Friday, 30 October 2015

Book Review: The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak (The Harvesting #1)

"The world, it seemed, had gone silent. It was something we knew but did not talk about. We were alone."

While Layla Petrovich returns home to rural Hamletville after a desperate call from her psychic grandmother, she never could have anticipated the horror of what Grandma Petrovich has foreseen. The residents of Hamletville will need Layla's cool head, fast blade and itchy trigger finger to survive the undead apocalypse that's upon them. But even that may not be enough. With mankind silenced, it soon becomes apparent that we were never alone. As the beings living on the fringe seek power, Layla must find a way to protect the ones she loves or all humanity may be lost.

It's all fun and games until someone ends up undead!

My Review:
Layla's grandmother calls her back to her hometown, where she has been making preparations for a zombie apocalypse that hasn't happened yet. Layla knows all about ancient weapons and her grandmother's gifts, so agrees to go and help, even if it means having to see Ian, who cheated on her and married his pregnant mistress. Then the zombies come one morning and town is in chaos as everyone tries to survive with Layla leading the fightback. But the zombie outbreak is just the beginning of this town's problems...

I had seen mixed reviews of this online so I wasn't sure what to expect but I was pleased to enjoy it. I liked the zombie parts-there was plenty of action, tension and death to enjoy which kept me quite happy. It was interesting to be in a small town and to watch how they cope with the outbreak and then plan to protect themselves from the outside world. Layla and some of the others living there are pretty capable and you think that the town has a chance of surviving, despite a few setbacks. You always need to have a few disasters or near misses to keep the tension up and have you worrying about the characters you like. I mean, who doesn't love a good old zombie attack!

The book then takes the most unexpected twist when the people make contact with the outside world and the offer of a safe haven on an island appears. Do they trust these strangers and escape the fear of more zombie attacks and the town being overrun or running out of supplies? Or should they stick it out and stay together in their fortified town? The direction that the story takes here is a HUGE plot twist which should never have worked but I loved it! Erk, it's so hard to say anything without giving a spoiler! And I want to talk about it because it is so cool a twist! The action switches to a new challenge for our survivors, which is full of danger, intrigue and trauma. The characters are well developed so that you actually give a damn about them and there are a lot that I liked.

Layla is a good character, trying to deal with the humiliation of seeing Ian every day, while forming a friendship with his brother Jamie. Now I'm the first one to scream about how much I hate love triangles but this is not my pet peeve of every hot guy in the country loves the new girl at school sort of thing. Layla and Jamie already knew each other and had a connection which gets stronger as the outbreak begins, so thankfully they had the basis for a relationship. Layla and Ian have a shared romantic history and differing views on current morality, ie him being a slimeball, but it was logical that she would be a bit conflicted facing him after all these years. It didn't bother me the way that it all unfolded, which makes a change.

I wish I could say more about the second half of the book but I'm determined not to put any major plot spoilers in this review. So if you like the sound of zombies with death, disaster and romance, you'll just need to read it for yourself! 
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

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