Review: Fiend by Peter Stenson
Genre: Apocalyptic, Horror, Zombies
Publication Date: July 9, 2013
Copy Provided By: Edelweiss
When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he's not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he’s no stranger to horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations.
But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion. The end of the world really has arrived.
The funny thing is, Chase’s life was over long before the apocalypse got here, his existence already reduced to a stinking basement apartment and a filthy mattress and an endless grind of buying and selling and using. He’s lied and cheated and stolen and broken his parents’ hearts a thousand times. And he threw away his only shot at sobriety a long time ago, when he chose the embrace of the drug over the woman he still loves.
And if your life’s already shattered beyond any normal hopes of redemption…well, maybe the end of the world is an opportunity. Maybe it’s a last chance for Chase to hit restart and become the man he once dreamed of being. Soon he’s fighting to reconnect with his lost love and dreaming of becoming her hero among civilization’s ruins.
But is salvation just another pipe dream?
Propelled by a blistering first-person voice and featuring a powerfully compelling antihero, Fiend is at once a riveting portrait of addiction, a pitch-black love story, and a meditation on hope, redemption, and delusion—not to mention one hell of a zombie novel.
Fiend is definitely not your average Zombie story and frankly that is what drew me to it in the first place. Through the years reading Zombie books I've seen serial killers, momma's boys, crazies, housewives, military men and women etc as survivors but I can only recall a handful of times where I've seen a Drug Addict the hero of the story and even then they didn't usually last long.
When I started Fiend I expected the characters to be high but as the world turned to sh*t I really hoped to see the withdrawal process as drugs became scarce and surviving, not getting high became the characters priority. However, this book actually surprised me. The Author decided to keep his characters high. Sure they'd have moments of lucidity where they weren't shooting up, popping pills or smoking something but those are few and far between. Now before you ask, No he's not glorifying drug abuse. The characters actually have a legitimate excuse for being and staying high. Of course you'll have to actually read the book to find out why this is.
Now while being high all the time made the characters hard to relate to, I could of easily dealt with it. What I found to be the real killer of this book was the narration itself. Like Andrew McCormac's The Road the Author chose to write without punctuation. This makes it incredibly hard to follow who is talking and whether they are excited, depressed or just feeling horny. I know the narration (least I'm assuming) is supposed to resemble the erratic minds of being high but it just did not work for me. To me the book felt unpolished and I just gave up trying to care about what was going on and instead just tried to focus on finishing the story instead.
Another thing I didn't really like were the characters. Chase goes on and on about this girl named KK and then when we meet her she's barely better than a crack whore and she looks like a prepubescent boy. Seriously? What the hell does he see in her. It's surely not looks, brains or personality given by how he describes her and the way she acts. Also the characters were like really, really obsessed with genitals. When they weren't talking about getting high it was Vagina this or Penis that. I just didn't understand the fascination. Maybe I'm just to straight edge to "get it".
Surprisingly, as far as Zombie stories go I actually really liked that aspect of the book. The Zombies were scary and the fact they had a bad case of the giggles totally added a level of creepiness to the story that I wasn't expecting. Least when a normal Zombie is killing you they don't do it while giggling happily about it.
Overall, I just couldn't find myself caring about the story or the characters. Fiend was a great idea that in my opinion just was lacking in poor execution. Even the ending which I found actually interesting couldn't save this book for me. Would I recommend it? Eh, no but if you really want to try it then I highly suggest borrowing before buying. With that being said, I will be rating Fiend by Peter Stenson ★★.
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