Saturday, November 9, 2013

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Synopsis: She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.
Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would changed course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.
Her father was right. The monsters are real.
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.

My Thoughts: What started out as a really decent paranormal YA ended with a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of suppositions on my part.

What Worked: Gena Showalter's idea of 'Ghost' zombies is unusual and interesting. They are essentially soul eaters that infect the living. She wrote the idea very well and I never had any question as to their existence. It made sense and it was exciting but then it got muddled.

What Didn't Work: Although her zombie concept was great and well explained it appears that the readers of the series have to wait to see every other question answered as Ali, herself, figures them out. We don't know why some people can see the ghost-zombies and some can't. We have no idea how they have special abilities to fight them either. Alice is often reading a journal but we have no idea where it came from or who wrote it. We find there are beings called Watchers but don't know exactly what they are or how they came to exist either. So a biiiiiiiig minus in the world building column.

Also, some of the characters come across extremely immature. Ali's new friend Kat has secrets that are just silly to keep. It's not like she secretly killed her algebra teacher or anything. She also is pretty obnoxious which Ali just loves about her but she actually comes across as annoying. The two of them have a couple of friends who bail at the first sign of trouble and apparently come back with open arms when the coast is clear and yet, they still are friends. It's weird.

The relationship between Ali and Cole is pretty explosive too. Their chemistry is pretty intense and reading about her wrapping her legs around his waist as they kissed made me a bit uncomfortable because they seem so young. I know teenagers do make out (and more) but I thought this aspect of the book seemed out of place and a little more advanced than the rest of the book portrayed the kids. They did talk about sex a few times which could be seen as mature but as I mentioned it just didn't fit. By the way, one discussion about sex between Kat and Ali was just weird and I'm not sure why it was included except to bring Kat's untruths to our notice.

What REALLY Didn't Work: The title is Alice in Zombieland which leads readers to believe this just might be an Alice in Wonderland retelling. Not so much. There are some basic things, like our heroine being very blond and named Alice and she keeps seeing a white rabbit (in the form of a big puffy cloud) but the idea of Alice in Wonderland is more figurative and not literal. This will be a big turn off for those who would love a retelling.

In a Nutshell: Not what I expected based on the title. Because of this and the lack of explanation of a whole lot of concepts this book was a disappointment and I'm not sure I'll even pick up the next book.
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