Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Even Stevens”

Even Stevens’s #CBR4 Review #11: Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Deadlocked is the twelfth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series from Charlaine Harris. These books are basically paranormal crack. And much like crack, you can’t get enough of them the first few times around, then they began to lose their luster, and by the end, it barely brings you any pleasure, but you’re hooked and you keep on reading because it might get better and feel like it used to*.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Sookie Stackhouse is a nice Southern girl, who works in her friend’s bar, lives in her Gran’s old house, oh, and she’s a telepath that can hear that thoughts of others. In her world, vampires have come out and announced to society that they exist, and with this revelation many other supernatural creatures enter the picture as well.

Stupid analogies aside, I’ve been frustrated with the last couple of books; where they used to be frenetically paced and jam-packed with action, Harris seems to have swung the pendulum in the opposite direction… now we get detailed descriptions of Sookie’s breakfast cereal choices. There needs to be a balance, a lull in action sometimes, but that lull should not constitute an entire book (or several). That was my frustration with books ten and eleven; twelve was a 50/50 split. The first half of the book revealed the same glacial pace that has characterized the last few, but blissfully the action started to pick up in the last half. I was almost ready to give up in frustration, but I was recovering from surgery so I didn’t have much else to do other than sit around in a recliner and read.

Frankly, if you’ve made it to book twelve, you’re probably in as deep as I am, so you may as well jump in. There’s not much new to report; Harris follows her story setup from previous books. A mystery or problem is presented (usually involving a dead body, or several), Sookie puzzles over it, Sookie gets put in danger, mystery is resolved, Sookie thinks she should stop hanging around supernatural beings but doesn’t. For me, the draw has always been the characters – Pam and Eric especially. The fae play a large part in this book, and really I think that’s where the series went downhill for me, I really hate all the fae storylines. But I digress. Harris has said that book thirteen will be her last Sookie Stackhouse and I think that’s a wise choice. I think we’ve gone about three books too long as it is. Bottom line: If you’ve made it this far in the series, it’s not a terrible way to spend a day or two; it’s a quick beachy kind of read and it definitely entertains in some parts. If you’ve never read these, the first few are great if you like paranormal with a side of quirk.

*This is totally true and accurate. Maybe. I don’t know, I’ve never actually done crack.

Even Stevens’s #CBR4 Review #10: The Cove by Ron Rash


This book is a bit outside my wheelhouse (I admit it – I’m a shameless fan of all things dystopian and supernatural), but I read quite a few rave reviews and the plot did pique my interest. The premise is fairly simple: Laurel Shelton is a young woman who lives in the Cove, a place the townsfolk regard as bad luck and there are endless whispers that only bad things happen there. Laurel herself is rumored to be a witch, and as she is regularly shunned in town, she stays mostly to herself in the Cove. Laurel leads a quiet life, but things begin to change as Laurel’s brother, Hank, returns from serving in World War I and a mute stranger stumbles upon the Cove.

The reason I mention that this is out of my wheelhouse is that I did enjoy the book, but I feel like I’m not the best equipped person to discuss the various aspects of this book, but I’ll give it a shot. The plot is pretty much as described above, and although there are a few minor happenings here and there, not much happens during the bulk of the book. Not to say that it was boring, but it’s mostly a set up for the climax of the book, while simultaneously exploring the characters and their lives. Rash does a really good job of capturing life in a small town, and exploring the roles people play and prejudices that are formed and held, despite rationality or logic. Laurel is a very sympathetic character and I found myself rooting for her, despite the fact that a tragic event was practically guaranteed from the get-go. In no way is that a spoiler either; there’s a grim discovery in the first chapter that foreshadows future events and sets an ominous tone for the book. Rash also drops many references to the fact that the Cove is a place of gloom, that it’s cursed, only bad things happen there, etc. So, the question of whether or not something bad is going to happen, but to whom and to what extent.

Rash writes in a simple but evocative language, and captured the tension of certain pivotal moments really well. This is my first experience with his books, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. There were several times during my read that I felt like I was reading a John Steinbeck novel (it’s been a long time since I read one, but they had the same sort of feel to me). There’s a lot going on under the surface and the characterization is key to the story. Laurel is a great character, but my favorite depiction was the cowardly and arrogant Chauncey, who looked down on everyone else while doing nothing worthwhile himself. He’s a classic example of a character you love to hate and Rash does a beautiful job in writing him. I would recommend this to anyone who’s a fan of a more classic style of literature and anyone that likes a good dose of character study.

