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Zombie novels are usually quick to grab my attention, and this one was no different. It had a nice, quirky opening done in a unique formula that was alright in small bursts. Unfortunately, it persisted throughout the entire narrative.
A bunch of friends gear up and set out to the middle of nowhere to celebrate graduation—the classic opening done in every horror film. Then, zombies attack, and they escape to a haunted mansion owned by an old, eccentric, elusive man. Their adventures get weirder as it seems not only are zombies out to get them, but the entire house is too!
The opening was true to classic horror and, to be honest, I was picturing very Camp Crystal Lake-type stuff going on. The friends, all of whom followed classic stereotypes, were engaged in some well-scripted banter. Ninety-nine percent of what transpired was told through dialogue or onomatopoeia, and the rest told by the inner monologuing of the narrator, Jesse. However, Jesse’s monologuing was mostly just commentary on what was happening because there was little to no description that existed beyond Jesse’s observations. At first it was a cute and quirky way of doing things. It didn’t take long to get old, though. I frequently found myself frustrated at being denied any sort of look at the setting or backgrounds. Things popped in and out of scenes by thumps and dialogue. Even with Jesse’s running commentary, no real time was given to the surroundings and the setting. Trying to picture what was going on was very frustrating. It started off face-paced and remained there, with little time for characters to rest between things.
With all my frustrations, I really liked how realistic the dialogue felt. At least if that was what I had to see ninety percent of the time, it was done well and easy to read. Let me also emphasize the realistic part. It brought the characters to life, gave them so much voice and personality. The characters themselves really popped. I’m so sad that nothing else did. The story itself was an entertaining one. It put a neat little spin on zom-comedy.
I get what the author was going for with the blatant sensory deprivation for the reader. It was done in a goofy, humorous way that felt like a Disney carnival ride. It was a unique writing tool that served certain scenes very well. Unfortunately, it was not suited for the entire novel. It was more suited for a graphic novel or a comic.
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