Friday, 20 May 2016

Book Review: A Living Train in a Dead City by Jeffery P Thomas

Zombies flood the streets of Chicago. There is no help coming and no escape. A group of survivors commandeer a commuter train and try to leave the city. Knowing a cure might be possible, will they do what it takes to survive? A Living Train In A Dead City takes you deep into a modern disaster where the promises made by science, economy, government, and politics break down and each individual is left to choose their own Hell.

My Review:
Mike is heading off to catch a train, taking his girlfriend's bag by mistake and something toxic is leaking from it, which turns him into an angry, disorientated and dangerous infected person. Now the toxin is infecting everyone at the station and the train is going to be a dangerous place to be trapped as the zombie type virus spreads.

I love zombies and virus plots so I was looking forward to reading this but it just fell a bit flat for me. I liked the idea of how the infection began and the train setting sounded quite exciting. Imagine being trapped on a moving train with rampaging killers coming after you. I liked the concept a lot but it was the delivery that I had some issues with.

It felt a bit samey to me. Yeah I know, zombies attacking people is a hard plot to make different but the plot in this book just seemed to keep repeating. A commuter is introduced, then attacked or hides and then the next one is introduced and is attacked or hides and so on. There is no real change in the attacks and each one unfolds the same way. There is a lack of tension in the book as the attacks come one after the other, so I don't get to enjoy that tense element which I love in the genre. There was the potential for tense drama in the train setting but I don't feel that it was actually there.

The characters were also flat and I felt that there were too many of them. We only get told the minimum about them but I never really felt as if I was getting to know any of them enough to care about their fate. They were just a bit one dimensional. Sarah was also very dumb. You are locked inside your car, watching the zombie hordes chase a man to the train platform. Instead of taking the chance to drive away, she decides to sit there for 30 minutes as the zombies who failed to get on the train come back to the car park. She waits until they attack another man then steps in to rescue him before finally escaping. That makes no sense at all.

The other issue for me was that it was unclear what was causing the virus. We are told it was the leaking bag that infected Mike but what exactly is it? How did it infect him-touch, breathed in, what? How do the others get infected? Is it airborne? Is it the blood splatter when Mike is shot? It just isn't greatly clear how this infection is spreading. I find that disappointing.

The book was ok but it just didn't grab or excite me the way that other zombie and virus books do. I don't think that there was anything really bad in the writing or anything, but it just didn't do it for me personally.
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

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