Official Rating: 0.5/5
“”This is the way the world ends — not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”
Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way – not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies.”
Note: Spoilers throughout review, highlight the text to read them.
A zombie apocalypse isn’t a new idea, but if you can write a book well enough, you can make it feel new to the reader. I feel that Hocking tried to write it well, with a strong heroine with a dangerous mission, driven by the concern for a younger sibling, the only surviving family she has left…but it just didn’t work. Remy King, the heroine, is on the search for her brother, Max, that was shipped off to another quarantine (where they hold the non-infected humans) somewhere maybe in Wyoming. We have no idea where the girls are though, they might be in Texas, which would be a really long trek.Two other girls, Harlow and Sommer, accompany her on the search, that is until Sommer wrestles with a zombie and she’s not allowed to stay with the party.
Remy tells us about “Lyssavirus genotype 8”, the reason why there are zombies, and we get nine sentences as to what “Lyssavirus genotype 8” is and what it does to the zombies. Nine sentences. Then it isn’t mentioned again nor ever explained. What is lyssavirus genotype 8? Why does it have such a long name? Who started it? Are we talking clumsy scientist(s) that wanted to create a better breakfast meal and accidentally messed things up when he added Kraft’s Mac & Cheese’s cheese mix to the solution? Or mad scientist(s) that wanted to create an unstoppable human but tested it out on a monkey and the monkey went a-wall? How did it get to the public? Is anyone looking for a cure? How long has this zombie apocalypse been going on? Are Remy’s parents dead? Are they zombies? I know this is a ploy to make the reader ask questions so that you’ll want to read the next book to find the answers, but this was delivered poorly. And if I have to read “death groan” one more time, I might die and become a zombie. Zombies groan, I get it.
They find Private Beck who was the one that told them that Max is somewhere in Wyoming. Remy asks him to come with them, but he says that he can’t (spoiler) and shows her a zombie bite mark. Suddenly, there’s a tearful goodbye between Remy and Beck. It could’ve been a tear-jerking scene, but unfortunately it wasn’t (spoiler) because I was just told that Beck was bitten by a zombie, so he couldn’t go with Remy and his eyes got moist. My eyes get moist when I yawn, big deal.
Harlow and Remy walk in the desert (so maybe they are in Texas?) and eventually befriend a lioness and the lioness is tame for some reason. (What?) They find an abandoned home stocked with food and clothes and meet a guy named “Blue” and some famous rockstar and immediately trust them. Nineteen and thirteen year old girls shouldn’t just trust older men, rockstar or not, that’s very dangerous. They drive around (they found working cars) and apparently they’re close to Las Vegas. So at least I know where they are on the map.
Out of all the things in the book, the most unacceptable issue was when they stumble upon a cult led by a man named Korech who has two tigers. (The only explanation that readers are given as to why these tigers (and lions and bears oh my!) are so tame is because they were show animals.) The situation gets weirder when Harlow informs Remy (and the reader) that it’s encouraged for all the girls to wear sexy lingerie because their “bodies are beautiful, so under the humble clothing we need to dress it up.” Doesn’t that sound at least a little bit…wrong? Is Harlow really this dense? Who wouldn’t be suspicious when Korech takes one of the girls into his room for “cleansing”? Remy mentioned that there was a Bible in Korech’s home and that he preached about the Messiah’s second coming. So I would assume that Hocking is implying that this is a cult of “Christians”, which is confirmed later on in the book. The things that are implied that Korech and his cult are doing are NOT a part of Christianity (Korech making it seem like he (a human) is Christ, the book saying that Korech is having sex with all of the girls (“He had sex with all of the girls and called it a cleansing ritual. (Vega)”, that Korech can “cleanse” people of their sins, Vega says that she is “the light, the truth, and the way”, etc). This section is rude and disrespectful to the Christian faith and unnecessary. It was only there in a sad attempt to add suspense and make Remy seem like a heroine because she thinks something is off (an understatement) and wants to leave so she can look for her brother. However, for someone who really wants to find her brother, she barely thinks of him until they conveniently need a reason to leave some place.
By the time you reach the end of the book, all you’ve read about is a whiny, immature, temperamental, and confused nineteen-year old “heroine that has (too) many fight scenes where she “single-handedly” fights off a ridiculous amount of zombies by a) shooting them b) hitting them with her gun c) setting them on fire or d) punching them in the face.
(Spoiler) At the end they’ve made it to a compound, where they find Remy’s brother who is being drained of life for his blood (because he’s immune to the virus) and Lazlo and Remy have sex (why was that necessary at all?). Remy, stays behind, (spoiler) because (surprise!) she’s immune too and switches places with her brother which is supposed to be the cliffhanger so that you’ll read the next book. But, and I think this is obvious, I won’t be.
“Most of its hair [a zombie] had fallen out, and it was emaciated and pale. It looked like a reanimated corpse.” Isn’t that what a zombie is? Essentially Hocking just said “The zombie looked like a zombie.” Okay then.
“…I found myself jumping and diving over tables as fast balls of fire tore after me.” What? Are the zombies suddenly Usain Bolt? Are they Johnny Storm and throwing fireballs at her? Are zombies really supposed to be fast?
“Knowing that most of the human race was dead or infected.” How does she know this? Does that mean China and Africa and Australia and all of the world are infected too? Or is this just America going the zombie apocalypse?