Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl
Author – A. Giacomi
Published – Jan 2015
I’ve been making an effort in recent months to read and review books by other Indie and self-pub Authors. From the start of 2015 I’ve decided to review any that I give 3 stars or over on my blog.
As per my previous post on the subject, I am also very interested in swapping honest reviews with other authors, so please get in touch if you’d like to swap reviews.
From Permuted Press –
Eve used to be an ordinary girl, from an ordinary town, with ordinary dreams, but her dreams rapidly turn into nightmares when one grave mistake leaves her a little less than human and a lot less average.
Eve’s not quite the same girl she used to be. She desperately clings to her humanity as new desires, new abilities, and new urges take over with each passing day.
Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl is a tale that takes you on an emotional and terrifying journey as Eve struggles to cope with her new life and find a cure for her strange illness before time runs out. She desperately clings to her humanity as she tries to control the monster she knows is lurking inside her.
Turns out living was the easy part.
I really wanted to love this novel, however, I give it only just three stars based on its interesting story and the strength of the last few chapters against the weaknesses I felt let it down. The story itself starts well, however the return home in the second third was a weak middle, thankfully redeemed by the strong ending.
The book starts with an introduction to Eve, she is glib and sassy – the kind of character and introduction that really isn’t my particular cup of tea. That said, I immediately took a liking to the idea of her being called Eve. Although it could seem quite obvious, I liked the idea of her being the first (zombie) woman.
We first meet our three lead characters, Eve and her friends Cameron and Alexandra on an academic archaeological excavation in Egypt. As interesting as this setting and the story was I have to admit I possibly had a bias reaction to the portrayal of the dig – which in no way resembled any kind of dig, archaeologists or archaeology students I have ever encountered in the course of my own archaeological training or work in heritage. Even so, to the lay person I believe this would be an interesting and hooking introduction. The exposition we later learn – the idea of a “Mummy” as a zombie and an ancient Egyptian disease – is pretty interesting and definitely a concept not really touched on in much contemporary zombie fiction.
When the characters return home and to college the story picks up pace – we get to see the inevitable consequences of Eve’s actions and her attack whilst on the excavation. We learn more about the “disease” itself and the involvement of government agents, which is an interesting yarn. The lives and backgrounds of the characters are explored more in this home setting. However, the death of a family member and return home feels a bit too long and lacking in really gripping action.
This weak middle is definitely made up for in the strength of the last few chapters. Our characters return once more to college, as Eve’s condition both worsens and is better explored with the help of a professor at the college. The rise of college zombie hordes and inevitable appearance of the agents is where this story really finds its feet. It’s a shame this comes so late, but for me it saves the story and piques my interest in the next installment.
I really loved the story being told, however there were weaknesses that let it down for me which lead me to giving it just three stars. The tone is often all over the place, the flip attitude of the characters not always quite adding up with the gore and violence.
Jumping into the different characters each chapter is quite a good way to expand a first person narrative, a drawback in this case being that the characters all trends to have, if not the same, very similar internal voices. Overall this ends up not being used as effectively as it could have been and it feels that the story would have been stronger if in the third person. Although we learn past events via this method I didn’t find it gave me any greater connection to the characters and so still only know them superficially by the end of the novel. First person can be a great way to explore character thoughts and feelings but this wasn’t used to the full potential that it could have been – a real missed opportunity in exploring deeper Eve’s experience.
That said, the ending was gripping and the “two years later” final chapter building to the sequel takes us in an intriguing new direction that I will definitely be looking forward to reading more about.
Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl is available now at Amazon
Eve Brenner: Zombie Agent will be released on February 17th 2015