Saturday, September 13, 2014
Sadie Walker is Stranded
A few months ago, the Outbreak happened and the dead rose and started eating the living. Nothing has been the same since. Sadie Walker lives in walled off Seattle and works as an illustrator just like she used to before the Outbreak. However, it doesn't support her as much as it used to since art is seen as a nonessential job when resources are scarce. Things aren't good, but the dead aren't banging down their doors until a fringe group called Rabbits who are intent on having as many kids as possible break down the wall. Seattle is overrun and Sadie escapes with a friend on a boat with a bunch of strangers. They lose their captain and a storm washes them onto a deserted island. How will they survive? What will they do next? What if the island isn't so deserted?
Sadie Walker is Stranded is a companion novel, but not really a continuation of Allison Hewitt is Trapped. The events exist in the same universe and the two books share at least one character, but Allison's story is done. Sadie Walker is directly influenced by Allison's blog that recorded her own account of the Outbreak. She saw it as inspiring and necessary for others to see stories of success during this time. Writing and art are seen as unnecessary during this time because they don't directly contribute to survival. Sadie makes her money creating cutesy and optimistic kid's stories to provide them an escape. In her spare time, she creates adult comics about surviving the Outbreak, but it's soundly rejected as being too depressing and too close to everyone's every day life. I like that this idea is explored because art is very important to humans in general. Just because it isn't needed physically for our survival doesn't mean that it isn't needed for our mental and emotional health. I've never seen the subject explored and it's nice to see someone fighting for it.
I enjoyed the first half of the story very much. Sadie lives a relatively normal life with her brother and her boyfriend. Then one day, everything goes to hell when the Rabbits break through the wall surrounding Seattle, letting all the zombies in. Not only that, but her boyfriend suddenly decides to kidnap her brother and attack her, but it goes wrong and he ends up dead. These scenes are very intense and the tenuous life they have all built after the Outbreak is shattered because of one fucked up cult. I wish Roux had explored this cult a bit more because I find them morbidly interesting. The Rabbit cult's goal is to have as many children as possible to repopulate the earth and of course it's powered by religion. Anyone can see it's insane since there aren't resources for that many newborns and people are just trying to survive at this point. I can't even fathom the amount of self absorption needed to destroy a whole city because they don't support your crappy religious views.
I didn't like the plot on the island as much. Sadie is pretty self absorbed and borders on Mary Sue territory when all the attractive men somehow go after her. One major plot point at the end just jumped the shark for me: a woman was able to manipulate zombies because she had briefly died. What?? I'm pretty sure zombies can still sense you're alive what with making noise, moving around, and doing unzombielike things. It doesn't make sense with the rest of the world building and honestly made me pretty angry since the first half of the novel was so good.
Sadie Walker is Stranded is half very cool zombie book and half not very good. I hope the series continues and goes more in the vein of Allison Hewitt is Trapped than this one. I would read other books by Madeline Roux, but many more like the second half of this and I would not.
My rating: 3.5/5 fishmuffins