Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: Rise of the Horde (Zombie Attack! #1) by Devan Sagliani

When 16 year old Xander's older brother Moto left him at Vandenberg Airforce Base he only had one request - don't leave no matter what. But there was no way he could have known that one day zombies would gather into groups big enough to knock down walls and take out entire buildings full of people. That was before the rise of the horde!

Now Xander is on the run, fleeing south to Port Hueneme to locate his brother with nothing but his martial arts training and the katana blade left to him. Along the way he'll have to fight for his life against other survivors, neo-Nazi's, outlaw bikers, gang bangers, cannibals, cult members, and a seemingly endless sea of flesh hungry zombies.

But Xander is far from alone. Traveling with him are Benji, a 12 year old comic book geek, and Felicity Jane, a childhood celebrity with wild mood swings. Will they make it together in one piece to the safe zone or will they become the next meal for a hungry horde of wild zombies?

Zombie Attack! Rise of the Horde is filled with pulse pounding undead action from the very first chapter up until the bitter sweet end. From rock stars and celebrities to false prophets and miracle workers, this book has it all! The story takes off like a bullet and doesn't slow down until the last sentence. You won't be able to put it down!

My Rating


My Review

Rise of the Horde definitely isn't the average zombie novel, and I liked it all the more because of that. Overall, the story is well-described, with enjoyable dialogue and a lot of action. At times, some of the characters decisions or actions seemed a bit odd given their circumstances, and there were slow points in between the highly active scenes, but neither of those stopped the novel from being a thoroughly enjoyable read.
What I really loved the most about Rise of the Horde is what differentiated it from all of the other zombie apocalypse novels that are already in existence. For one thing, the beginning of the story does not occur right on the first day of infection (or, in this case, Z-day). When readers are brought into this new world of the story, the virus has been spreading for a while, and the characters are deeply involved in the zombie problem.  
 In addition, and this was my absolute favorite part, Sagliani shows what is doomed to be true were a zombie onset were to arise in reality: the undead would not be the only problem. The thing is, there are plenty of criminals in the world as it is. That isn't going to change just because some brain-eating monsters are arising. If anything, it will only make the problems worse. So many novels just put everyone in a survivalist mode - yeah, I might push you at a zombie to save myself, but I don't want you dead necessarily. In Rise of the Horde, zombies are only half of the problem. The other half are all of the people who have gone absolutely insane due to the seemingly impending doom for all of the human race: murderous gangs, obsessed religious fanatics, cannibals...the dark side of people really coming out when the world becomes a nightmare? Yeah, that I can see.

As a reader, I also enjoyed Xander's perspective. Yeah, he can be a bit cocky and let his emotions get the best of him - but he is a sixteen year old boy during a period of immense death. For the most part, he sounded authentically teenage and, regardless of whether or not he made good decisions, you want it all to work out for him in the end. It's very admirable how he cares about his brother, and Xander has the makings of a true literary hero. Not to mention, the Katana was a nice touch. Really, all of the characters were so authentic and unique that it really brought life to the story. It's not everyday that celebrities become main characters in an apocalyptic fiction. Even the complete nutcases were fantastic. This is a bit scary to think about, but Bryan was such a believable character that it freaked me out.

Rise of the Horde has a good voice, great action and description, and excellent potential to become a favorite for fans of zombies. Following teenage protagonists who have to deal with an absolute nightmare, their situation is so crazy and awful that, well, it's actually believable. Definitely an enjoyable read.

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