Even Stevens’s #CBR4 review #9: Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I feel like I might be the last person on Earth to read these books. I hadn’t even heard of the series prior to the television series being developed (I know, bad nerd!). After that, I resisted getting into it because it didn’t seem like my cup of tea and I didn’t want to be the one person who did not get the appeal of the hugely popular book and TV trend (::cough:: Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ::cough::). Thankfully, I found this book very satisfying and am excited to get into the rest of the books.

Now, I’ll admit that I cheated a bit here and watched the TV show first. Normally I don’t do that, but I was aware that that were approximately 800 characters in play and I do a lot better remembering names when I can put a face to them. So I read this book after watching the first season of the show, and I was impressed at how faithful the show was to the source material. In fact, that might be my only complaint here – the show was so detailed, it made it hard to get through the book because not much was left out. That’s my own fault, of course, and a very small complaint.

For those who are not familiar with this series, it is set in the fictional land of Westeros. Several years prior to the first book, there had been an uprising againt the “Mad King” and Robert Baratheon, with the aid of Ned Stark and many others, took over as King. There is much discontent throughout the land and many individuals and families conspire to further their own agendas, some even plotting to take the crown. I know that’s a very general description, but this book is dense and packed with characters and plots that would take pages just to describe.

What I love most about this book is the characterization. Fantasy is not always my genre, but this is a very grounded fantasy story and the characters shine more than anything. Martin develops clear and distinct voices for each of his characters, alternating voices each chapter, and really when you think about how many characters there are, that is quite a remarkable thing. He’s also good at getting to the core of human behavior – greed, lust, ambition, honor, naivete, innocence, it’s all there. He’s very deft at weaving these things naturally into the story, and it only strengthens a very interesting and compelling narrative.

Martin wraps up a few storylines while setting up several more for future books. This was a lengthy book (clocking in at 675 pages), but totally engrossing and one of the best stories with the strongest characters I’ve read in quite a long time. I will be diving into the next volumes very soon.

Even Stevens’s #CBR4 review #8: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

This feels like the hardest review I’ve ever had to write, and not because I loved or hated the book. Much the opposite, actually – I felt indifferent to it most of the time. There’s a line in 10 Things I Hate About You (shut up) where Bianca’s friend Chastity asks “I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?” That’s this book; it was whelming (incidentally, spell check doesn’t take issue with ‘whelming’ so I guess you can just be whelmed. NOT THE POINT. Can you tell I’m procrastinating this review?).

Anyways, this book picks up right after the events of the first book. I’ll stop here to say SPOILERS ahead. Lena (you guys, I actually had to look up the character’s name. I could not for the life of me remember it) has made it into the Wilds, but Alex is presumably dead and Lena’s life is essentially upside down. She is also in bad shape physically from the dangerous cross into the Wilds, but luckily (or conveniently) for her, a group/commune of people take her in and nurse her back to health. We flash back between present day, which is six months after Lena’s crossing into the Wilds, and to the time when she was taken in by Raven and the rest of the group.

I have a lot of thoughts, but I’m having trouble putting them into a coherent structure, so screw it, I’m just throwing them out there as they come. One, some of them have really stupid names. Apparently in the Wilds everyone picks their own name and leaves their old name behind with their old lives. Fine, but Raven, Tack, Blue? Blech. Also, speaking of Raven, she’s kind of a bitch. Not in the fun way where she’s delightful to read and you know she’s a bitch and you just want more. She’s the kind that makes you think “alright we GET IT you have opinions, now STFU. Why do people listen to you again??” Or maybe that was just what I thought.

I was pretty distracted by the flashback format, too. I think this was mainly so because the present was so much more interesting than the past. In the present, Lena gets tangled up in a kidnapping scheme and becomes one of the victims herself. She is trapped with Julian, the very nice and attractive young man, who also is the son of the biggest public supporter of the Deliria treatment and is supposed to be her sworn enemy. Gee, I wonder where this will go! Ahem, sarcasm aside, Oliver does manage to turn in some pretty good action scenes and Lena herself is not a bad character, if not a bit of a blank canvas. Still, the kidnapping plot at least held my attention where the flashbacks to the homestead which mainly involved, cooking, cleaning, walking, and Raven being a bitch, were alternately annoying and boring.

