Zurvival Saturday (107) Review: What Remains by Kay Holland
Series: Dead World #1
Genre: Horror, Zombies
Publisher: Indie Inked
Publication Date: September 21, 2013
Project Fed. It was supposed to be the answer to hunger, but instead, it was the destruction of the world as we knew it. The growth of chemically enhanced "super" fruits and vegetables began in unmarked farms across the Nations, as well as their distribution in small towns. Within hours of Project Fed's first delivery and primary consumption, something far beyond expectancy was unleashed. Something far beyond what anyone could help.
Four months later, Seventeen year old Max Cade is trying to survive amongst what remains of her old life. In an effort to escort an awry "Doctor" from one camp to the next, she will have to reintroduce her two young friends to the horrors beyond their shelter that she so badly wanted to shield them from. Getting there was supposed to be the easy part, but when travelling through a world of ruin, sometimes the undead have other plans.
What Remains is a story I went into knowing only that it a.) had Zombies and b.) had been on my tbr awhile so I better get cracking and read it. The story starts out with us meeting a boy named Alfred whose being bullied by his peers when suddenly he becomes infected with a rabies like Zombie virus and goes on a killing spree at his high school. These scenes although a bit confusing at first were nicely done and I liked getting to see some Zombie perspective in them. However, once Alfred exacts his revenge on the bullies in his life and sets in for some real carnage were whisked a few days ahead to a new set of characters entirely who, as it turns out, are completely clueless to the virus invading their community.
So at this point we meet the real main characters 12 year old Peter and his babysitter Max. After a brief introduction were back into the Zombie goodness. This normally would've been excellent except yet again were sent into a time jump. This time however instead of losing a few days it's several months later and the characters have seemingly adjusted to life among the dead.
Now, I don't mind time jumps when they suit a story but those first few days and then weeks not being shown really bugged me especially because then we had to backtrack to events later on unnecessarily. Anyway I'm getting off track, so here we are in the community and again before we can make any sort of connections with the people or the place they reside were thrown back into the zombie infested wilds (for some reason or another). Honestly, at this point all the jumping around was giving me a headache. Yet, despite my burgeoning distaste for the Authors writing style I found myself oddly growing attached to the characters.
Which I guess brings me to why I kept reading What Remains despite my list of issues. The characters are what kept me glued. I really liked Max and how protective she was of Peter. She was also really level headed and didn't let her emotions get in the way of making tough decisions. I know that disassociation might bother some people I find it to be admirable. I was though shocked to learn that Max was seventeen, she read much older than that. I also loved Peter. He might've been the "baby" of the group but he was the most sensible of them all. Plus it really helped that his Father was a Zombie fanatic who helped him prepare just in case they ever really happened. The only character I didn't really enjoy was the Doctor. I kept waiting for him to do something, anything really, to make me say, "Ah yes, this is why he's here" but nope I couldn't really see any reason why he'd be around except to get the survivors back into the wild to be hunted. He was just super flat , annoying and served no real purpose.
Another thing that really annoyed me about What Remains was that Project Fed wasn't mentioned until the book was nearly over. Chemical enhancement of the food and water supply is of course hinted at as being the cause of the Zombie apocalypse but we don't get any sort of real confirmation until the book is nearly over and by that point it just lacked the impact necessary to make me go "Ah Ha, so that's why this happened!"
Final ThoughtsWith that being said, I'll be rating What Remains by Kay Holland ★★★.
Overall, while the story lacked originality, What Remains was an enjoyable read and I look forward to reading The Leftovers which is set in the same world soon. If your looking for a "clean" Zombie story to read in time for Halloween then I recommend picking What Remains up.
*Copy reviewed provided by netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.
About the Author
Kay Holland is a young adult author, currently residing in Orange County, CA. When not writing, she can be found reading, listening to music, or finding the next video game to obsess over.
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