Book Number 34: Next book: The Walking Dead Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

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Last of the year…

Next book: The Walking Dead Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

Next book: The Walking Dead Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

139 pages
Genre Fiction (Graphic Novel – Horror)
Wednesday 24th December – Friday 26th December (3 days)
2 afternoon, 1 evening.

Hot on the heels of the last volume, I picked up this one… we see the group move away from the farm after the disastrous events of the last volume, and stumble upon a prison. The group start to make their way through, clearing each block and securing, in the hope that this is the perfect place for them to settle, and Lori to have her baby.

However, as you would expect, things don’t go according to plan, and the group find some surviving prisoners who are not all as innocent as you would expect… things start going horribly wrong, and the group also discover that whether you die at the hands of a zombie or not, you still turn…

Again, another great instalment of the series, perfectly timed and tense, with a great look into human nature and how we act when faced with disaster. Artwork was amazing again as well!

Book Number 23: The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore

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I’ve been looking forward to this…

The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore

The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore

144 pages
Genre Fiction (Graphic Novel – Horror)
Wednesday 11th June  (1 day)
1 morning.

Awesome. The artwork is fantastic, I could barely tear my eyes away. I was extremely impressed by the artwork in this book. And on top of that, the story was great.

I finished watching season 3 of the TV series a few days before I started this and I was feeling a little sad and bereft, so I decided to start this series to try and fill the hole. I was a little worried about how it would stand up to the TV series but I shouldn’t have done.

I devoured this in one sitting one morning over breakfast. The set up is fairly straight forward, Rick is a cop who gets shot, wakes up from a coma in an abandoned hospital and slowly discovers the world has been taken over by zombies. He eventually discovers a group of survivors outside Atlanta, who miraculously contains his wife and son, and best friend Shane.

There is the obvious story of the zombies, the issues of survival etc. but also the development of the characters and their relationships to each other. Very interesting, and by the end of this volume, very different from the first season… which I think is good! (I don’t want to read a carbon copy of what I’ve watched).

If you like zombies as a genre, then it’s likely you have heard, of read already or at least seen this but I still think it’s very good so far and would recommend it to anyone who likes this genre. Well written, amazing artwork, and kept me on the edge of my seat till the last page.

Next book:  Island of the Sequined Nun by Christopher Moore

Book Number 32: Z by Michael Thomas Ford

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Some zombie fiction fun…

Z by Michael Thomas Ford

Z by Michael Thomas Ford

276 pages
Genre Fiction (Fantasy Horror)
Wednesday 16th October – Friday 18th October (3 days)
2 morning, 2 afternoon, 1 evening.

Based in the future, after a zombie epidemic, Josh and his friend play a hologram based computer game where they torch zombies. The game is based on the historic events from their past, where a zombie virus spread and infected many people, not killing them, but ensuring they are resistant to pain, and making their blood coagulate quicker than usual, making the infected seem invincible or like the living dead. Torchers were employed to literally torch the infected, setting fire to them to kill them and stop the spread of the infection through blood. Due to the fact that the zombie infection was in their parent’s lifetime, they are not keen on Josh and his friend playing these games, they still see zombies as real people who had become ill, and had to be brutally killed.

The game is so addictive, Josh finds himself lying to his parents and playing constantly, until one day he is approached by another online player Charlie. Charlie offers him a chance to play a more realistic version of the game, and before Charlie knows it, he is embroiled in a world of lies, conspiracy and real zombies…

I like a good zombie novel, but this just didn’t grab me like previous stories have. I liked the ideas behind it, and the story kept me reading, but I found the main villain a little weak, and I struggled to really get attached to many of the characters – apart from Josh and Charlie, they weren’t really very well developed. It seemed to be in a rush to get the story out, and I found that whilst the action was fast paced and exciting, there wasn’t any character development and I wish we could have found out more about what happened before, and more about the weird world that Josh had gotten involved in. It also read a little like the first in a series, and is open ended, but I can’t seem to find a sequel?

If you like zombie books, it’s not a bad quick read, but I was a little disappointed and finished it wanting more.

Next book: Ways of Seeing by John Berger

Book Number 14: Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg

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A bit of geekery…

Nerd Do Well by SImon Pegg

Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg

355 pages
Genre Non-Fiction (Autobiography)
Wednesday 3rd April – Thursday 18th April (16 days)
5 morning, 4 afternoon, 6 evening, 1 night.

I don’t often read autobiographies or biographies, but this one caught my eye. I like Simon Pegg, I’m a fan of Spaced, Big Train, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. I’m a nerd. I thought this book would tick a few boxes, so I gave it a go.

It’s very good, he has a nice writing style which is familiar, funny and easy to read, and the book is less of a “here is my life from birth to now with some funny anecdotes” and more of a “here is how I became a nerd and succeeded”. His stories about Star Wars, acting in a theatre group, stand up comedy at school etc. are all charming and funny, and his journey from small geeky child to today is brilliant. There are a few anecdotes about meeting Quentin Tarantino, working with Nick Frost on various films, and Star Trek, but it’s generally the more “before I was famous” stories that make up the majority of the book and that I liked the most.

There is also a brilliant chapter on the pub that inspired the Winchester in Shaun of the Dead. One of my favourite bits of the book, as I identitified with this element of the film and the explanation and description of the ‘real’ Winchester did not disappoint! The way he talks about the pub, and the people he socialises with is so lovely, and much more interesting to me than the anecdotes about meeting famous actors and directors.

I was slightly disappointed with the lack of Spaced in the book, which is one of my favourite TV programmes and I wanted to know more… but never mind, the rest of the book was fab. The photos in the middle of the book were quite interesting in a voyeuristic way, as they always are. Interspersed between the chapters about Simon’s life is a story he has written abut an exaggerated superhero version of himself. It was mildly amusing, but to be honest, I could take it or leave it… the interesting parts of the book, him discussing his life as a geek, were the bits I wanted to read.

