Thursday, 11 September 2014

Book Review: Allison Hewitt is trapped by Madeleine Roux

Allison Hewitt and her five colleagues at the Brooks and Peabody Bookstore are trapped together when the zombie outbreak hits. Allison reaches out for help through her blog, writing on her laptop and utilizing the military's emergency wireless network (SNET). It may also be her only chance to reach her mother. But as the reality of their situation sinks in, Allison’s blog becomes a harrowing account of her edge-of-the-seat adventures (with some witty sarcasm thrown in) as she and her companions fight their way through ravenous zombies and sometimes even more dangerous humans.

My Review:
Allison and her work colleagues are trapped in the staff area of the bookstore that they work in. Supplies are dwindling, the dead are all around them and conditions are unhygenic. Do they stay and hope for help that might never come or do they move to the apartments above the store? Do they try to get to a refuge centre? Every decision could cost lives and Allison finds solace in writing her blog and connecting with other survivors.

I didn't think I was going to like this one but I was pleasantly surprised. I love zombie books but a lot of the ones I have read over the last year have failed to deliver. There was a lot to like about this book. Allison is a good heroine. She is normal and does not have superhuman abilities. Some of her ideas about raiding the shop for supplies and exploring the apartments are good, and she is certainly brave, volunteering to do dangerous things for the good of everyone. She grows as a character through the book and makes mistakes and shows poor judgement, just like any person in extreme circumstances would do. Even when she crosses moral lines, I felt myself rooting for her so I'm not sure what that says about me as a person!

I loved the mixture of side characters who irritate you one minute and make you like them the next. Ted was an interesting character who I wanted to hug or slap at regular intervals. Holly I very much liked. The dog was my favourite though!

I thought the whole story was going to be Allison and her friends being stuck in the store with her blogging about stupid things. It was not like that at all. I actually liked the way the blog posts and contact with other survivors was introduced at the end of each chapter. I thought I was going to hate the blog element but I actually thought it added some realism to the story. The plot itself developed to show the group facing different challenges at several locations, meeting good and bad people and struggling to survive. This kept things interesting as you never quite knew what was coming next.

My big niggle was the inevitable love story leading to the dreaded love triangle. I just never felt any chemistry between Allison and her new love. It never felt real or believable. It was like we were being told that they fell in love but we don't really see it or connect with it so it flopped for me. Bringing in the triangle part just made it worse and it was the low point of the novel. That said, the love story did not dominate the plot or get in the way of the many dangerous action sequences that we got so overall I was pretty happy.

Some of the later messes that Allison got into were a bit unbelievable but to be honest, I didn't care because I did find it entertaining and that is the important thing in a zombie novel. Realism can happily fly out of the window if the zombie action is good. So overall I found this to be an interesting and fun zombie novel where I did want to know what happened next. 
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

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