This all sounds pretty negative, and yet I tore through this book. I don’t know what it is, I truly cannot come up with a reason, but I had this book done in about a day. There’s some good action to be had, and there’s a pretty good setup for the last book (which, let’s be honest, I’m totally going to read), although anyone’s who has read any literature pretty much ever can see the ending/set up coming about a mile away. Probably more like ten miles. And yet.

I know Oliver can deliver a good story; her first novel Before I Fall remains one of my favorite books, ever. Perhaps that’s where my ambivalence comes from – if I had not read Before I Fall, I might have dismissed Delirium (and subsequently Pandemonium) as mediocre and not continued, but I desperately want this trilogy to be good because I know what she can do. But again, I digress. Bottom line is, this is better than much of the dystopian fiction out there right now (I’m looking at you, Ally Condie), but it isn’t the best. It’s a time filler, something that passes the time without challenging your brain, and sometimes that’s ok. But if you want to go read some great YA fiction, I’ll steer you toward her first book, Before I Fall.

Even Stevens’s #CBR4 review #7: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I re-read The Hunger Games in anticipation of the movie coming out this weekend. This is actually my fourth time reading the book, I believe, and I’m pretty sure at this point everyone and their mother has been bombarded by The Hunger Games or knows someone who loves it, so this is going to be more of an informal review and my general musings on why I love this book so very, very much. As a bonus, I also followed Mark Reads through each chapter as he experienced The Hunger Games for the first time. That added an extra, very fun layer to re-reading the book.

Please note: Spoilers lie ahead

First and foremost, I think that every single time I read the book, as soon as I put it down I forget just how brutal some of this stuff is. The basic story is that what was formerly known as North America suffered a crippling civil war, in which the common people tried to rise up against the government and lost, and now the government keeps each of the districts (the areas that emerged after the war) in check by keeping them hungry and forcing 24 teenagers (2 from each of the 12 districts) to fight to the death. The added insulting and dehumanizing aspect is that these games are treated much like the Olympics and people are expected to revel in the games and the death of these children. Seriously, I don’t know how I forget how brutal this is, but I seem to manage it every time.

What struck me last time I read the series, and was even more apparent this time, was that Katniss, while pretty bad ass, can be a hard character to connect with. I completely understand why she is how she is, she’s a survivor and has to act as such, but man can she be frustrating! It’s most definitely Peeta that humanizes her here (and even more so later in the series). Katniss and Peeta’s relationship is also one of my favorite literary relationships. There’s so much there: respect, admiration, love, a shared horror in the Games. Their relationship ties in seamlessly with the story and while it has some bumps, it’s well earned. Also? My favorite part of reading along with Mark Reads was his dubbing Katniss and Peeta “Katpee” or “Peenis.” I could not stop giggling (yes I have the humor of a 12-year-old boy on occasion).

Many have accused Collins of having a choppy, too-direct style of writing, but I think it serves the Games perfectly and I think those descriptors sell her short; there is so much to consider in her story: brutality and oppression, class differences, the war-like mentality that can develop from the games (it gets downright Lord of the Flies-ish in some parts), power and who wields it… there’s just so much. And if Collins does one thing exceeding well, it’s write action and suspense. There are some parts that still give me tingles and having seen some of the movie promos, I’ve gotten actual chills; I choose to think it looks so good because of the strength of the source material.

I also noticed some foreshadowing for the future books a little more prominently, aside from the obvious rebellion plot points. For instance, we get a couple of examples of how Katniss handles trauma and extreme stress: she tends to shut down and shut it out. That most certainly plays into the story later, and I liked seeing the setup here.

And oh man, Rue. Rue still gets me, even on the fourth read. I lied, Peeta isn’t the only thing that humanizes Katniss. In fact, I think Rue might even edge Peeta out in that area. Katniss is her strongest and most relatable when she’s acting in defense of those she loves and the development of her relationship with Rue, and her handling of Rue’s eventual death is both sweet and heartbreaking.

