Sunday, 3 April 2016

Book Review: White Flag of the Dead by Joseph Talluto (White Flag #1)

White Flag of the Dead: Book 1 Surrender of the Living.

Millions died when the Enillo Virus swept the earth. Millions more were lost when the victims of the plague refused to stay dead, instead rising to slay and feed on those left alive. For survivors like John Talon and his son Jake, they are faced with a choice: Do they submit to the dead, raising the white flag of surrender? Or do they find the will to fight, to try and hang on to the last shreds or humanity?

Surrender of the Living is the first high octane installment in the White Flag of the Dead series.

My Review:
This book got mixed reviews, mainly because of the author's political leanings. The thing is, most characters in these zombies and preppers apocalypse books are likely to be republican, maybe NRA members, prepared to defend themselves and survive. Liberals who are anti-gun are not going to survive long in the books! I expect to have a bit of political bias in most of these books and I just don't get bothered by it mostly, unless it goes too far ie democrat presidents conspiring with terrorists to get guns off normal people. I also expect to see a lot of gun descriptions as this is the way to fight zombies in American set novels.

Anyway, to the book! John Talon has lost his wife to the virus and after a tearful goodbye, he decides to try and take their baby son Jake away from home by bike to seek somewhere safer. His brother Mike is alive but trapped inside his own house and wants to follow John's example and flee if he can. Despite seeing the worst of human behaviour during a supply run, John joins up with two men also trying to escape-Tommy and Duncan-for safety in numbers. A zombie attack leaves them stranded at a gas station and when they escape, civilians from the nearby houses join them in a run for a school and the chance to survive as a community.

There are two things about this book that I love: lots of action and plenty of zombies and evil survivors! There is a tension in the air through most of the book as we move from one action scene to another. The run to the school and the following battle was very exciting and well written, and the community growing introduces us to more characters like Charlie, moaning faced Frank, Nate, Sarah etc. The big scenes like the school and the supply runs bring plenty zombies to the story which keeps me happy but it was also about the humanity of the survivors and how important it is to work together to stay safe. John also has to juggle the leadership and safety of the group with his duties as a single parent, which adds a new dimension to the plot.

The plot is fast moving and ever changing. There are scenes of zombies chasing people, zombie attacks on cars and buildings, evil men holding hostages and demanding safe passage tolls, tense supply runs...all the things you expect from a fast paced zombie book. There is also the plan to set everyone up in guarded apartment blocks to give everyone space and privacy, and to actually have a more normal life despite the chaos. I liked that idea, instead of just living in a solid school building all the time. John and his friends are looking at building a gated community with safe parks and things to allow everyone a better life. It was ambitious but added something new to the story. I also liked the way the zombies were slowing developing and learning to adapt to the hunt. I'm not going to spoil the book but they were interesting changes and I look forward to seeing what they are going to do in later books.

I also liked that the two weak and moaning characters were both men. Frank whines, complains and tries to get out of pulling his weight, wanting others to do the dirty, messy and dangerous jobs. As for Kevin, the man is a piece of scum and I kept hoping that he would get eaten-I hate him! But despite disliking them both, they also add more interest to the story. I don't get the need to add a romance into these apocalypse books. Seriously, John has lost his wife yet it doesn't seem to take him long to get attracted to Sarah. Still, it doesn't dominate the story the way it does in some zombie books so it wasn't really annoying.

Niggles? Do we need to be told of every darn nappy change that Jake has? I get that he needs frequent changes but I don't need to hear about every one or every feeding he gets! Also at times, it seems that John is the only one who can work things out, as if nobody else has the capacity to think of a plan. This is evident in the first half of the book but does improve as the side characters get more page time later. I love Nate, Charlie, Tommy and Duncan so seeing more of them appeals to me. Having John as less perfect and not being the go to man every time would make the book even better but to be fair, these are very small niggles.

This book is loaded with action and emotion, and it doesn't go stale because the author keeps changing the scenes and the form of the action, which was good. Traditional zombie fans should enjoy this and I look forward to the rest of the series.

star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

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