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Just reactions to books I read. I don't really summarize the book's content, because how hard is it to click on the cover and read the description?


So I just write my response.


DNF - Flat writing, flat characters, and the moment that pushed me over.

— feeling bad smell
By Shawn Chesser Trudge: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse (Volume 1) - Shawn Chesser




Right from the first pages I was feeling a little iffy about this one. In the introduction, the narrative suffers from overstuffed descriptions of actions -- the main character barely takes a breath without it being noted. And I understand (I think) what the author was trying to do: all those sentences telling us how he opened his garage and backed into it then hit the garage door switch and the garage door slowly went down answered questions that might have come up later when the zombie attack started. Like, why was the car facing the street from the garage? How long does it take for the garage door to open?


But those are the kind of questions that can easily EASILY be answered during those action scenes. We don't need to be shown how he parked the car when little bits of info like that can just be told. It's like the author took the "show don't tell" advice to heart a little too well (except everywhere AFTER the introduction, that is, when stuff just happens and we're told all of it instead of being given enough to experience it through the characters.)


So the intro was a little bit of a slog, then after that ... it's just flat. Nothing matters. People are introduced and killed and that's just it. We see a boy make the choice to commit suicide and that's a moment that should be heartbreaking, but it's told to us in as flat a manner as possible. Although we're told his brother is torn up we're never really shown that. Everybody who dies, the reaction from the main characters afterward is just basically: Oh well, let's just keep going. 


There's something to be said for pragmatism in a zombie novel, but when NOTHING really matters to the characters, it's just as hard for readers to give a shit. 


And I didn't.


Add to that, the world building is just ... nothing. I felt as if I were reading The Walking Dead fanfic. I read a lot of post-apocalyptic and zombie fiction, and one thing that most good series usually do is put their own stamp on the zombie outbreak. There's something different, some little twist. They also use their own terminology or at least give a nod to other zombie fictions when they lift it. Here, the main character was calling zombies "walkers" within the first chapters. The only apparent attempt at a spin was that the zombie kids are a little faster.


Maybe this world building comes along later and I just didn't get to it, but there just wasn't anything to intrigue me enough that I was thinking, "Wow, I want to keep going to see where this leads." Instead I"d just read it all before (and in books where the writing didn't feel as amateurish.)


So, between the flat world building and bad writing, I was already thinking of just putting it down when we got to the White House.


I'm going to stop a second here and say: I've read criticisms of this author for adding politics to his zombie novel. I don't mind that. Characters aren't very interesting when they don't have any opinions, and so the background of the main character was rounded out, I thought, by the way he perceived the world.


So it's not that the author decided to add a thinly-veiled version of Obama to the book. It's not that the POTUS was turned into a zombie, either. Honestly, that's always fun when things like that happen in books -- like watching the aliens blow up the White House in Independence Day. 


The problem was that this author didn't just show us not!Obama-zombie. Nope. We got to see his two girls (thinly-veiled versions) and not!FLOTUS as zombies and of course they were killed. On the page.


This could have been something that was relayed very easily through many other means. Characters find out the POTUS and his family are dead via a transmission. Or going in and realizing there was no hope for the family or anyone else at the White House. But that wasn't enough here. We had to see the bullets go into their heads. 


So I stopped. It wasn't the politics. It was the fact that the author decided to take thinly-veiled versions of real life girls and a wife and kill them right in front of us. 


That's enough for me.