Original publish date: 17 June 2014
Alright. I have to admit that “zombie” WILL catch my attention. Add to that fact the horrifically successful trend to hashtag EVERYTHING and, yeah, I’m going to take a look. Not to mention that the cover for this is pretty sweet in its simplicity.
#zombie by Al K. Line (and if this isn’t an awesome battery-related pen name, I will be slightly disappointed) is an intriguing zombie tale whose outbreak stems from cyber origins, something I’ve not seen done much before. While reading it, I found myself constantly thinking of it as a cautionary tale of our growing dependence on, and in some cases addiction to, social media; yet I’m oddly compelled to check Facebook or Twitter right now anyway…
The story itself was captivating, as evidenced by the fact that I was reading it and barely even noticed that it had gone from a sunny day to darkened dusk around me. Ven.genence, aka Ven aka Sarah, her infant son, her hacker cohort Kyle, and her well-loved dog Boscoe traverse a world infected by the zombiebot she unleashed. It’s a dangerous world, but she manages to think to get to her hippie sister who is a technophobe in Wales in an effort to survive.
As for the characterization and grammatical mechanics of the story, there were some concerns I had and I feel like there are many opportunities for revision. I’m aware that this is in British English and not American English that I’m inundated with every day, but I’m well-versed in both and I found that there were areas that could use a second look from an editor. I also wasn’t too keen on the characters, apart from Bos Bos. For a main character, I should feel some connection to them, but with Ven, I was struggling to stick with her. She was static and dynamic at the same time, if that makes any sense; she would go back and forth on different actions or thoughts, but there wasn’t really any discernable or appreciable growth in her character (apart from shedding her many pairs of shoes for the necessities, such as sustenance and weapons).
The ending of the story was a good surprise that had me uttering, “oh shit.” It leaves it open for the subsequent books in the series, but I’m not sure if I’m personally inclined to continue reading on. Maybe Ven will have character growth with the *spoiler* turning of her son, but, then again, maybe not.
Overall, I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.