Friday, 2 December 2016

Book Review: Midway by Melanie Karsak (The Harvesting #1.5)

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for the beginning of the end.

Carnie. Ride jockey. Roustabout. White trash. Tilt girl. Gypsy. Cricket has been called a lot of things, but she never thought survivor of the zombie apocalypse would be one of them. One day she’s barking on the midway, and the next day, the world is eating itself alive.

Cricket, along with Vella, a tarot reader, and Puck, Cricket’s mangy mutt, find themselves running for their lives, but where can you hide when mankind has fallen? Cricket will need help if she hopes to survive.

Luckily for her, we were never really alone, and apparently, magical forces want to keep this tilt girl alive.

My Review: (updated)
Cricket earns a living working carnival rides along with her dog Puck and best friend Vella, who reads tarot cards. A terrible flu pandemic hits the US and the carnival workers start getting sick, causing everyone to pack up early. As they are getting ready to leave, the sick workers are now zombies and trying to kill the survivors who have to flee. Cricket and Vella find refuge with a small group of survivors but is it really safe from zombies and humans? Is there a more secure place to go in this world?

Having really enjoyed the first book in the series, I couldn't wait to grab this one. Our two female MCs are good characters that you instantly care about, which is vital for me to enjoy a story. If I don't care about the characters, then I don't fully engage with the book. So it was good to get characters I liked though I worried constantly about the safety of Puck! I always find myself worrying over the safety of the dog during the apocalypse! Cricket is a bright and perky natured carnival girl who also proves herself to be smart and brave when circumstances call for it. Vella is older and level headed with a lot more world experience and she herself is quirky, wise and kind, someone Cricket relies on as they flee the carnage at the carnival. I also liked the way that Vella tried to use her tarot cards to guide their decisions which was a nice addition to add more interest to the story, without dominating it.

The side characters were all good too, especially the couple who opened up their premises to take in strangers in need of sanctuary-Elias, Gemma and granddaughter Katy who lost her parents. Leaving a light on above their sanctuary allows the lost and weary to find refuge and safety. Although it brought Cricket and Vella to safety, Chase has doubts about the wisdom of advertising their position as he has seen the worst of human nature since the outbreak began. He is there with his cousin Darius, both former army, Ariel, John, Jess and Missy. You do get to like this group in a short period of time for the most part so another good job of character development from the author, which I like.

So what is good about the book other than the characters? It is well written with plenty of zombie action along the way, which is important, as well as tension filled moments that help you get to know the characters better. I liked the scenes revolving around the carnival escape, the sanctuary and then the exciting plot when they take refuge in an abandoned carnival where they meet the mysterious Tristan. The story flows nicely and keeps you interested in what is going to happen next. There are no dull bits to slow things down. Carnivals and zombies do make for a nice combination!

Cricket and Chase do engage in some flirting at the sanctuary but there is no actual romance going on and it isn't a big focus in the book. The main focus of the plot is finding somewhere safe to escape from the zombies and stay out of the way of dangerous humans who are going to use the apocalypse to do whatever they want to other survivors. If romance is a deal-breaker for you, take the plunge and try the book as it is focused on the survival of the characters and the zombies roaming around. There may be potential for romance later in the series for those interested in that but if you aren't a romance fan, this is an apocalypse story before anything else.

This is a really good zombie series but anyone who read the first book knows that it is so much more than that and I'm looking forward to the second full book where I hope that both groups join together for the next part of the story. This author knows exactly how to mix action and tension with character development and I find myself pretty excited by this series! 
Read March 2015.
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

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