougar. steve is the new guy sharon has her eye on. she's curt with her underlings, especially the blue collar workers that are trapped with her in the office building.
colin is woken up by early call from his boss, the high school principal. he's dejected b/c the school's week long camping trip is cancelled b/c of the public health scare. colin was looking forward to spending time w/ jenny, another teacher, on the camping trip. his grand plans of slowly seducing jenny have gone up in smoke. his boss asks him to go to school just in case some students can't be reached. on his way to school, he is hit by another car, which quickly becomes the least of his worries.
karen has only gotten a few hours of sleep after a night of partying b/c of all the ambulances going by. she is woken up by a tinking sound. when she investigates the sound, she finds out that it's her friend, shan, who's throwing rocks at her window. shan is the bad apple, and karen is the good girl, who is being corrupted by her high school dropout friend. when karen asks why shan is awake so early, she says that her father came home wasted last night and must've gotten into a fight, and when he woke up, she thought he was still hopped up b/c he tried to grab her so she snuck out her window. bored and on holiday, they decide to head to their friend's house to get high.
demise of the living is a character driven zombie story. most of the story takes place in an office building. the story starts with a few different individual storylines, which quickly merge together. however, i'm not sure if the karen/shan storyline is needed. it eventually merges with the others, but at times, it kind of distracts from what's going on.
most of the action takes place between the characters as they struggle to survive in an office building with dwindling resources. most of the conflict is between the different personality types. this is a disaster survival story with zombies.
i liked the fast start. it quickly engrosses you in the story. the middle of the story is your typical zombie survival story. it's ok. i thought the characters were stereotypical and found their actions predictable. BUT THE ENDING...the ending had a twist i was not expecting!
if you've listened to iain mckinnon's other books and liked those, then you'll probably like this one.
so if you're looking for a character-driven zombie story, you can try this. it's middle of the road. but if you're looking for a zombie battle story, try another story.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
With Iain McKinnon its reassuring to know you can expect a certain quality of work and I liked this simple but well written story.
The story starts off with tales of different people who eventually end up in one office block and the rest is about planning to survive and and social dynamics. Its not boring or anything like that, all interesting.
Also as usual with this author, he can make you scream in your head like, "Com'on you should know by now its a zombie and not just a confused person", or "I cant believe they didn't close the gate after them!".
The narrator is a bit undramatic and, well, slow. It was excruciating at times when during action parts, it seemed like I was watching a slow motion movie. If I sped it up, it was almost better. And I think he mimics the voice of Moe of Homer Simpson for Moe the security guard in this book.
Now one weird thing is that I think a page is missing. Two girls ride off in a motorbike and then it switches to another group, then suddenly the two girls are all bloodied from an accident. I kept scrolling back but couldn't find out what happened except that they were at a farm. Another part was when one guy was stuck outside overnight then suddenly he managed to get in, but I don't know how or he kept the door closed. Wish people could reply so I could find out what happened.
As people have said the end is a big deal, thats the major twist of this story, and also a trademark kind of ending for this author. Readers should kinda know what to expect. Still, its a little different. I kinda liked it. Kinda.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful