22. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction · Tags:

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor (The Governor Trilogy #1) by Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga, 308 pages, read by Angie, on 01/20/2013

rise of the governorThe Governor, our big bad villain from the Walking Dead series, turns out to have a really interesting backstory. This book explores how a person becomes the sadistic creature we know from the comics. Rise of the Governor follows a band of survivors comprised of Phillip Blake, his daughter Penny, his brother Brian and two buddies from high school. This group is just looking for a way to survive the zombie apocalypse. They move around a lot, making their way to Atlanta and then escaping to the country. Along the way who they are becoming is taking shape. Phillip is the leader of this group and he does whatever needs to be done to survive. Penny is pretty much catatonic throughout the entire book. Brian is whiny and not surviving very well; he has problems killing zombies and relies on his brother for everything. We lose one HS buddy and the other becomes more and more religious. This all comes to a head when the group is attacked by evil humans. Penny is killed and Phillip goes off the deep end. He starts raping and torturing their captives and he keeps Penny alive (or undead) and tied to a tree. Our group makes their way to Woodbury where they live in obscurity until the Governor steps up. I am not going to give away the twist but it was definitely a big one. Holy cow!

After reading the graphic novels I was really interested to know how the Governor became the Governor and this book does that. It explains the crazy journey of the Governor and what led him to become the benevolent leader of Woodbury. It is a fun addition to the series.

22. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Graphic Novel · Tags:

The Walking Dead, Compendium 2 (The Walking Dead #49-96) by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, 1068 pages, read by Angie, on 01/19/2013

walking dead 2Rick and Carl have escaped from the prison massacre and made their way back to the farm with Michonne. There they find Andrea and Dale and Maggie and Glen and the kids. Soon they join another group who are heading to Washington to find the remnants of the government. Along the way the pick up Morgan, who we haven’t seen since the first issue, and Father Gabriel. They also encounter zombies and cannibals. They end up at the Community, a place that is trying to rebuild society; a place a little like Woodbury without the violent dictator. The Rick Grimes gang has to find a way to fit into this new society. Can they leave the violence of the open road behind? Can they become normal again?

This series grabs you and really doesn’t ever let go. I find myself so invested in these characters that I don’t want to stop reading. This series is about more than zombies; it is about what it means to be human and retaining your humanity when you are forced to do terrible things. I especially enjoyed that this edition explored the relationships of our survivors. Carl and Rick are dealing with the death of Lori and how Carl is growing up in this world. Maggie and Glen’s relationship has its ups and downs as the apocalypse and its consequence drags them down. There is a lot of heartbreak in this book but there is also hope. Hope that they can survive and rebuild. I really like that this book ended on an upbeat note, but I am sure our band of survivors will be kicked down again before long.

My one complaint about this series is the drawings. I love the text and think it really conveys the story well. It is sparse and haunting and real. However, I don’t think this is the best drawn book. I found myself confused as to which character was in the frame as several of them look very similar. When Jesus appeared I was thoroughly confused thinking we had already met him, but then I realized he looks a lot like the Governor. I don’t know if it is the lack of color or just a lack of skill, but I wish the illustrations were better. Of course there are panels that will blow you away and suck you into the story; it is really just the characters that I have a problem with.

05. November 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter, 404 pages, read by Angie, on 11/03/2012

A little Alice in Wonderland + a new take on zombies = a great story! Alice in Zombieland is fun, sexy, witty, sarcastic and a tiny bit scary. Showalter has managed to create a new form of zombie, which in an age of zombie stories that is saying something. Sure her zombies eat people and if you are infected you will turn into one, but that is the only similarity to your regular zombie. These are spirit zombies who are not seen by normal people. Only a select few can see them. Doesn’t mean you can’t be eaten, you just can’t see what is eating you.

In this world we find Alice. Alice leads a sheltered life mainly because her dad refuses to let anyone in her family out after dark (the monsters might get you). But one night Alice convinces him to go out and tragedy strikes; her family is killed in a car wreck and then eaten by zombies. Alice goes to live with her grandparents and attends a whole new school. She meets Kat, who becomes her best friend, and Cole, the local bad boy who Ali is insanely attracted to. From Cole she learns more about the zombies and how to fight them. And she learns that they are not the only one interested in zombies. There are other factions out there that aren’t interested in killing the monsters but using them. Ali, Cole and the gang have to figure out what is going on and get out of it alive.

I devoured this book. The entire time I was reading it I was reminded of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A smart, sarcastic, witty girl who is chosen for a special destiny; her gang of friends that helps her fight monsters; a hot guy with a past who may or may not be her soul mate. They even call themselves slayers! I loved Buffy and I love Alice. The comparison did not hurt this book in the least. Alice in Zombieland was just too fun and too new to put down. I can’t wait for the next installment of the White Rabbit Chronicles.

13. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Graphic Novel · Tags:

Zombies Hate Stuff by Greg Stones, 60 pages, read by Angie, on 09/13/2012

Did you know zombies hate sock monkeys? but they like teddy bears. Seriously how can anybody not like sock monkeys???? Zombies also hate rain and nudity and santa. But don’t worry because they like mimes and celery and disco. But don’t even get them started on clowns or unicorns. Most of all zombies love you!

What a fun little book. I really enjoyed the illustrations and the lists. Easy to read this tiny treasure; takes about a minute. So pick it up and enjoy!

14. August 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Graphic Novel · Tags: ,

Zombies Hate Stuff by Greg Stones, 60 pages, read by Brian, on 08/13/2012

Zombies get a bad wrap.   They sort of have feelings and like every other creature, they should be acknowledge for their feelings.  Zombies hate stuff and not just all stuff, particular stuff, such as, mermaids and archery.  Our flesh eating friends also kind of like certain stuff like mimes and outhouses, so they aren’t just negative creatures.  However, zombies really hate penguins, ninja and of course clowns.  The most important thing to remember is….Zombies love YOU!  I found this book amusing and illustrations funny, if yyou can spare a couple of minutes pick this book up and enjoy.

14. August 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Graphic Novel · Tags:

Zombies Hate Stuff by Greg Stones, 60 pages, read by Courtney, on 08/13/2012

Did you know that Zombies hate hippies? And kittens? They do. They don’t seem to mind Canadians or teddy bears. But they really hate trees. And they love you.
This is a hilarious little book that can be read in about 2 minutes.  The illustrations are priceless.  So if you have a couple minutes to spare, find out what else Zombies hate. It could mean the difference between life and death during the Zombie Apocalypse. Or not.

30. July 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Science Fiction · Tags:

My Rotten Life (Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie #1) by David Lubar, 160 pages, read by Angie, on 07/28/2012

Nathan Ambercrombie was having a really bad day. He has been getting picked on constantly by the popular kids at school and by his teachers. The this strange girl Abagail offers him a way to make all the hurt and embarrassment go away. Her uncle has developed Hurt-be-Gone and Nathan signs up to try it. Unfortunately, his friend Mookie spills the entire serum on him and bad things start to happen. Nathan does feel anything but he also doesn’t eat or go to the bathroom anymore and he starts loosing body parts. Nathan is turning into a ZOMBIE! Abagail says she can fix it with rare ingredients but there has to be some part of Nathan that is still alive for the antidote to work. If they don’t get it in time Nathan will be a zombie forever.

This was a fun book that I am sure boys are going to love. There is enough gross humor and adventure to satisfy most young readers. I loved the interactions between Nathan, Mookie and Abagail. They were great characters and really fun to read. I thought their friendship was a nice counterpoint to the mean popular kids. Those kids seemed liked your typical mean kids who get whatever they want and expect everyone else to fall in line. Sure there wasn’t much depth to them but that was to be expected. I have to say that I really enjoyed the ending and Nathan’s journey from nobody to hero.

I received a signed copy of this book from the author at PLA 2012.

