Saturday, September 21, 2013

Battle of the Network Zombies

Amanda Feral is back, but not as triumphant as she would like. Her advertising agency is on the verge of closing down. Her boyfriend leaves her because her celebrity status and material wealth is more important to her than their relationship. Then her car gets repossessed; she loses her condo; and she still owes oodles of money to the Reapers for fixing her up. Sleazebag wood nymph Johnny Birch offers Amanda her last chance for success as a judge on his new reality show American Minions. Although she hates his fairy guts, she takes the offer. The show doesn't go as planned when Johnny Birch is found murdered, but Amanda doesn't let it put an end to the show. In a stroke of genius (or self preservation), she turns it into a reality murder mystery. It could be any of the very colorful cast of characters, including a white trash stripper, a drag queen werewolf, and a very powerful voodoo witch. Let's hope she can catch the killer before she's next on their list.

The Amanda Feral series has been a guilty pleasure for me. It's so sleazy and dirty, but fun at the same time. I like Amanda even though she kind of a horrible person. She has grown over the course of the last 2 books and even humbled a little bit due to her crippling debt. Even though she's still very judgmental and quick to make biting comments, she actually reflects on how it might affect the people she loves and is even known to apologize for hurting them. Everyone else she hurts can die for all she cares. She's the same Amanda from previous books, just with a little more heart. I like that she has no remorse over eating people. It's a necessity to her survival, so why feel guilty? There is no typical paranormal romance angst here, which is refreshing.

I liked how the supernatural world was effected by real world woes. Amanda's company is circling the drain and verging on bankruptcy. Her boss is demanding and practically the only person that makes her feel inferior. She also owes quite a bit of money to the Reapers for specialized health care. Obviously, she can't just waltz into a regular hospital and the Reapers don't seem to take any sort of insurance, so it's all extremely expensive. Many people can relate to her predicament because of the state of the economy and our fucked up health care system.

I had quite a few problems with this book. The colorful cast of characters was really fun. I especially like Tanesha Jones the drag wolf and Maiko the beautiful Japanese smoke ghost. However, the new characters didn't get a lot of time to shine and their potential went untapped. Wendy is annoying and didn't really need to be in the story at all. Parts of the story were frankly hard to follow and needed some editing. I was underwhelmed by the ending and the story in the appendix was just a weird, disturbing way to end. I get that it was a glimpse into the formative years of Amanda Feral, but I just don't think it should be the last thing I ever read about her. Lastly, I hate this cover with a passion.

Battle of the Network Zombies is my least favorite of the series. I still enjoyed it, but it was lacking compared to the previous two books. It had a lot of potential, but didn't manage to deliver. I still very much enjoy Mark Henry's writing and will read whatever he writes next.

My rating: 3.5/5 fishmuffins

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