Sunday, January 22, 2012

Book review in progress - The First Days

So the woman at the last locally owned non-big box bookstore handed me this book and told me to read it and let her know how it was. I'll be doing that, but it'll take a while because this book is already pulling me out of the story. So, let's go ahead and start shall we?

The book is called "The First Days" by Rhiannon Frater. Part of the "As the World Dies" series. I'm guessing. It starts out surprisingly strong. The first few pages immediately grab you and it had me excited. And unfortunately she flushes it before the first chapter is out. A hurried slew of images, which works fine in movies is in place here. And to a degree it works, it's only when they start arguing as to whether they're zombies or not does it fall on it's face. The sort of lines offered work in parodies and spoofs. Shaun of the Dead pulled it off well with it's "Zed word" set of lines. It fit there because it was supposed to be funny. Here it bleeds any tension out whatsoever. We do find out our heroines' names. Katie and um.. hold on. And Jenni, with an I because I like spelling it that way. (Stolen from the book, my humor's much more childish thanks).

We're already nearing the end of a post since I'm only 50 pages in, but hey why not. They arrive at a gas station in east bumblefuck to fill up. No zombies, no zeds, no nothing. The boy manning the counter is so one-dimensional you could've replaced him with a cardboard prop and a taped message and been fine. He argues with the two women about zombies and he just so happens to not have a television or radio because his boss is a man of principles. Oh and he thinks he's being robbed because they have a shotgun, but he keeps arguing with them about things, like "You're doing the robbery wrong if you're paying". So of course he's meat. His boss shows up and eats the girl... um, where the hell they came from I'm not sure because it either didn't get explained well or my mind immediately blocked it out. He tries to run and is last seen running behind the building. The women then look at eachother and say, "I warned him" and is replied to with, "You did. Coffee?" before driving off.

This is supposed to be a serious book with strong female characters. So far this is a zomcom with male characters with tits. One of the women is even a lesbian. The cute sort that only exist in entertainment it seems. I won't even make the joke I was originally going to make about the real lesbians I know.

We'll see if the characters develop more as we go. So far though, I'll give this book credit in being stronger than "Feed", but not being as strong as Boneshaker. I had issues with Boneshaker, but it's female lead FELT like a strong female character with an actual personality, not just a guy with boobs. It has nothing to do with their gender either. I'm not saying women can't be callous assholes cracking jokes about dead things nomnoming some idiot kid's face. I'd have a hard time with the protagonists of any book that isn't about the badguys acting like this. In books like Garrett PI, The Black Company and the Dresden Files, the main characters of each have all seen some pretty horrific things. A retired marine turned PI, a company of mercenaries and a PI in Chicago who has burned a house of vampires to the ground all cringe when someone living dies near them or that died in a horrific manner.The guys of the Black Company are pragmatic and know that bad things happen. They still cover up casualties from Killer Shadows and some of the more horrific magic of the series, but they don't joke as it happens. Garrett might joke about something, but his actions hint how upset he might be in some of those situations. The same goes for Dresden who felt sick after torching a house full of Vampires, let alone when he thinks he might've killed a person.

We'll see where it goes from here and hopefully by next week I'll have the next few chapters reviewed.