||[Mar. 21st, 2009|03:04 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
Just finished reading As The World Dies: The First Days by Rhiannon Frater and I really enjoyed it. Got it when the BF brought in the mail (around 7pm-ish) and let it eat my brain (heh) for the rest of the evening. Finished before midnight. VERY addicting.
The characters are clearly defined and interesting. I've noticed with some new-ish authors that sometimes I can't tell the various characters apart, or I get two in particular mixed up. Emphatically didn't happen with this book. Each character is unique and clear in my mind without the author having to do the "stand in front of a full-length mirror and speechify" trick (or any other equivalent short-cut).
In brief, it's set in the present day at the beginning of a zombie outbreak. It follows two young women, a lesbian lawyer and an abused housewife, through their survival of the first few days. They meet people as they escape the city, then take on a rescue mission, and they experience all the usual denial, desperation, good, and bad reactions.
There's a logical progression of the outbreak from local to zombiepocalypse. The human responses run the gamut, but I found their usage of cars/trucks and CB radios to be particularly smart and well-done. Also, the logistics were AWESOME (I fuckin' love me some logistics) without dragging the story down.
If it has any weaknesses, it's the POV hopping from character to character so we can see what they're thinking. Fortunately, she only does this with the main characters (and I think with just three of them, at that) so it's not insane or particularly distracting. It's also reasonably clear who's thinking and the switches are mostly done at section changes (the book has chapters which are broken up into numbered sections).
It does have a bit of that new author feel - sort of the general awkwardness of a really good author getting started and getting better all the time. The end of the book felt to me like it was on much surer footing than the beginning.
Although it's part one of a trilogy, I didn't get that "AAAAAAUUUGGGHHH!!!" feeling at the end, where you want to fling the book across the room because it just STOPS at some important point so you'll go buy the sequel. It's 288 pages long and a complete story, although you do want to know what they're going to do next.
Rhiannon's blog is here: http://rhiannonfrater.blogspot.com/
You can buy the book from Amazon (blech) or directly from CreateSpace, a print-on-demand shop which I think is an arm of Amazon or maybe just an affiliate. Anyway, they have NO search function, but if you go directly to the book, you can buy it from them & Rhiannon gets a little more money than if you buy it from Amazon's regular interface:
I think book two is available, but I can't find it on CreateSpace (only on regular Amazon), so I emailed the author for more details. I'll let ya'll know.