Friday, June 10, 2011
Sometimes a poor review is better than a good one!
A little while ago I was reading an e-mail from Severed Press (I get them from time to time), and I noticed an author had started a conversation about a poor review he had received for his book "White Flag of the Dead" (Book 1). I went and read the review, and I decided that since the reviewer disliked it so much that I just couldn't not read it. I like to be in the middle of the fray anytime that zombie literature is concerned, so I replied to the thread and straightaway went to purchase the book from amazon.com. The book arrived quickly, which was good because I was just finishing the last few pages of "Down the Road" by Bowie Ibarra and was ready for another read. (Despite the dozens of zombie books I have laying around already.)
I have not been able to put the book down! Thanks a bunch, Joseph Talluto, I'm now averaging about 3 hours of sleep an evening because I can't stop reading the book. That won't be changing anytime soon, either, because I just picked up the second book. (Yes people - don't flip. I bought the Severed Press edition, which means I need the second book, titled "Taking it Back" - by the same author. If you purchased the original self print, you won't need another book until book 3. Took me forever to figure that out online. People on message boards - post the whole story or nothing at all!)
The story centers around a man named John who happens to have the perfect life: newborn son, loving wife, and a home. All of these things change when the ravenous dead begin to stagger around the world. John is faced with some very tough decisions and soon finds himself at the head of a group of survivors. Since he was a school administrator, he certainly isn't a stranger to responsibility and his comfort with making important decisions quickly saves the group more often than not.
The story is fairly normal in the zombie genre - the zombies walk, the humans run, hide, fight, and try to stay alive. What sets this book aside from the others in the genre is the characterization. There are a myriad of realistic people all throughout the novel. The opportunistic thugs that get between John and a little girl he wants to protect, the malcontent whose selfish ways place people in danger, and the wingmen who help the main character to get the heads rolling (so to speak). The conversations in the book are also very realistic, and it's easy to get lost in the dialogue and the descriptions. In fact, the first night I was reading the book I set out to "test the waters" by reading a chapter or two. 34 pages later it was 2:00 am and I had to get up in three hours to go teach school. I probably didn't get very far because on page 29 I may have burst out crying (though I will neither confirm nor deny this).
I have two complaints about this book, and one is minor. There are many typos in the book. Sometimes they get in the way of the story, but mostly they don't. The typos are either spelling, sometimes a word is missing, or the verb tense is off. Being a teacher, that sort of thing bugs me - but the book was so good that I couldn't hold the typos against it too much. (I wouldn't mind editing for a press house since I spend so much time reading the books anyway...hint, hint...)
The second complaint is that apparently I have to wait for the 3rd book. That's tearing me apart ! True, I ordered the second book (part 2 of the Severed Press edition) and it should be here this week but still...I don't like waiting for book series. It drives me crazy wondering what happened to the characters!
What an amazing book! I just finished "White Flag of the Dead" yesterday, and luckily the second book arrived in the mail! I'm now starting on the (shorter - but not by much) second book. I'm totally in love with the series and will be watching it closely. As the story progresses, the characters become reasonably better at their survival skills, but not to a point where it becomes realistic. Their relationships grow, and the reader meets a host of new and interesting characters. A few are lost along the way, but that's how it goes during the zombie apocalypse, right?
If you are looking for a fun summer reading book this would be it - with the added bonus that when people see you reading zombie literature in public they don't tend to make conversation. "White Flag of the Dead" is perfect beach reading material - or anytime material! Oh, and Joseph Talluto brings another element into zombie stories that I wouldn't wish on even my worst enemy - how do you make it through the zombie apocalypse with an infant child?! Read "White Flag of the Dead" and see how it's done!
P.S. Pit full of zombie heads. No lie. Now go read it!