25. July 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Courtney, Horror, Teen Books · Tags:

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers, 323 pages, read by Courtney, on 07/13/2012

Yes, a thousand times yes! This might be my new favorite zombie novel. Sloane’s life is miserable. And that’s before the zombies kill nearly everyone. Sloane had been planning on killing herself the day that the undead broke through the door of her house. Yes, she’s depressed. But that’s not even the half of it. Her mother died when Sloane was young. Her father was severely abusive. Her sister, Lily, ran away six months ago, in spite of promising to take Sloane with her. Now, petrified of her father and reeling from her sister’s betrayal, Sloane is faced with the zombie apocalypse. She winds up back at her high school with a handful of others who have managed to survive. There is distrust and in-fighting immediately and personalities continually clash. All Sloane wants to do is die. Nightmares of her father wake her up more at night than the fear of the undead.
What does one do when the world appears to be coming to an end? When you didn’t want to live in the first place? This is such a fascinating twist on the classic zombie novel. Summers, who has already proved herself an exceptional YA writer, once again shows her skills in giving voice to an all-too-common issue (the depression, not the zombies), giving this novel an added emotional charge.

19. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Horror, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense · Tags:

Feed by Mira Grant , 583 pages, read by Angie, on 02/17/2012

Feed doesn’t read like your typical zombie apocalypse book; it is much more like a political thriller that just so happens to have zombies in it. I am not even sure if it should be classified as a teen book even though that is what it is being sold as. In the world Mira Grant has created a virus has been released and everyone is infected with the potential to be a zombie. Once you die you turn into one no questions asked, you can also spontaneously turn but that is rare. The dead have taken over parts of the country but other parts are safe and life goes on. Bloggers have taken over traditionally media and these are our main characters. Georgia, Shaun and Buffy are the bloggers for After the End Times. They are selected to follow the campaign of president hopefully Senator Ryman.

The book is really interesting. There is a great deal of world building, but unfortunately the world-building comes at the expense of info dumping in the plot, which makes for huge sections of dry plot in the book. I had a hard time getting through the first half of the book. There wasn’t a whole lot of action going on and there was a lot of information sharing and politics. It was fairly boring. I wish there was a more interesting way to impart the information, maybe through dialogue instead of text? There was also a lot of repetition of information. We heard about Mason’s law, retinal KA, etc. over and over and over again. I know it is part of the world but it got to be a little much after a while.

The last half of the book when the action picked up was really good. There was less info dumping and more action and dialogue. We really got to see the world move at this point. I love the characters of Georgia and Shaun. They are perfectly drawn and we really know who they are and what they stand for. Their world is fast paced and tragic and you can really see that in the last half of the book. And the end was tragic, but it had to be. You can’t have a zombie book end on a high note. I am interested to see where the rest of this trilogy goes since there were a lot of unanswered questions at the end of this one.

The library does not have this series but I was able to get a copy through Mobius.

23. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Horror, Teen Books · Tags:

Dust & Decay (Benny Imura #2) by Jonathan Maberry, 519 pages, read by Angie, on 01/22/2012

I have to admit that Rot & Ruin was one of my favorite books last year. It tore at my heart. It was a coming of age novel. In it we meet Benny who learns some hard truths about his world. He learns that what he thought he knew was not in fact that truth. His heroes were actually the villains and his brother who he thought was weak was actually the strongest man around. He also learned that zombies are not the evil in this world–man is. Zombies just have a disease and really can’t control what they do. Man chooses to do the evil he does and therefore should be more feared.

Dust & Decay picks up a few months after the events of Rot & Ruin and we find our band of heroes stronger and ready to set out into the Rot & Ruin to find the jet they saw at the end of the first book. All the characters have grown up in this book: Benny is a lot more mature and accepting of who he is in this world although he does still act like a 15 year old boy palling around with his friends Chong and Morgie at times. Lilah is still the mysteries Lost Girl. Tom is strong and silent, but trying to train the kids and get them ready for the journey ahead but he is ready to leave the protection of the town once and for all. And Nix is ready to leave the town that saw her mother murdered and she struggles with her feelings for Benny.

