Following the pattern of Alice in Zombieland, book 2 in the series dons a captivating, magical/whimsical cover which would (should) reel in any avid YA fantasy reader.
1. Premise ★★★★★
Ali, our slayers and the Zombies are back. After a zombie attack she is left experiencing strange new things, dark changes are on the horizon and Ali is determined to get through this as a champ. She needs her slayer friends now more than ever to help her get through but Cole suddenly withdraws from not just her, but from everyone.
The Premise! I loved the promise of ‘something wicked this way comes’. When I first read the premise I was hoping for a similarity to what the protagonist in Jordan’s Brains: A Zombie Evolution experienced in the second adventure (note the lack of pronoun use – the book never specified the gender of the main character. How cool is that?!) And that’s what I got. I love reading the POVs from the dark side since heroes can be so dull at times.
I’m not a fan of reading about friendships or romance, but I’d pick reading romance over girl friendships any day of the week. So when I read that Kat would have a pronounced role in this instalment I was already warming up for the countless eye rolls I’d have to perform throughout every scene she popped into. And yes, I did more eye rolls than expected. Something about girl friendships always tend to get on my nerves – they say whatever they want with no regard to each other’s feelings then come crawling back like all is well, very Disney-esque in my opinion, a bit too happy ending-y.
The other major point I noticed in the premise was Cole’s emotional/physical withdrawal from Ali. Again, this is one of the things I don’t like in romance, there’s always the happy, then the withdrawal then the reunion. BUT, it happens in real life and I/we can’t avoid it there so why should books avoid it, right? In my mind I was already thinking up multiple unorthodox paths their relationship would take – the end always being the same where they don’t end up together, I kinda like when stuff like that happens, needless to say, it doesn’t happen often enough in books or movies. However, after a while I had an epiphany. Me hating the “give me space” phase in any romance novel usually only happens when I’m truly invested in a book. Think about it, if a reader isn’t fully interested in the characters then he/she couldn’t care less about the situations the characters are thrown into. As readers, if an author writes in such a gripping and provocative way we tend feel like we are in the pages experiencing what the characters are going through, and thus would hate/dislike whenever the character we most identify with goes through a negative situation. So, there you go, I was invested.
2. Plot ★★★★☆
Holy Hell! I feel like Gena Showalter read the bad reviews from her first book and used that to fuel her imagination and awesome scenes for this instalment. This book was so much better than the first. She definitely spruced this one up, BIG TIME.
This was way more action packed. The horror scenes were improved, the melodrama was at the Days of our Lives level, romance was like softcore porn (Ok, I hardly read romance and therefore hardly read erotic novels so I’m sorry if a little bit of romance seems a lot in my books, especially when teenagers are the characters) and I felt like I was swooped up in whirlwind of scenes. What I mean is that I felt like I sat down and watched a whole season of Through the Zombie Glass in one day. There was a lot happening in this book. A lot. It definitely kept me turning pages because as soon as one issue was resolved, Ali was thrown into another, more dreadful and perilous situation. This reminded me so much of Croak series with all the action scenes and how our protagonist keeps thinking “well it couldn’t get any worse than this” then Bam! It surely gets worse. Ha Ha, I love when that happens, suffer a little before your happy ending comes girly.
There was quite a bit of violence, and when I say quite a bit I do mean A LOT. Not just violence against the Zombies inflicted by the slayers, but slayer against slayer, slayer against civilian etc. Aren’t these teenagers? -17 year olds with the odd occasion of an 18 year old. The way-more-mature-for-their-age personalities, lifestyle and outward appearances made this feel like our characters were actually grown men and women in the mid-20’s or early 30’s. I find this to be highly popular in YA novels where the author tries to whisk us into a world of enticing adult drama except this drama is being experienced by teenagers. Slap a teenage age onto the characters and voila, it’s on the YA shelf.
Cole -the bad boy with the chiselled abs that we all want to lick something off of (Haagen-Dazs please) Hmm Did I say that out loud? Oops. He infuriated me throughout this book. He really did. There was a certain time I just wanted to scream out at him the things Ali didn’t say. Sigh.
This book though. Double sigh.
Even though there were times when I had to question and compare the things book 1 told us about the Z’s por ejemplo – Z’s are only in spirit form – I still enjoyed it and tried not to concern myself too much with plot holes.
One last thing – why are the teenagers the ones making the decisions? Why aren’t the two adults the ones giving orders and formulating attack strategies? Their presence was pretty useless in my opinion, except Dr. Ankh when he replicated the antidote and treated the injured slayers.
I won’t squeal, tell you that I’m such a HUGE fan and to go read this book, I’m not a hyper/overly enthusiastic person, but do check it out.