While the Apocalypse is ravaging the world in the form of a mysterious disease, Kyle and some of the other guards from the Nuclear plant arrived at Fort Macon. The Civil War fort, offering them security from the horrors on their doorstep in the form of walls and a moat, doesn't come fully stocked. Short on food and ammo, Kyle plans to split the survivors in order scavenge.
Kyle has to get creative, using his knowledge of history, to fight the undead. He just needs a few supplies to build them. Two groups leave Fort Macon, one looking for ammo and the other food. Little do they know that they will set up a chain of events that will lead to a confrontation they're ill prepared to meet.
Meanwhile, Kyle's self appointed nemesis and former colleague Neil, has moved to the far side of the island after his failed ambush and is making plans to bring justice to Kyle. Neither war or zombies will keep Neil from punishing Kyle for leaving his post.
In this second book in the series, we follow Kyle's group at the Fort as they rescue more people and go scavenging for vital supplies. There is a supermarket beside the nearby town and Abe is leading a group to it when they come into contact with a biker gang who offer to help them. Kyle wants to check out the coastguard station along the coast for supplies and uses that to draw the zombies away from his brother-right down to where Neil is setting up his people. We also follow Neil who is still obsessed with taking revenge on Kyle, even more so when the zombies are being drawn to his position.
I was a bit disappointed with this book compared to the first one. First of all we hardly see the beagles and I don't even recall us being told their names, which is a bit shameful! Dogs should always star in the books if you mention them as being important to a character!
We focus a lot on Kyle in this book which is fine when he is the leader, but instead of focusing on his leadership in the apocalypse and their survival, we were instead dragged into romance drama as he becomes attracted to Grace who they find at the coastguard station. So the whole 'lets go there for supplies' plot vanishes when the beautiful vision of Grace and her green eyes appears. He sulks when Grace talks to James and gets as jealous as a spoiled child not getting what he wants. For the rest of the book Kyle is mooning after Grace and there is no chemistry at all between them. I found the addition of this story quite annoying as it was shoved in, not developed very well and unnecessary to the plot. The romance was actually bland and uninteresting as nothing happens between them so what was the point of it?
We also see plenty of Neil, delving into several unnecessary flashbacks into his former life. We do find out why he was so angry at Kyle breaking rules and leaving his post but we didn't need pages and pages of Neil arriving in his first army warzone, the guys he met, the camp set up and all that. It was details we didn't need that could've been covered in two paragraphs instead of wasting all the time delving into it. Neil is setting up his camp outside the town at a motel which unluckily for him is where Kyle leads the dead to, in order to clear zombies away from Abe's group.
I find some of the decisions taken by Kyle to be quite staggering. His brother Abe is so scared of zombies that he can't actually function when he sees one and can't remember how to use a weapon of any kind of them. So why in the hell would you have him in the supermarket raiding team? They were likely to find zombies inside and outside the supermarket and everyone there had to be capable of dealing with them. He is a danger to everyone on the raid. We see several occasions where others have to step in to save Abe. He is a liability and should have been left back at the Fort or used only as a lookout from a safe position. Why the others looked to Abe over the question of inviting the bikers to the Fort is beyond me. And for me his actions back at the Fort later were not in character and even dumber.
I just felt that the plot was very confused at times. Early in the book, everyone had to push on the big door to force it shut during a zombie attack yet when Kyle returned from his own raid, he was able to push it open himself enough to squueze through. That doesn't seem consistant and no mention was made about any modifications to the door. The whole point of opening the door was to save civilians...who we barely see in the rest of the book and we aren't told all their names so what was the point? Out of everyone rescued, Grace is the only one who gets any page time. The big ship shooting at the Fort seemed a bit pointless even when the reasons were explained later. I don't feel that it really added anything to the story.
The big attack on the Fort was very confusing. I'm sure the author could see it all unfolding clearly in his head but I found it all too confusing to imagine what was actually going on. It talks in terms of bottlenecks and big mounds of bodies, shooting in certain directions and trying to make bodies fall in particular ways but I just didn't get it. I just don't feel it was described as well as it could be. In the end I gave up trying to imagine the scene and just read on to get it finished.
The one thing that kept the story functioning for me were the characters. Patrick, James, Jasmine, Old Ben, Edmund, Eric...the interactions between them were the best thing about the book. I liked them but just felt the plot had slipped in this book compared to the first one.
Read March 2017.