Their journey is nothing if not disaster upon disaster from the beginning. Maberry can write a wonderful action sequence. And we meet some wonderful and creepy characters along the way. Pretty much everyone from the Zombie Cards shows up for the final battle and it is a doozy. Gameland is back as are more of the Matheis family. If there is one thing I have an issue with in this book it is the repeat of the Gameland/Matheis storyline. It does seem like we did that in Rot & Ruin. I know it is a little different in this book, but it kind of seems like a copout to repeat it hear. I get why it was; the law had to come down and there had to be a show of force, but it still seemed like a repeated plot line from a really gifted author who could have been very original.

And Maberry is very original. He takes something like zombies and really makes it a question of good vs evil. Zombies are only a small part of the equation and really they are just a constant on the equation. Men are really the variables of good and evil on that equation. And Maberry skillfully weaves a tale that makes us think about good and evil, heaven and hell, purgatory and limbo, religion and religious zealots, how to learn when to do what is right.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of this series brings. We have two more books to look forward to I figure Rot & Ruin was the freshman sprint out of the box, Dust & Decay was a bit of a sophomore slump but the next two should pick up as they head towards senior graduation.

20. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Horror, Romance, Teen Books · Tags:

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, 240 pages, read by Angie, on 01/20/2012

I have to admit that I almost didn’t finish this book. I was about 50 pages into it and I had an internal debate about whether I wanted to continue reading. The part of me that doesn’t like to leave books unfinished won. Am I glad I finished it…sure. It wasn’t a horrible book; it just wasn’t one of my favorites.

Warm Bodies is basically a zombie love story. It is told from the point of view of R a zombie who eats the brains of a young man named Perry and absorbs his life force (because that is what happens in this zombie world when a zombie eats your brains) and suddenly finds himself in love with Perry’s girlfriend Julie. He saves her and takes her back to his hive. Because of his actions R begins to change, to awake and the world begins to change along with him.

I think I am of the old school zombie world. I like my zombies as mindless beings and the zombies in this book are thinking semihuman creatures who have societies. They form relationships and families and they think even though they don’t talk really. There was a lot of deeper things going on about what it means to be human and such, but I am not sure this book asked those questions as well as other books have. Don’t get me wrong zombie literature is a great way to have that debate, but I am not sure a zombie protagonist works or at least not this one. For some reason this story didn’t resonate with me. I don’t know if it was the romance which I just found strange…would a girl really fall in love with a zombie???? Or the strange zombie awakening and the war between the zombie factions at the end (really what were the boneys??).

There was a good idea in this book and I know there are a lot of people that just love it, but it just wasn’t for me.

The library no longer has a copy of Warm Bodies. I read Mobius copy of this book.

19. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Horror · Tags:

The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman, 1088 pages, read by Angie, on 01/09/2012

I have to admit that I read this because I have been watching the AMC series. I wanted to see how the comic differed from the series. It is basically the same storyline about a ragtag group trying to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, but there are differences that made this book a fascinating read. The story is brutal and honest and definitely not a pretty one. People die horribly and it becomes a part of life. It makes you question how you would act at the end of the world. Would you retain your humanity or become one of the monsters? Because in this world the zombies are not the only monsters…men are just as evil and they don’t have the excuse of being dead. I always like books that explore this aspect of humanity…who we really are and what we would become when societal conventions and laws are taken away.

My complaints about this book are the fact that the book itself is heavy! It is huge and weighs a ton. This is not something to lug around in your bag and in fact you might want to read it at a table. My second complaint is that I didn’t always find the drawings clear. It was sometimes hard to distinguish characters as a few of them looked a lot alike. But the illustrations also were fabulous in the way they carried the story.

I think I am going to have to check out more of the series to find out what happens next since of course this ends on a cliffhanger.