Saturday, 5 November 2016

Book Review: Zombie Wars Online by Marla Braziel

When Matt logged onto Zombie Wars Online, he expected another fun-filled night of zombie killing with his friends. Under the spell of the Felote, a gaming apparatus that forces the player into a controlled REM sleep, reality faded away and a new life began. It was the perfect escape from the harshness of everyday life. But when a malicious hacker takes control of the game, a new nightmare begins, far worse than Matt and his friends could have ever imagined.

Trapped inside of the game, the players are confronted with real life and death situations. If you die in the game, you die in real life.

Content warning: Due to adult language, violent content, and a very vivid sex scene, this book is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18.
My Review:
Matt and his online friends play a Zombie game online which you connect to by a headset that puts you to sleep in the real world and allows you to be more or less alive inside the game. It has zombie missions, safe zones and areas where you can chat with and meet your friends face to face and hang out. But a hacker has now taken control, preventing people from leaving the game. Those pulled out by their worried families die for real. If a safe area has too many players, they are purged out...and die for real. As the hacker starts changing the rules in the game, the death toll rises and those inside have to start hunting down supplies to keep their characters alive while hoping their families look after their sleeping bodies to keep them alive there too...

I liked the concept of this zombie apocalypse as it starts with a game that everyone plays for fun. You can make new friends, go on missions together, hang out and fight zombies but if you die you are taken back to a neutral zone to regroup and try again. Until the hacker changes the rules. It starts with those playing a mission at a particular time becoming stuck in the game while those who have just died in the game at that moment get booted out and die in real life. News of this development panics the trapped players as the game owners try to keep the players safe and alive, but panicking players start flooding certain areas and it becomes overloaded, booting players out...who then die.

The hacker then starts to get past safety features, releasing zombies and other nasties into areas they aren't meant to be in, increasing your danger of dying. Supplies are dwindling so if you lack food, water and medical kits to replenish energy, you die. Soon the zombie missions are opened by the hacker to force survivors to battle through zombies to save themselves...

The characters are a bit mixed. Matt is a complete doormat who lets his friends walk all over him and I got mad at him for letting Hayley hang all over him when he isn't interested in her and he knows it is upsetting potential girlfriend Liv to witness it. Liv is one of the characters I did like because she is a nice genuine girl. Cade is an obnoxious asshat who I never liked. Zac and Brandon are ok. Erin I hated from the first minute I met him and Matt should have known better in letting him hang with the group. I liked snarky Shelby but Ruby was a bit too whiny for me at times.

There is an emphasis on gay and bisexual relationships in this book along with a graphic male gay sex/rape scene so if you are offended by or not interested in any of this, you better give it a miss. Gay sex in books neither bothers or entertains me but I honestly didn't like the way this scene was written in this book and didn't think it fit with the story. I did like what the scene led to though. The emphasis on the relationships within the game were about acting out online personas and flirting for the most part in the first chapters but as the plot progressed, I felt there was too much about their sex lives and not enough about the zombies.

I'd give the first half of the book 3.5 stars and the second half 2/2.5 so overall I'm rating it as a 2.5 up to a 3 in parts.

Read November 2016. 

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