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27 / 51 states. 53% done!

2022 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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Booklist Queen's 2022 Reading Challenge

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The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

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2022 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Friday, October 26, 2012

I'll Take More Human Drama, Less Zombie Gore, If You Please (With a Giveaway!)

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Shadows, it may inadvertently spoil plot surprises from Ashes, its predecessor.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Although Alex has lived in relative safety for the last few months, she knows she can't stay in Rule.  Sure, it's zombie-free, but there are other predators in the city.  And these animals are still in control of their brains—they know all too well how to manipulate teenage girls, to use them, to break them.  Alex can't let that happen to her.  She's already lost the people she loves most; she can't lose herself as well.  But outside the protected town are horrors she can barely fathom, let alone fight.  Captured by a sinister group of Changed, she waits ... to die.

Unbeknownst to Alex, Tom Eden is alive.  Still recovering from the near death experience that led to his separation from Alex, he's hiding out in Wisconsin.  Although he's being sheltered by good people, he knows he's not completely safe.  The Changed are always out there, as are the bounty hunters who roam the ruined country looking for able-bodied men to kidnap and sell to the highest bidder.  Trekking through the snow to Wisconsin, where Tom believes Alex is still living in Rule, will not be an easy journey.  But it's one he has to take.  He can't live without Alex.

As Tom and Alex fight their individual battles for survival, they inch closer and closer to each other.  But in a world like theirs, where death lurks around every corner, there's little chance the two will ever meet again.  Especially when fighting to stay alive seems to be an exercise in futility.  Still, Tom trudges on.  Still, Alex fights.  Still, they hope—for a better life, for a better world and, however impossible it seems, for each other. 

So, the thing I loved most about Ashes, the first book in Ilsa J. Bick's YA zombie trilogy, is that it wasn't really about the zombies.  They were present, of course, but the blood and guts took a backstage to the human drama.  In Shadows?  Not so much.  This time, it's more about the gore.  Which got old.  And nauseating.  Really nauseating.  The story's exciting— it's an edge-of-your-seat, can't-breathe-'til-you-finish, thrill-a-minute horror extravaganza.  And because Bick wrote it, the book's so compelling that you can't stop yourself from reading it even though it's making you physically ill.  My overall feelings on this one, though?  It kept me totally absorbed, but I was a tad disappointed.  I wanted more humanity, less zombie action.  Still, I enjoy this series and I can't wait to see how it all ends up.  I really can't, because Bick always surprises me.  Even if it's with the kind of gore that makes me throw up in my mouth—and swallow it down because I don't want to waste time throwing up when I need to be turning pages to find out what's going to happen next.  Yeah, it's totally like that.    

(Readalikes:  Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick; also other zombie novels like The Passage by Justin Cronin; The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan; Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry; The Enemy by Charles Higson; etc.)

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R for language (a few F-bombs as well as milder invectives), violence/gore, and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I received two finished copies of Shadows from the generous folks at Egmont USA.  Thank you!


Giveaway time!  The very generous people at Egmont USA have given me an extra copy of Shadows to give away to one of you.  It's a brand new, hardcover zombie book, just in time for Halloween.  What's not to love?  What do you have to do to win it?  How about this:  Leave me a comment telling me about the best Halloween costume you ever wore.  Please be sure to leave an email address along with your answer.  As always, I'll give you extra entries for spreading the word about the giveaway (1 extra entry per method of word-spreading).  I'll choose a winner on October 31st.  Giveaway is open to readers with U.S. and Canadian addresses only.  Good luck!

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