Monday, December 8, 2014

REVIEW: After The End - Bonnie Dee


I have defined myself a reading comfort zone, much like any bookworm I know. And I have put up NO ENTRY TRESPASSERS BEWARE OF SCATHING REVIEWS signs all over its perimeter for any genre that doesn’t meet the eligibility specifications.

I have a “thing” against contemporary horror, be it movies or books – I hated Goosebumps when I was younger and the last horror movie that I saw till the credits rolled in was The Ring (it was not even in English and that shitty movie still managed to scare the pants of the poor seventh grader me). Even now when people ask me my favourite horror movie, I scoff and snort and say it’s against My Principle. Only people who know me best know it’s because even my fourth grader cousin can still manage to make me scream when she says BOO out of nowhere.

And we’re back to the main story after that bit of prerequisite knowledge.

I wasn’t blind. I did read the blurb before I started reading this book and I knew it was all about a zombie apocalypse. ZOMBIES. And somehow I also knew that this was going to be different from Warm Bodies (which I loved – YOU GO R) and I thought –

I needed to take risks. I needed to get out of my comfort zone. SO SHOULD YOU (if you haven’t done already).

Again. Back to the main story. (SERIOUSLY. GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF, A)

This book is a How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse For Dummies reference book for your survival kit in preparation for Doomsday. It had a methodical style of narration, treating the plot as a case study for some zombie apocalypse drills, in case you wanted to try it. And I actually didn’t have a problem with that – I even admired it for not over-dramatizing it. And there were plenty of rational observations here and there – like ‘how people have a tendency to cling to something while the world fell apart’, how people automatically look for authority when they are in shock and don’t know how to deal with it, and how the possibility for sexual tensions developing between two people is still an inconvenient reality to be reckoned with – after all “A person would cling to any flotsam after a shipwreck”.
It was evident that every detail had been taken care of – whenever the suspicious critic reared its ugly head, that point would be justified quickly. For example, I was beginning to seethe about how the impromptu band of survivors had quickly divided themselves into the stay-at-home-females cooking and home-making, while the men went out for the hunting and raiding and Lila observed how the “gender roles reared their ugly heads in a crisis” and I was happy again, because it was a conscious plot development rather than a prejudiced one, and the most important – dealing with Survivor’s Guilt.

Of course, there were a lot of “Bleargh” personal moments in response to some cliché dialogues and cheesy love declarations, and they were soon followed by another character’s observation that I was indeed right.

But then, the third-person POV really pissed me off at times – whenever it cast a certain character in a negative light. If it was first-person, it wouldn’t have been a problem since the judgement of a character could be chalked up to his judgemental charcter. But when third-person is used, the judgement reads like a fact, and then it feels like the reader isn’t allowed to have an alternate opinion of that character.
Which sucks. Because as far as I know, even “bitchy sluts” care about someone.

VERDICT: 3.5 stars

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