This remains one of my favorite books of all time, and most certainly hold up on a re-read (or several). Also, if you have the time, do yourself a favor and check out Mark Reads.

Even Stevens’s #CBR4 review #6 – Fire by Kristin Cashore

Ugh, this book. Truthfully, I’ve been finished with it for a couple of weeks and have been procrastinating the heck out of the review (a rarity for me) because I just don’t want to revisit it. Fire is the companion to Cashore’s first (very excellent) book, Graceling. Now look, I know that books should stand on their own and not be compared against others, but I tore through Graceling, with its compelling story, great characters, and lively action. I expected a lot from this book based on the strength of the one that preceded it, and that made this book all the more disappointing to me, because good it was not. It should also be noted for anyone that enjoyed Graceling and is looking forward to more Katsa and Po (like me) that this is a prequel not a sequel… hence the word “companion” and not “sequel.” Yeah, I’m slow sometimes.

This book is odd from the start. It begins by introducing the early years of King Leck (a very interesting character from Graceling that I would love more information on) and how he controls the people around him, and then after the opening chapters, switches to the point of view of Fire, a human monster living east of the mountains. There are monsters in every species (cat, lion, dragon, mouse, etc), but Fire is the only remaining human monster. She possess fiery red hair that attract both humans and other monsters alike (the other monsters try to kill her, as monsters feed on the blood of other monsters). She can also enter and control minds, but refuses to do so because of the greedy, sometimes evil way in which her father before her used it. Her old friend Archer loves her but is unable to remain faithful to her, and as she travels the kingdom, she begins to forge another relationship with Prince Brigan, while also trying to stop a war by drawing out traitors and spies.

So let’s review: Protagonist with irresistible beauty? Check. Has two love interests? Check. Has a great power she refuses to use, instead spending much of her time in angst over pressure to use her power and leaning on the men around her? Check, check, and check. Yep, Fire is a Mary Sue. All. Day. Long. This is where the book really frustrated the heck out of me, because in the beginning Fire seems to be independent and assertive. She shows bravery and does what is best for herself, while trying to distinguish herself from her father (who was hated by many). Somewhere along the way, though, she becomes whiny, self-absorbed, and often plays the martyr, even when no one is casting judgment on her. It’s maddening to read.

Cashore also spends a large portion of the book discussing Fire’s monthly bleeding and how it holds everything up because it attracts more monsters. I appreciate that she took the time to address the issue (I think… I don’t know if I would have even thought about it if she didn’t bring it up), but really once is enough. In a story that already meanders like crazy, there’s no need to make the biggest consistency your protagonist’s period. (At this point I’m reminded of the line from Buffy the Vampire Slayer [movie version] “Great. My secret weapon is PMS. That’s just terrific. Thanks for telling me.” I’m sorry you have to see what goes through my head sometimes).

I think my biggest issue with this book is its missed potential. First of all, there are some very telegraphed “surprises” that belong in a telenovela, but do nothing for this story. Many of the plotlines feel stale and overplayed. King Leck’s mind control has the potential to be a riveting story, and yet we only get a glimpse of him here and there. Second, there is supposed to be a war brewing, and indeed many smaller battles break out, but rather than allowing the reader to get a glimpse into any battles, or strategy, or plotting or ANYTHING, we’re stuck with Fire moping about. Thirdly, there are some secondary characters that are probably very interesting. But again, how would we know? Fire gets all the page time, and somehow seems to regress rather than progress throughout the novel. It’s literally like she is spinning her wheels. Move on, already! Also, I can handle a good love story, but the dynamic between Fire, Archer and Brigan feels tacked on and forced; it is nowhere near the relationship developed between Katsa and Po (there I go comparing again, but they’re just better).

I’m not calling this a total wash and will add a star for the sometimes enjoyable side characters, but if you want to read a great novel, go pick up Graceling and do yourself a favor and stop there.

Even Stevens’s #CBR4 review #5: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Katsa has known since she was young that she had a Grace (a special ability and one that is marked by two different colored eyes) different from everyone else in her kingdom.  Some are graced with athletic talent, others are great cooks, but Katsa’s talent has always been the ability to kill.  Graced with speed and strength, there is no man, or any number of men, that can outmatch Katsa’s skills. Katsa ‘s uncle, King Randa, uses her skill set to enforce his law and punish anyone who crosses him.  As a mysterious kidnapping plot is unraveled, and a stranger named Po comes into her life, Katsa’s life takes a turn and she begins to question the role she has filled for so long.

