Release Date: August 14th, 2008
Genre: Adult, Horror, Post-Apocalytic
Source: I own a copy of this book.
Thrown together by circumstance, Jenni and Katie become a powerful zombie-killing partnership, mowing down zombies as they rescue Jenni's stepson, Jason, from an infected campground.
They find sanctuary in a tiny, roughly fortified Texas town. There Jenni and Katie find they are both attracted to Travis, leader of the survivors; and the refugees must slaughter people they know, who have returned in zombie form.
Fast-paced and exciting, filled with characters who grab your heart, The First Days: As the World Dies is the beginning of a frightening trilogy.
The First Days started kind of iffy for me. It ended kind of iffy for me too. There were things I liked about this book, but unfortunately there will be a lot more complaining in this review than praising. There were a lot of technical issues, and as I read an older copy of this book, there's a good chance this book may have been further edited, but I have to write my review based on what I read.
I hated the dialogue in this book. Especially at the beginning. Either it got better the more that I read, or I just got used to it. But it was super choppy in the beginning and the dialogue tags were excessively excessive. It was an issue of editing. Too many dialogue tags will jolt a reader out of the story and make the writing seem amateurish. For me, it really interrupted the flow of the narrative and kept me from getting as involved in the story as I could have. So right off the bat, I was annoyed with this book.
Then there were the exorbitant amount of adverbs: Katie said softly, Katie said firmly, Jenny nodded thoughtfully...etc. It was really obvious too. Every page was loaded with adverbs. I have a feeling this was Rhiannon Frater's first book, and to be honest, it was kind of obvious. I am sure she learned how to fix these issues the more that she wrote, but there were a lot of beginner's mistakes made here.
Then there was this (quote taken from the book): I noticed at least five gallons of extra gas loaded up in those red canisters in the back of your pickup." I rolled my eyes after reading that. I might be the only one saying this, but I think it's a bit too convenient to have extra gas just laying around in the back of trucks during a zombie invasion.
The plot was fine. A bit more telling v. showing than I would have preferred, but I enjoyed it. I didn't find it anything special, but it was a solid zombie book with a decent amount of suspense. I was left feeling disappointed because almost everyone I know loved this book and I felt like I was missing something. The plot did not blow me away like it did so many others. And I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I found most of the characters pretty flat. And the one character that wasn't flat was one of the most annoying characters I have ever had the agony of encountering.
Jenni. Oh Jenni. I wish you would take a long walk off a short pier. You seem to be one of those characters that readers either love or hate. But I could not stand you. The things you did and the things you said...made no sense. I understand that your life was difficult. I don't even blame you for being glad you got away from your abuser of a husband. But your kids just got killed and turned into zombies yesterday. They are out somewhere roaming around, eating people. And here you are, worried about Katie flirting with Travis. Worrying about whether or not Travis likes you. Regretting saving the town librarian from zombies just because she is pretty and intelligent. You said some pretty catty things about her, and I don't much care for catty women. You're a lousy mother and a shitty friend. I don't like you. I kind of think some of the things you did were over-the-top and not something a real human would do, and that would be the author's fault. But for the most part, I just wasn't a fan of your personality. I had a hard time getting into any scene you were in. I wanted the zombies to eat you. But somehow, on top of all your annoying characterizations, you were a zombie killing badass. That's the one thing about you that I liked. I really hope in future books you become more likable.
Look, I really like zombie books. So will I read the next one? Yes. Did I have a lot of problems with this book? YES. But do I think the series has the potential to get better? Absolutely. I'm not in a hurry to read the next book, but when I get around to it, I will gladly read it. It was suspenseful, fun, and gory.
To order a copy of The First Days from Amazon.com, click here: The First Days: As the World Dies.