But, all in all, an interesting, amusing and entertaining read.

Next book: Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

Book Number 44: Countdown by Mira Grant

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To finish off the series…

Countdown by Mira Grant

Countdown by Mira Grant

Page Count: 262 Genre: Fiction e-book (Sci-fi/Horror) Time taken: 2 days (Sat 20/10/12 – Sun 21/10/12) Sessions: 1 morning, 1 afternoon, 1 evening, 1 night.

This is my first e-book that I have bought and that I have read on my iPhone… but more about that later.

After finishing the series, this novella was advertised at the back of the book and looked like a good way to complete. It’s a series of blogs,  reports and brief stories from different people – the Doctors and scientists behind the two viruses, patients and the Masons, telling the story of how the rising came to be.

We find out about the beginnings of the two viruses. The good intentions of both the creators, trying to find a cure for the common cold that got released before human testing by stoned activists and the cancer cure which had started to change people’s lives, curing them or reversing their cancers.

We see how easily the viruses connected, changed and evolved and became something more nasty, and how quickly this spread throughout the world, and the zombie apocalypse happened…

We also see the Mason’s before their son died, how he died and before they became Georgia and Shaun’s parents.

A great prequel, I enjoyed it a lot, although I found reading on my iPhone a little annoying as the pages were so small, so I was constantly turning the page. I also found that reading the screen hurt my eyes after a while. The ease of carrying just my iPhone around, instead of a book whilst travelling has opened my eyes to the possibility of an e-reader, but if I did get one, it would have to be an e-ink version.

Next on the list: The Hobbit (Graphic Novel Illustrated Edition) by J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Dixon and David Wenzel

Book Number 43: Blackout by Mira Grant

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Some good old zombie fiction next…

Blackout by Mira Grant

Blackout by Mira Grant

Page Count: 574 Genre: Fiction (Sci-fi/Horror) Time taken: 7 days (Sat 13/10/12 – Fri 19/10/12) Sessions: 5 morning, 5 afternoon, 3 evening, 2 night.

This is the third and final instalment in this series. A fantastic series about life after the zombie apocalypse as told by some journalists in the 2040s. The plague or the “rising” hits in 2014 when a cure for cancer mixes with an untested cure for the common cold and creates a super virus that everyone seems to carry, which brings people back from the dead. Humans have survived, just, but now live in a time where the world is split into secure places where you can still live, where you are tested to get in and out of buildings, towns, areas and even cars, and killed immediately if you are found positive for an amplified virus. People bathe in a weak bleach solution, and no-one is completely safe.

This book was better than the second, a good way to end the series, with plenty of twists and turns throughout the book. The zombies are a small part of the plot, with government cover ups, conspiracies and pseudo science taking up most of the book. Although the dialogue is a little cliched and corny at times, this is a good fast paced book, and I really enjoyed it, and liked the characters enough to care what was happening.

If you haven’t read this series – a warning – lots of spoilers coming!

Georgia and Shaun Mason, two adopted orphans from the Rising, are journalists and Irwins (names after Steve Irwin as they like to poke Zombies, like he liked to poke dangerous animals…). Their website – After the End Times, was chosen to cover the lead up to the election by Senator Ryman, and uncovered a huge conspiracy, killing Georgia in the process.

They then uncover a bigger conspiracy at the CDC in the second book, when joined by a doctor who faked her own death, who then ends up dying… and then things get worse.

In the third book we see what’s left of the gang running for their lives, leaving a trail of destruction and trying to uncover the truth. We also see Georgia, she’s back as a clone, and is part of a plot to uncover conspiracies, lies and deception within the CDC as well, whilst trying to find Shaun and convince her friends that she is real (ish). The Government are keeping the truth from people, some people are immune… and whilst there is no cure for KA, things aren’t as they seem…

The cloning aspect of this book was interesting on an ethical and moral level, and to a certain extent on a philosophical level, although it never gets too deep. The science, whilst far fetched and probably not very accurate is good enough to believe for the sake of the plot. I really enjoyed this series, a little different and of course, I always enjoy a good zombie story!

Next on the list: Countdown by Mira Grant

Book Number 40: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

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Next a classic… sort of…

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

Page Count: 317 Genre: Fiction (Horror) Time taken: 27 days (Thu 20/09/12 – Sat 13/10/12) Sessions: 7 morning, 4 afternoon, 3 evening, 2 night.

I’ve never read the original – this sort of book doesn’t normally appeal to me. I don’t think I have read any Jane Austen books, and only a few Bronte books – I am not overly enamoured with this genre or style. However, I thought this might be a bit of fun and gave it a go.

As I don’t really know the story that well (I have never seen the film either) I don’t know how accurate it is to the original, although I am aware of the basic story, and this version sticks to this. The zombies and the plague that has hit England aren’t just an add in and a background, they form some of the plot lines throughout the book.

The main character, Elizabeth, and her sisters, have been trained as efficient zombie killers in China with their father, and the youngest two are keen on giving up the art of slaying to find husbands, whereas Elizabeth isn’t. The same romantic plot runs through the book between Elizabeth and Mr Darcy, but with extra scenes of zombie slaying, and the character of Charlotte being bitten and infected and slowly dying.

This was OK, not the best zombie book I have read, more an amusing exercise in literature. I don’t think I’ll read any of the other similar titles (Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters etc.) Worth a read if you like either genre.

Next on the list: Y: The Last Man – Girl on Girl by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Goran Sudžuka and Jose Marzan Jr