The person who recommended this book to me boldy stated  “Katsa > Katniss.” As a big fan of The Hunger Games I was skeptical of this statement, but also intrigued, as there are few things I love as much as a kick ass heroine.  I don’t know that I would agree that Katsa is greater than Katniss, but she is certainly worthy of being called an equal.  Graceling is set in a world where Kings and kingdoms exist, and though it’s a fairly typical fantasy setting, Cashore manages to eschew most of the stereotypes of the genre.  The book starts right in the middle of the action, with Katsa rescuing a kidnapped prisoner, taking down several men in the process.  Cashore creates some great action scenes, but also constructs really interesting characters with depth and dimension.   Katsa is by no means a mindless killer, and from the beginning questions the morality of using her Grace to harm others.  I really liked that she was a strong character with an equally strong personality, but was also able to step back and consider situations and consequences.  Katsa is a a believable and thoroughly  enjoyable protagonist.

I was also a big fan of Cashore’s prose and storytelling.  She strikes just the right note, mixing action, mystery, and relationships, but never uses a heavy hand.  There is a love story, but her depiction of Katsa and Po’s relationship is balanced, with Katsa and Po being equals in all aspects, and while the relationship is important to the story, it never overwhelms it.  This book is a solid mix of adventure, action, and strong characterization and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a fun, intriguing read. It is technically fantasy, but like the best stories, it transcends its genre to tell a great story about its characters and how they handle the challenges they are faced with.  I can’t recommend this book enough.

Even Stevens’s #CBR4 review #4: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

The author’s note explains that this a book originally conceived, and started, by author Siobhan Dowd. Unfortunately, Ms. Dowd passed away before she could get past the basic outline of the story, and Patrick Ness was approached to finish her book. I was really intrigued by this aspect of it, adopting someone else’s story as your own – being passed the baton, as Ness describes it. I have not read Ness’ highly-praised Walking Chaos trilogy (which I will be rectifying immediately), so this is my first introduction to his work. What a spectacular introduction it was.

At 12:07 each night, Conor O’Malley awakens from a nightmare, only to find another sort of nightmare right outside his window: a giant yew tree that has come for him. The yew is ancient and matter-of-fact, it has a mission and it will complete it. On the surface, this is a good old-fashioned monster tale, but thanks to Ness’ incredibly talented writing, there is so much more going on underneath. Conor’s daytime life is even more complicated, his mother has cancer and her most recent treatments haven’t been working, his dad has moved from England to America and has a new family, and Conor faces bullies and other obstacles at school.

The book is laced from the beginning with a sort of dark humor, mostly coming from Conor, a 13-year-old who is both wise beyond his years and still a typical kid. Conor cooks his own meals, does the wash and takes out the trash – he has taken on an adult’s weight of responsibility but still yearns for the normal things that adolescents do, even if he won’t admit it to himself. The characterization is one of many great things about this novel; each one has a very distinct personality and voice, and even the smaller players are given depth and dimension.

What is really great about this book is the contrast between fantasy and reality. When I was reading it, I often thought about the movie Pan’s Labryinth and writer Neil Gaiman. This is not to say the author is derivate, but rather that his writing evoked much of the same tone and feeling. His story is deceptively simple, but he uses Conor’s fantasy world to contrast the burden of fear, grief, loneliness, responsibility, etc. Is Conor really seeing a monster, or is he using it to channel his fears? Fear is a big player here. Fear of abandonment, of being invisible, of helplessness, of growing up. Our fears can be crippling, but learning to move past them can be the most freeing thing of all. All of these things are significant to Conor’s story, but they are all things we, the readers, can relate to as well, and that is the sign of a truly great story.

The absolutely wonderful illustrations also deserve a mention. All black and white sketches, they start out simple enough, and as the story grows more complex, so do the sketches. They complement the story perfectly and some of them were just downright gorgeous.

