Monday, March 28, 2016

Waking Up Alive by Emma Shortt

End of Days Love, Book 2

I've always felt a connection to the impending apocalypse. More importantly, the zombie apocalypse. I have plans in place for when it happens, because let's face it ... It'll happen. It may not be zombies ... But the world will shut down. My kid and I discuss tv vs real world zombies ... purely hypothetical, but still ... And we discuss ways to survive and minimize casualties, although my kid is fully prepared to take on the role of Rick (Walking Dead) if need be. I'm rambling ...

It took me quite a long time to get through this one because I was utterly annoyed by one of the main characters.

The zombie apocalypse has begun ... Months ago really ... So this book picks up right in the heart of the matter when the amount of live people are down to handfuls if you're that lucky. Not to mention that zombies are getting smarter ... Smarter! No longer are they just walking around finding people to eat, but they're hunting in packs. We later learn that packs are now turning into hordes. And this isn't like anything we've seen before ... they're not your typical slow walking zombies with limbs falling off, these guys are pack hunting, running, planning and even signaling. So the shit is real. We meet a couple of travelers named Tyrone and Jackson (female). They've been traveling together for a few months but become separated by packs of zombies. This book will follow Tye (Tyrone), who is a former cop, along his journey to find his friend. During the journey, we meet a couple more people, zombies, and even reach two birds at the same stone.

Let's start with what I liked:
     The one thing I love most about a zombie apocalypse world is the actual world and how it has degraded. I appreciate a writer that can really emphasize the ongoing silence, deterioration of buildings, and deterioration of humanity in those that are left living. The author, Emma Shortt, depicted those 3 things beautifully. I enjoyed being reminded of just how loud a car engine can be in a world where even white noise is nonexistent. Because of the incredible hearing zombies (I think they're called Wakers in this book) have, you've gotta be on cat feet and use less that an inside voice (if you HAVE to speak) at all times. I liked that we got a broad picture of the world surrounding us. There was a point where Tye met someone and he bunked in a very tall building that gave an overview of just how bad the city was. Let's talk about humanity. Polly, a scientist, is setting bombs around town for the zombies. As she's setting one, she runs into Tye. Here is a guy that used to be a cop but instead of hardening himself like most people would do in an apocalypse, it seems as though he's grown into more of a man if that were even possible. Continuing to be yourself in the face of all that really is incredible. And on the other side, there is Polly, who seemed like a genuinely good person until she was raped (or nearly raped ... it was only implied) by some guys she tried to help. You can only imagine how warped her mind has become due to that one majorly bad moment. It dictates how she treats people and how she immediately treated Tye. It goes without saying that it took a good while for Polly to relax. Understandable.

On to what I disliked:
     Polly. I hated Polly with a passion. I wanted Polly to die early on. In particular, I wanted her to be eaten. Let me stop. Okay ... I was originally angry about Jackson and Tye splitting up. Although I understood it, I just was not interesting in seeing my badass, Jackson, replaced with a sniveling Polly. I also felt like it was incredibly cliche that the man wouldn't interested in the strong woman ... He'd want the weak one. Let's be clear, Polly is strong in her own way. She has an incredible mind, but math is not going to get you cross country in an apocalypse. Polly was doing really well being hold up in an office building. She was growing food, figured out how to use her urine in other ways, created a make-shift kitchen, and even tapped into an underground internet that only the super smart survivors were privy to. So yes, Polly is useful but how many times does she have to be saved? I'll leave that up to the reader to count because I stopped counting. Polly is the type of girl that does the math, figures out the worst and how to ride through it, but has on room for WHAT IFs. A what if actually happened and she had to get moving, but thankfully, she had Tye with her to put it all in motion. Because without him ... ? The next thing I disliked was the amount of dialogue. I think in some instances, like to tell an old story maybe, a lot of dialogue is required, however ... This book had just so much. At the same time, you basically have to do things this way because it's the end of the world and this is the only live person around for miles. You're going to want to talk ... A lot. This book also featured no plot twists. It was very straight laced, which is good. Sometimes you don't want to think, you just want to get lost in the book, but ... Everything was predictable. Lastly, while i'm singing praises about the world building, the character descriptions could have used a ton of work. There was really good character development being done (even during the time when we were dealing with a certain zombie in Texas ... That part was really good), but I have on idea what anyone looked like. I only knew Tye was black because he's on the cover. Any other point in the book, looks arent mentioned outside of something like Polly having black curly hair and a curvy body because Tye prefers a healthier sized woman. I still don't know what Jackson looks like. I think someone close to the end, she may have been white. I'm still not sure about Polly or really anyone else outside of someone being starving/thin.

Overall ... I thought the book was decent. This is only one in a series but I don't feel the need to go and read the others. Polly was simply insufferable for me. This book has gotten so many great reviews online and I get it ... I'll even recommend it to anyone who asks for something like this, but I just can't deal with the possibility of another character with a personality like hers. She is the sole reason it took me over a month to read this book. So in summary, it's decent. I don't regret reading it but not quite sure I'd read another in the series or by the author unless someone I trust urges me to.

3 Stars
IR: Tye (Black) Polly (White?)

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