Saturday, September 28, 2013

Alice in Zombieland

Alice Bell is sick and tired of her parents. Her dad is crazy and believes in monsters exist to the point that the family is not allowed to leave the house after dark. Her mother stands by and doesn't do anything to stop him. It's Alice's birthday and she wants to see her sister perform in a recital at night. She gets her parents to finally relent and the performance is glorious. On the way home, her dad freaks out and their car spins out of control. Alice wakes up to see that her family is being attacked by horrible creatures that enter their bodies. Later she finds out they died. After she recovers from the accident, she moves in with her grandparents. She tries to forget about the monsters and just get through school along with her new best friend Kat, but distant, brooding, dangerous Cole Holland distracts her. He shows her that the creatures are very real and she is determined to fight them. Will she die avenging her family? Will bad boy Cole end up stabbing her in the back?

I have mixed feelings about Alice in Zombieland. It has a lot of things going for it. Alice is great for the most part. She proves to be assertive and strong, not letting people belittle her or drag her down for the most part. Despite having a lot to be upset about, she isn't the typical self pitying heroine. She deals with her grief in her own way and works through it in stages. I also really liked Kat, her best friend. On the surface, she just seems to be bubbly and airheaded, but she proves to be a good friend with unexpected problems. She added some much needed comic relief and was fun to read about. The second half of the book is my favorite because it's much more action packed and gets away from the petty high school drama. I also enjoyed Gena Showalter's writing. It flowed really well and kept my attention throughout the book even if I had issues with other parts of the book.

I had quite a few problems with the book. From the dedication page, it's abundantly clear that Gena Showalter is religious. Alice is not devoutly religious, but goes to church and generally believes in god. However, there are overtly religious comments and observations in the narrative that don't mesh with her character. They felt out of place and brought me out of the book.l The book also has heavily religious themes. It's good versus evil with absolutely no grey area in between (explicitly stated by a character). I hate this mentality. It's very simplistic and frankly not a good way to see the world. Zombies have been transformed from flesh eating corpses to spirits corrupted by evil that feed on other spirits. I don't like these types of zombies. They have a lot of limitations and they don't bring quite the same horror as conventional zombies do. I am thankful the book wasn't as overtly preachy as I expected it to be, but I tend to avoid Christian fiction because I don't enjoy it.

Cole is a big problem for me. He is the stereotypical bad boy that Alice just can't get enough of. He's controlling, obsessive, and volatile. Alice often completely changes her demeanor and does what he tells her because he's oh so hot. When they see each other every day, they each see a vision of the future, usually of steamy making out. This is never explained and a shoddy way of explaining their instalove and initial obsession with each other. The first half of the book is typical high school drama with a short lived love triangle, typical and way overused in YA.

Alice in Zombieland has absolutely nothing in common with Alice in Wonderland save for a few images and names. The novel probably would have benefited from the removal of the references, but it was probably a good marketing tool. Although I have mixed feelings about the novel, I would read the next book. I would not recommend this for fans of conventional zombies.

My rating: 2.5 fishmuffins

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