Where will you be when the world ends?
David Blake's world ends on a average day while sitting in the back room of his bookshop. The life he has built with his fiance Rachel and stepson Eric becomes nothing more than memories in a few hours. It through this tragedy he becomes acquainted with the US Army, and signs on to fight the newest threat to humanity: zombies. Blake is thrust into the world of tactics and weapons, finding that perhaps on the front lines is just where he belongs, not in a small town selling literature.
Kristopher created an interesting universe with his first novel The Dying of the Light: End. Zombies are a real threat, the governments are working together to save man kind using elite fighting platoons and prions (you know, those proteins that are responsible for mad cow disease) are the cause for zombies. Essentially, Kristopher gives zombie literature a new way to categorize zombies: something in the realm of virology, which I can definitely get on board with. The author also includes links to prion research, and various zombie literature for the curious reader (suggested reading!).
Although I was fascinated with the biological basis of zombie-infection, I found that the fresh point of view that Kristopher uses is also very relevant to the rebooting of zombie literature foundations. Blake is a man who is part of a ubber secret group of men and women who covertly attempt to stem off infection. Who are the people who are willing to risk their lives without anyone knowing? How do those on the front lines of the epidemic feel, react and manage such a monumental task? Instead of focusing on the Average Joe, Kristopher blazes ahead where most zombie fiction only treads lightly. Fantastic!
This being said, why not a full 5 stars? Kristopher holds out the proverbial carrot for far too long. The introduction of the villain, the villain's plans and the catalyst to tie Blake to him all revealed far to too late into the story. The emergence of the villain alone took far too long to capture interest. I honestly felt the book started far too slow, and the ending took far too long. This being said, this also contributed to the world building which was important for the story to continue.
The twist also happened fairly late, being almost tacked on mid-climax and was mentioned again only briefly in the end. It would have been a great idea to weave this revelation into the story post climax to keep the reader enticed by what the second book has to offer. Obviously, these are mistakes that Kristopher made while writing his first
book, and cannot be reflected in his later work.
Side note: this book can get cheesy. "Damn you. Damn you straight hell" and "We will not go quietly into the night" do appear and it certainly took away from the believability of the story. Of course, I just hate cheesy lines like that in non-satirical literature!
In the end, if you're into the zombie literature craze, or like a good military-apocalyptic novel, you should check out this book - it takes a new spin and focuses on the lesser known elements in apocalyptic literature and zombie catastrophes.
Ill definitely be reading book two, and cannot stress enough how fantastic it would be if Kristopher wrote a book concerning the rapid fall of civilization once the existence of zombies were made public.