Thursday, June 06, 2013

Audiobook Review: Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo

 
It was a flu season like no other. With the H1N1 virus running rampant throughout the country, people lined up in droves to try and attain one of the coveted vaccines. What was not known was the effect this largely untested, rushed to market, inoculation was to have on the unsuspecting throngs. Within days, feverish folk throughout the country convulsed, collapsed and died, only to be reborn. With a taste for brains, blood and bodies, these modern day zombies scoured the lands for their next meal. Overnight the country became a killing ground for the hordes of zombies that ravaged the land. This is the story of Michael Talbot, his family, and his friends. This is their story: a band of ordinary people trying to get by in extraordinary times. When disaster strikes, Mike, a self-proclaimed survivalist, does his best to ensure the safety and security of those he cares for. Book one of the Zombie Fallout Trilogy follows our lead character in his self-deprecating, sarcastic best. What he encounters along the way leads him down a long dark road, always skirting on the edge of insanity. Can he keep his family safe? Can he discover the secret behind Tommy's powers? Can he save anyone from the zombie queen? Encircled in a seemingly safe haven called Little Turtle, Mike and his family, together with the remnants of a tattered community, must fight against a relentless, ruthless, unstoppable force. This last bastion of civilization has made its final stand. God help them all.


Review
I've wanted to read Zombie Fallout for a few years now but for whatever reason I never managed to get around to it. So when I had the chance to buy Zombie Fallout on sale on Audible I jumped at the chance. Since this is an Audiobook review I feel I should hit on the technical aspects of the book before diving into the heart of the review. The main reason I took the plunge and bought Zombie fallout in Audiobook format was that it had the same narrator as another series I liked. This was important to me because I knew at the very least I would like the narration. Also I knew he wouldn't put me to sleep. Don't laugh but I've started some audiobooks and fallen asleep because the narrators voice had such a calming effect. Another thing I really like about this particular narrator is the way he can change his voice to convey whose talking. I never have to worry about whether I'll be able to distinguish if it is a male or female character. I know whose who each and every time. So as far as the narration goes I'd definitely recommend this book.

OK, now onto the details of the story. Zombie Fallout is the first in I believe a 6 book series. The story follows Mike Talbot, his family and friends as they try to survive a zombie apocalypse. As far as the Zombie aspect goes I actually really liked them. Tufo's Zombies weren't just your average shuffling undead. To be honest his zombies gave me the creeps. They weren't smart but they definitely had something going on upstairs. A Zombie who can realize his attempt at obtaining prey is futile and so figures out another way to get it is beyond scary. I'm also really curious about this female zombie who keeps popping up. In fact I definitely get the feeling she is stalking Mike. Why though, I only have theories.

Even though Zombie Fallout is an Audiobook, I really liked the journal format of the story. Yes it is a bit hard to tell when the story is Narrated but once I picked up that is how the chapters were written it became much easier to understand the flow of the story. While the majority of Zombie Fallout is told from Mikes POV  I liked that Mikes wife or kids would come in to share their side of events going on in the journal as well. I wish more books would take the time to show alternate characters POV it certainly made things interesting. As for the pacing of Zombie Fallout it was great. The story flew by and it took me just two days to listen to the book. I can't recall any definite lull  in narration which is most certainly due to the author being able to balance the suspense with action perfectly. 

As for the characters, I enjoyed most of them. I wouldn't say I was in love with Mike and his family but by the end I definitely was hoping they at least made it out alive. One of the reasons I didn't feel completely connected to them or should I say Mike is his obvious gender bias. It's clear Mike loved his daughter and wife but he obviously didn't care enough to teach them gun basics or you know how to kill a zombie 101. His sons knew how to shoot and how to react in crisis situations but his wife and daughter were completely clueless. It's amazing they both weren't killed in all honesty. His daughter even mentions watching her brothers and dad at the range. I stress watch as it never seems he took the time to show her anything. Now while I can overlook him not teaching them before shtf I cannot understand why on this green Earth he wouldn't take the time to teach them after the Zombies rose. They didn't even know how to load the guns for Christs sake. Did he expect them to always rely on the men to keep them safe? That seems like a plan doomed to failure if so.  Lastly I feel I should mention Tommy the Wal-Mart greeter. He is "adopted" by Mike and his family after being rescued from a Wal-Mart roof along with Mike's son. When it became obvious Tommy was "special" all I kept thinking about  was how he was the Tom Cullen of this story. I was just waiting for him to bust out the phrase "M-O-O-N that's spells Moon". Although I did giggle that his inner voice was Ryan Seacrest. Out of all the people on the planet who'd have thought that would be the choice? I sure as hell didn't.

Character flaws  aside, my biggest problem with Zombie Fallout was how under prepared everyone was. No bug out bags, no food and ammo stashes, no montage showing the characters learning many different weapons, no securing silencers for said weapons even though the characters know good and goddamn well the Zombies are attracted to noise, no commandeering vehicles to help support the wall. I could honestly just go on and on. When you combine these elements with under prepared characters there is very little surprise left in the story direction. More importantly it became quite obvious a breach was inevitable.

Overall, while I dug Zombie Fallout I was certainly left more than just a bit annoyed at the characters actions. I really hope for the stories sake that they smarten up. I guess this begs the question, Would I recommend Zombie Fallout? Oh yeah. I definitely feel the story is worth the read/listen. Since I own the E-book as well I will know doubt end up reading it at some point in the future to see if reading the book differs at all in how I perceive the characters. I'm definitely looking forward to starting the next book in the series that is for sure! With that being said, I will be rating Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo ★★★★.

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