Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Handling the Undead + Giveaway!

In the summer, there are strange happenings in Sweden that are hard to ignore. First, people have headaches and electrical items refuse to turn off. They can’t even be unplugged and if this is attempted, the person gets an electric shock. When things suddenly return to normal, the unthinkable happens: the dead rise. These zombies seem to just walk around with no capacity to understand or speak or even harm the living. This is only happening in Stockholm which leads the world to ask: what caused this? Why such a small area? While the rest of the world is trying to make sense of the event, the inhabitants of Stockholm are dealing with their dead loved ones with interesting results. David’s wife had died minutes before the uprising, making his wife the only zombie that can speak. Elvy and her granddaughter Flora are both psychic and don’t know what to make of Elvy’s dead husband showing up at their door. Journalist Gustav Mahler and his daughter have been in a stasis since his grandson died and now see new hope in the dead rising. They just have to dig him out of his grave.

This is an entirely unexpected zombie novel. John Ajvide Lindqvist has done for zombies what he did for vampires in his previous novel Let the Right One In; he practically reinvented the genre. The novel is like a slow burn. It moves slowly, but succeeds in being extremely suspenseful and an altogether different kind of horror than is common in the genre. The focus of the novel isn’t the gore or the zombies or the reasons for these strange happenings, but the living people that have close family members returning as zombies. The people focused on are about as different as can be, but they all share in this bizarre experience. Each character is described eloquently, complete with histories that directly influence how they deal with the zombies. Their reactions are realistic and believable, ranging from religious fanaticism to hysteria to anger to disgust to delusions of normalcy. Each chapter focuses on a different group of characters. Lindqvist is skilled at capturing different individuals’ voices, getting into the hearts and minds of each character, and making it all ring true. The most chilling situation is with Gustav Mahler, his daughter, and her young, undead son.

One thing that I really enjoyed is the presence of the rest of the world in the novel. Many other zombie books and movies are just focused on one country with no reactions or events from other countries. Newspaper articles, television interviews, and radio broadcasts from all over the world are placed in between chapters through most of the book. It lets the reader know that this is an isolated incident and what other countries think about it, as well as giving the story a sense of realism.

There are only a few things in the novel that are flawed. The cause of the uprising is never revealed. I don’t find this a flaw, but I think other fans of the genre would. This isn’t the focus of the story, so it essentially doesn’t really matter what caused it. The ending of the novel is pretty much unresolved. I feel like it could have been tied together a little better. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wrote a follow up novel to continue the story.

Although it has a few flaws, Handling the Undead really blew me away with its originality and eloquence. I can’t wait to see what John Ajvide Lindqvist will do next.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

I have one ARC copy to give away! Just leave a comment with your e-mail address and you're entered to win! If you'd like 5 additional entries, you can post your very own pro-Team Zombie post and enter Velvet's super awesome Zombies vs. Unicorns Challenge. Show your Team Zombie pride! Open internationally. Contest ends 10/15.

**This post is for Velvet's September Zombies.**

19 comments:

Vampires and Tofu said...

This sounds like a quality zombie book and I would REALLY love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!

willowwind@gmail.com

Nina said...

Awesome. I would love to get chance to win this.

Nina.happyendings@yahoo.co.uk

Sullivan McPig said...

I'm very curious about this one. Weird that it uses the same stockphoto as Rot and Ruin btw.
+ 5 for my unicorns are goats post :-p

(bersaba_berkley(at)yahoo(dot)com)

tetewa said...

Sounds good, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

M.A.D. said...

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Oh Titania!! Thanks for the great review, I'd not heard of Handling the Undead - but really want to read this!
Sounds decayedalicious ;D

+5
Here is the link to my Team Zombie post for Velvet:
http://maryanndeborde.blogspot.com/2010/09/team-zombie-when-you-care-enough-to.html

E. Van Lowe said...

I've been following your reviews lately, and you have been reading some interesting books. I've jotted down several titles because I don't want to buy anymore books until I thin the herd... But this one I MUST have. Thanks for the review.

Kulsuma said...

Awesome! Count me in please!

k_anon[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk

Cherry said...

I don't usually read horror books... but a harmless zombie?! Count me in!!

Cherry Mischievous
cherrymischif-warrior [at] yahoo [dot] com

Cherry said...

Entered vvB32's Zombie vs Unicorn Challenge.

Posted my pro-Team zombie here: http://contests-freebies.blogspot.com/2010/09/zombie-vs-unicorn-challenge-at-vvb32.html

Cherry Mischievous
cherrymischif-warrior [at] yahoo [dot] com

Sharli said...

Sounds like an awesome book! And I love the cover! Thanks for the giveaway :)

entrelibros_blog at hotmail.com

buddyt said...

This sounds like a good mix !

Zombies, horror and a thriller all in one.

I think I would enjoy reading it.

Please enter me in the giveaway if it is open worldwide.

Thank you.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

k_sunshine1977 said...

i've been wanting to read this one....getting my zombie fix!

k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

Black Disaster Fairy said...

Undead fleshy words moan my way.

literarydaydreams@gmail.com

Black Disaster Fairy

literarydaydreams.blogspot.com
wickedsexybooks.blogspot.com
ikissbooks.blogspot.com

Zombie Girrrl said...

I love your reviews, Titania! You cut right to the heart of the matter and then you show me something that I would've mised otherwise. Fabbity fab fab fab!
I like that the author took a different angle on the dead rising angle. This sounds really good.
zombiegirrrl21 at aol dot com
I'm pro zombie. Don't believe me? Check my post! http://crackinspines.blogspot.com/2010/09/zombies-vs-unicorns-choose-your-team.html

Reniazen said...

Lindqvist blew me away with "Let the Right One In" thus I am anxiously awaiting the day I can get my hands on a copy of "Handling the Undead." Such a talented and creative mind deserves all the awards and recognitions thus far received, and more!
ashleyrn@gmail.com

Tore said...

Please enter me in contest. I would love to read the book. Tore923@aol.com

nfmgirl said...

I was just checking this one out at the bookstore. Please count me in! Thank you!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

yllektra (force-oblique) said...

Oh this does sound like an interesting book!
I'd love to enter if there's still time! *g*


yvantis[at]hotmail[dot]com

yllektra (force-oblique) said...

Oh this does sound like an interesting book!
I'd love to enter if there's still time! *g*


yvantis[at]hotmail[dot]com