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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.


Run-of-the-mill zombie apocalypse with unfortunately banal writing.

Aftermath (Invasion of the Dead) - Book 1 - Owen Baillie

There's nothing really exciting about the book, and nothing truly new, but for the most part, it was a solid read. 


For the most part. A few aspects of the story kind of dragged my rating down, however -- the romantic aspects, the stubborn stupidity of one main character, and the writing. 


I actually love romance in most books, but this never really seemed to rise above the level of a high-school soap opera. It started with several characters angsting over whether they really liked each other or not, and continued at the stupidest moments -- such as a brother asking whether a friend was hooking up with his sister when they are in the middle of a dangerous situation. Then there was the drama with the girlfriend who cheated/was pregnant and never went anywhere at all. A romance can raise the stakes in a zombie novel, making losses more poignant and survival more important ... yet everything felt very puerile and I was too emotionally removed from the characters to really care much. 


Part of that emotional distance was probably the result of the banal, repetitive writing style. I know this is the author's first book, and self-published, so I have to give a lot of credit where it is due: there were few errors and typos that I noticed, and the writing was clean...but he could have benefited from a line editor with a heavier hand. Sentences are written in a rote manner -- subject, verb, description. Subject, verb, description. The monotony might not have been so terrible, but the addition of distancing language (people "feel" emotions or pain, turning show into tell) erased the immediacy of almost every action. 


Finally, one of the main characters was so unbelievably stubborn and stupid that I just wanted to whack my head against the wall. And of course, he was only really stubborn when it added the necessary drama. He HAD to go to his parents house first (until the number of zombies prevented it and he was forced to concede to more rational voices.) He HAD to go back to Dylan's house to save his girlfriend and sister from the bad dudes, but only after he and Dylan had stopped at a few more places for supplies. Of course, he only really dug his feet in when Dylan saw his dad in danger, because it was more dramatic to have him suddenly desperate to return to the girls. 


So I was kind of hoping that he'd die. I don't mind selfish, stupid characters (the Breakers series has one of the best manipulative, narcissistic, shallow, clingy heroes ever, IMO, and although I wished him dead at the beginning of the first book I kind of loved him by the end) but this one just had no real redeeming qualities. None of the characters were very finely or deeply drawn -- which, okay, fine. But whatever. I don't know if I'll pick up the next book ... but if I read reviews that tell me he was killed at some point, it will be more likely.