Saturday, February 22, 2014

Bookshelf: Amanda Hocking's Hollowland

I have to say this is probably one of the most well crafted self published books I've read. The author has really edited this book very well that it reads better than some that have professional editors at publishing companies working on books. Don't get me wrong, the book has typos, but it reads well enough that for me I wasn't too aware of it, and was more enthralled by the story. There are some little bumps in the story like a pet lion, which was a problematic distraction.

Summary: After the government run facility she is staying at is over run with zombies, Remy King, is determined to find her brother, Max, who was airlifted away from the chaos because of he is being protected by the government. Along the way though Remy is going to see a lot of how the world is changing now the zombies are running it. With marauders out to loot and kill, cults forming, and others just looking to survive against the threats it has become a dangerous and cautious world to live in with no law. She will also meet new friends who are looking for a group as well.

Characters: All the characters are well developed, particularly the lead female character. I think much like The Hunger Games, Hocking provides a female character that shows true feminine qualities while also being strong. I hate when some writers then females need no female traits to be strong. Remy though is determined to find her brother and do what she can to make sure he is out of harm's way. There is also other characters like Lazlo, who I like more as the story went on. I felt the chemistry grew well, but the hate that Remy and him have does feel a little love story typical at the beginning. Harlow is also a great character, and the beginning part where it's Remy, Sommer, and Harlow is a powerful scene to get the reader invested. There are some like Blue who are good characters, but you also never feel you know them either. The one character though I wish hadn't been in the novel was Ripley though. The pet lion thing just really took away from the story, and took what was a story just as compelling as other zombie books, and made aspects of the story cartoonish.

Writing: I loved the dialogue of the book, and for me that really makes or breaks a book. You can have all the descriptive narrative you want, but if you can't have your characters hold compelling conversations then I'm not going to be interested.These characters interact and grow by the dialogue they share. By the end though I will admit the novel feels rather rushed, so lengths of the story just come flying out of nowhere on quick development.

Plot: To be honest I haven't read many zombie stories. I wasn't a huge fan of World War Z, but I did love Cell from Stephen King. So Hollowland was a rare zombie story read for me. With the recent interest in zombies, like The Walking Dead, I believe this story really does hold it's own, and with the recent interest in teen reads this novel is hitting at the right time to find an audience that will find it appealing. It's also one of the first novels I've read that involves zombies and a female teen. Forget that other series where zombies have feelings and are trying to fit in and get human rights...that one doesn't count. The story though is very strong, and it makes you feel and want the best outcome for these characters.

It's rare I have an interest in purchasing a book to continue a free read, but I am excited to see what continues with Remy as she navigates the zombie world she is now living in. There are many aspects of the book that could have been cleaned up, and yes the humans are the real evil ones is a bit over used, but some great topics that aren't too delved into are explored like people who are immune to the zombie disease, which I so wish would be more often explored!

Rating 8 of 10.

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