A Review: The Apocalypse (The Undead World Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
Author: Peter Meredith
My Rating: 3 ½ cups of coffee out of 5
This summer I’ve taken advantage of the Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-day free trial (this is not a paid advertisement by the way). I downloaded 10 books, which is the at-a-time maximum allowed for the program, and went to town reading, reading, and yep…reading just a bit more! Currently there’s something like 800,000 books available on Kindle Unlimited (mine being one of them by the way—just sayin’!) and with so many good reads, deep and developed series, and strong indie authors to choose from it was difficult to really know where to begin.
Now just where did I choose to begin my summer read-fest you ask? I chose the end of course.
What I meant by that is I chose a book from one of my favorite genres which is the apocalypse. I know, that sounds a little dark but, as my supervisors have said to me over the years in their most inspiring moving-and-shaking dynamic leadershipping “it is what it is.” How inspiring is that, right!? One day soon I hope to shift from sci-fi to the dystopian apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic genre, or perhaps even combine them, but that is a wind that has not yet carried to me.
A series I started this summer is The Apocalypse (The Undead World Series Book 1). As I noted earlier it is available through Kindle Unlimited but if you want to straight purchase the work feel free to do so. Being an Indie work it is priced accordingly and lacks the publishers bloated price. The Apocalypse (Book 1) is pretty much your standard end of the world by means of an evil zombie virus tale which pulls people from near and far together as they journey to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta (ala The Walking Dead and many, many others of the same genre).
Okay, so I made it through the first book. Good for me, right? Was it the greatest book I’ve ever read? No. Not by a long shot (my favorite books by the way are The Forever War by Joe Haldeman and Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein by the way). But I found it extremely interesting. Was it interesting enough to get me to open up Book 2? Yes. Yes it was.
I feel the author does a pretty good job with his characters and the troubles they find themselves in. The character can be considered lightly clichéd BUT not in a manner that is confounding or make the story boring. There is the strong male that is lost, the strong male that has concerns about his capabilities, the wild child, the depressed young woman, the evil woman…etc. They all have their own idiosyncrasies which the author does well to focus on to keep each character discernible from the rest which is a strong departure from what would probably be reality (but thankfully stories like these are a departure from reality) but this is how all these band-together-in-the-apocalypse survival stories are today.
What I love most about these stories is that I want to yell at the characters and the things they do because I believe I could do better. Could I? Maybe. But it’s fun yelling at the screen in a movie theatre when people are walking down the spooky staircase into the dark basement, right? Well at least in your head it is. If you’re that person yelling at the screen ruining the movie experience for everyone else then you need to know right not that you suck. You suck big time.
So the characters were okay and strong enough to get me investing and continue turning the pages, at least initially, but what about the story itself, is it worthy of your time? Yeah, I believe so especially if you take advantage of it on Kindle Unlimited. There are chases, zombies are killed, people are killed, scavenging (which is what happening after society falls and it is no longer called “looting”), there is discovery, and there is loss. Pretty much what you expect to see. Being an indie work there are also some typos (I’m guilty of this myself) but there is also some pretty sharp story telling. I recommend it at least through the first book and into the first quarter of book 2 which is where I am thus far.
(WHAT FOLLOWS IS NOT EXACTLY A SPOILER BUT…IF YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE GENRE THEN YOU’RE COOL TO READ ON)
Something I’d like to see though is an end of the world zombie scenario that doesn’t rely on the CDC for the cure (which we know they won’t have for bureaucratic or McGuffin-device type reasons) and I would like to see a military that doesn’t turn against its own people as warlords rise. I know those are two staples of the genre but something different would be nice to see in other similar works. I have great hope for this series that as I continue to read it does not take me the standards such as nice settlement found then destroyed, the apocalypse family goes into diaspora, searching for each other, just missing each other, coming together, being harder after some shocking loss, and then moving on to find the cure to save the world all by themselves.
We’ll see where it goes from here. I know I’m gonna read on.
P.S. Sorry for the long time between posts. I, like no one else in the world of course, have been rather busy of late. Much of my time during my two laid-off teacher summer months is spent exploring other projects, taking private contract work, walking the dogs, working out, and…writing. BUT there’s a lot of time for fun to fill the time idled gaps. So, for much of this free time, I find myself catching up on all the games, movies, and books I miss out on while working a 12-hour day as a teacher (for those of you who think teachers have it easy…you have no idea and if I could go back in time…that’s a diatribe for another time!).
Film Review: The Returned
My Rating: 4 ½ craft beers on a 6-pack scale.
Runtime: 98 mins
Directed by: Manuel Carballo
Writers: Hatem Khraiche
Stars: Kris Holden-Reid, Emily Hampshire, Claudia Bassols
Note: English language film, shot in Canada, production company based in Spain. Watched via stream from Netflix.
Want to see a very different take on the zombie apocalypse and the impact it would have on the world? Well, look no further than the excellent indie film The Returned. There are NO spoilers below so don’t be worried.
This is not a movie with buckets of blood (the first 3-minutes of the title segment notwithstanding), deeply flawed and yet lovable survivors, and nor does it feature the lost child looking for someone to protect and adopt them as their own. The Returned is a movie about how the world, which survived an outbreak or two already of the zombie plague, managed to hold society together in the aftermath with fears of a new outbreak looming. Some, but in my opinion, not enough of the flaws of society are exposed here. But there is certainly enough to have a discussion with fellow zombie lovers afterwards over a bottle of wine or some craft beer (I’m on board with the latter).
The IMDB rating for it is surprisingly low. When this was written it had an average 5.9/10 rating by the nearly 4700 raters. The metascore was also lower than I expected. Much, much lower in fact. I wonder if these ratings can be attributed to all The Walking Dead and World War Z lovers out there that felt cheated that it wasn’t 98-minutes of skulls being caved in and intestines pulled out of the guts of unlucky folks like scarves from the shirtsleeve of a magician.
Now don’t get me wrong. This isn’t the end-all be-all greatest zombie movie of all time. It is just a different kind of zombie movie. A movie you can watch while your kids are in the other room and if they happen to walk in there’s a 90% chance they won’t be severely traumatized.
In the end I was greatly entertained and left wanting more. Wanting more not because there was a tremendous lacking in this offering but because this imaginative universe can easily support a sequel and/or a prequel as well. A wonderful piece for those that love the zombie genre but need a bit of a break from the gritty, bloodbath, and ultra-depressing dystopian/apocalyptic world displayed on our entertainment screens day-in and day-out.
Prediction: When will we see the first zombie based “reality” TV series? When creative television is truly dead and the ratings will be off-the-hook no doubt. (You heard it here first).
Oh…and what’s the best thing after a movie? How about a good read!