Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book Review: Alice in Zombieland

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

"I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish." 
Quoted from Goodreads


The new teen version of the popular trope to turn traditional classics into horror stories?  No. This is not the next Pride and Prejudice and Zombies book.  In fact, besides a few hidden gems and nods to the original story, it's not really like Alice In Wonderland at all.

Alice never believed in monsters and thought her father was certifiably crazy until the accident, when she watches zombies eat him . . . and we're down the rabbit hole.  I'll be honest, this book has a lot of the standard YA stereotypes: girl moves to a new town, absent parents, super-hot and mysterious guy, special powers and secrets she was previously unaware of, etc.  But despite all this, the story is still fresh and fun.  It doesn't have to reinvent the wheel to be original.

The pacing of this book is perfect.  There is action and mystery, secrets and reveals that keep you up reading way later then you wanted (and yes, I stayed up until 1:00 reading, even though I was trying to be asleep before midnight).  The zombies themselves are rather fascinating.  They aren't your typical rotting corpses. Think Zombie-Ghosts. With teeth.  There are still a few details I'm a bit confused about,  but there are two more books, so I'm sure all my questions will be cleared up.

Plus, zombies aren't the only villains.  I love books with multiple threats, and this one delivers. Yes, you've got the straightforward zombie menace, they want to eat your brains, etc.  Then there is the more sinister, evil disguised as good threat, that adds an amazing dimension to the plot.

Alice herself is inquisitively charming. I liked seeing the contrast between her inner pain and doubt and the tough, somewhat sarcastic face she presented to the world. I adored her best friend, Kat.  I know the name is somewhat overused recently, but she is loyal, funny, and absolutely confident.  Even though she's a secondary character, she could be the main character, as in, she has her own stuff going on.  She isn't the goofy side-kick or the annoying idiot that makes the hero look better in contrast.  She keeps her own secrets, has her own love life, and yet is always there for Alice when she needs her. And Alice's grandparents, they were adorable as they tried to relate to a traumatized teenager by using her "slang." It was too cute.

If you're looking for romance, it's also here. I liked Alice and Cole's chemistry and that she didn't take any of his crap.  She absolutely won't let him, or anyone else, intimidate her, even if they're "doing it for her own good." Yeah, that's a line I get sick of. Still, it's use is minimal in this book, so I'll let it pass.

If you're looking for a book with fun characters, creepy monsters, and a few good fights, this is one to check out.  I was a little leery when I first picked up this book, but it absolutely earns its four stars.  The writing is good (I mean, this is the author's 30th book or something, so it should be), and I found it to be a fun surprise.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds good. I would never have picked this book up if not for this recommendation. I normally stay away from the zombie world, but I think that this time I might just take a gander. Thanks for the recommendation!