Ness has an amazing eye for detail as well. There are many things introduced in the beginning that stand well on their own, but as the story progresses, you realize they had a bigger purpose the whole time. For instance: why the monster comes at 12:07 exactly, why it takes the form of a yew tree, and the significance of the stories the monster tells Conor. The stories the monster tells are my favorite part. They are morality tales, but they don’t necessarily end the way you would expect. Conor complains that they’re terrible stories because they don’t have happy endings, but these stories, to me, are captivating because they, A) establish that not all stories have happy endings, B) present a moral ambiguity that seems very true to real life, and C) highlight the complex, often contradictory nature of people (one that is paralleled in Conor’s story).

This book is beautiful, poignant, and affecting, but most of all it transcends genre to the point that it is really just a great story to read. You can have great ideas or great plot points, but you need a skilled writer to bring it all together, and Ness has done that flawlessly. The book has a timeless feel to it, in the way that if someone were to pick this up fifty or one hundred years from now, they could still relate, and that right there is something special. I absolutely cannot recommend this book enough – I would give it a hundred stars if I could. If you’re a fan of good writing and entertaining stories, I urge you to read this book. Right now!

Even Stevens’s #CBR4 review #3: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

I am a big fan of the early season of The Office (let’s not talk about the more recent ones) and had heard good things about Kaling’s book, often compared to Tina Fey’s Bossypants (really I think that’s just because they’re both women, and both funny). I needed a good laugh, and so when my reserved copy from the library finally came, I dug right in.

This book is, in a word, delightful. A mix of stories about her life (childhood to present day), her musings on various subjects, and a random mix of lists, Kaling strikes the perfect blend of funny and sweet. Kaling, by her own account, had a fairly normal upbringing but is great at telling stories that are humorous and relatable to pretty much anyone who went through puberty. And while her personal stories are great, it’s her deadpan delivery of blink-or-you-miss-it one liners that really had me cracking up. The highlights for me included her stint as a babysitter, her thoughts on romantic comedies (treat them like sci-fi – those kinds of stories don’t happen in this world but are still enjoyable), and her personal reverse success story she titles (in her head) From Dartmouth to Dickhead. Also, this: “…chubby people can never truly pull off ethereal the same way skinny people can never be jolly. The only fat ethereal person I can think of was Anna Nicole Smith, and in her case, ethereal might have meant ‘drugged.’”

It’s obvious that Kaling keeps a good head about her even though she’s achieved a pretty great degree of success. There’s a great blend of stories and I could relate to a lot of the material in this book. Her humor is often sweet, sometimes sharply observant, but always enjoyable. I eagerly await any future books or projects by Ms. Kaling.

Even Stevens’s #CBR4 Review #2: The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan


This is a review I’ve been putting off writing for a little while, mostly because I’m having trouble finding something substantial to say about this book. The Dead-Tossed Waves is the second book in a trilogy. For those who haven’t read the first book, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, this trilogy takes place after a zombie infection has broken out. There are two types of zombies: the typical slow-moving, moaning, flesh-eating zombie and another kind called “breakers”; zombies that possess excessive strength and speed.

I had problems with Ryan’s first book, mostly that I found Mary to be cold and selfish and the rest of the characters to be underdeveloped. Thankfully, she has fixed some of these issues in the second book by making Mary’s daughter, Gabrielle the protagonist and giving us a new set of characters. She avoids some of the pitfalls that come with a middle book, mainly the feeling that the story is filler before the final chapter. Ryan builds stronger characters and introduces a new set of issues and also raises more questions about zombies. Do they retain souls? Can they be brought back from zombification? Is it a form of immortality? These were some questions that were explored in an interesting way and the story moved fastest when Ryan was addressing the zombie issues.

Where this story falls flat is with the character drama. Though the characters in this one have become more relatable and sympathetic, it still feels as though Ryan is manufacturing the human drama just for the sake of drama. Ryan is good at the little moments (passages where she describes a first kiss and a panicked dream come to mind), but it feels like she created a big picture story with bullet points and bends her characters to fit that mold, rather than letting the story flow naturally. She is also a big fan of the love triangle formula (present in both books, with two different sets of characters), which I find tiring.

On the whole, this book was better than the first installment and I will still check out the final installment to see how the story plays out, but if you want a really good zombie story, I suggest picking up World War Z.

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