Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Remaining

Captain Lee Harden is waiting in a bunker with his faithful dog, not for the first time. Usually, he waits for a few weeks or so, receives a call and goes on with his life. This time, the call doesn't come. He figures it might be a mistake, so he waits and still nothing. Finally, he watches the required video that tells him of a pandemic of epic proportions. His mission is to save who he can, restore order, and basically restart civilization, a tall order for one person. Fortunately, there are other people in bunkers across the US as a contigency with the same commands, but can they combat the diseased and unhinged people with any success?

Lee Harden is ex-military and without family. He figures his special assignment is nice for extra money worth going a little stir crazy every once in a while. When the time comes when his contact can no longer respond, he goes through a period of denial. Lee opts to drink and play video games to cope with the knowledge that something horrible wrong happened to the world. Once he pulls himself together, he breaks protocal to investigate his house, leaving his bunker earlier than planned. He encounters both diseased people and deranged humans. At first, he sees the infected as needing a doctor instead of a bullet in the head, but he has to protect himself from their attacks. He has much less sympathy for people taking advantage of lawlessness by shooting the innocent for fun. His decisions may to always be right, but he tries his hardest to make moral decisions, save those who need help, and punish the ones doing harm.

The zombies in the story are caused by a bacteria called FURY, the cause of major plagues throughout human history. The disease goes through 4 stages. First, asymtomatic stage can last 24 to 48 hours and be very contagious. Second, the prodromal stage is marked by fever, salivation, extreme hunger and thirst, insomnia, and loss of fine motor skills. Next, the illness stage holds loss of speech and cognition, hallucinations, loss of sensation, hyperaggression, uncontrollable screaming and yelling, and insatiable appetite. The late illness stage lowers reaction time, unsteadies the gait, and may lead to blindness. The disease essentially eats the inessential parts of the brain so only the aggression, hunger, and thirst are left of the person. Some can still speak, but usually repeat words over and over while attacking unpredictably. These are closer to the 28 Days Later rage zombies and I'm curious to see if these ones will deteriorate over time in later books.

The Remaining is an exciting book that really takes off when he leaves the bunker. It took a little too long to get there and in the dragging parts, I thought of ways to rephrase some sentences to make them sound better. The infodump of the zombie disease was a little jumbled for me, but once the action commenced, the writing improved. Other than these minor problems, I am eager to continue the series. So far, there are 6 books and I want to know what happens, how larger swaths of the US are handling the disease, and how time affects the zombies.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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