As is often the case, I received this book free for the purpose of review. Despite that kindness I give my absolutely candid thoughts below.
The nutshell summary on this book is that it follows a single zomboid individual as he travels through the remains of a great metropolitan city appeasing his insatiable appetite for human flesh.
To the positive, the book is one of the most profoundly grim pieces of writing I’ve come across in a few years. The author has painted us a desolation that is unforgiving and an antagonist who does anything and everything to slake his thirst for blood. Rose’s descriptions are vivid, evocative and detailed. Also, unusual for a book of this sort the text is fairly clean with only a handful of editing errors.
To the negative, even with all the grim detail, the story fails to create real emotion because it is, often almost cartoonish. No matter how vividly described, a situation that is not sufficiently realistic will tend to sap away the tension needed to build a real crescendo. In this case, so many plot issues such as the “monster’s” perpetually broken ankle that doesn’t really seem to do much to slow him down and the complete ineptness of his adversaries keep breaking up the pace of the story. Add to that the distraction of the author’s odd choice of metaphors at times and what could be ticklishly horrifying turns into something much less.
Further, I’m not entirely sure I found the author’s point in this book beyond merely playing with gratuitous violence. The anti-hero plods through the story devouring the populace but I didn’t really see any overarching point to the thing aside from a very generic good versus evil theme.
In summary, the author’s work has tremendous potential and for a first novel this one is exceptional but still fails to come into full flower as a novel. It has many great elements for those who adore an unabashed blood and guts fest but those with more complex appetites will find themselves still rather hungry.