Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day by Day Armageddon by J.L. Bourne

Well, this is awkward.  My first poor review, and I feel a little guilty about it.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the story.  It’s a zombie book- how could I not like it?  Day by day is just that- a personal account of one military man’s survival after a zombie outbreak.  

Being an educator, I’m going to treat this like a parent-teacher conference and start with what J. L. Bourne does well.

1.       1.  I enjoyed the links to his personal life.  He really is an active duty military officer, so I appreciated his professional details and the fact that he planted his parents in Arkansas where he was born.  I struggled keeping the military acronyms straight, though.

2.      2.  He followed the “rules” or what readers already know about zombies (i.e. they’re slow and uncoordinated, can’t swim or climb, the bite is infectious, they deteriorate over time, etc.), but he added his own flavor to the rules.  After nuclear strikes on major cities which only seem to kill the remaining surviving humans, the radiation makes the zombies stronger and faster, some even retaining small snippets of their former lives like combinations to a digital lock.  Ca-reepy!

3.     3.   It’s believable.  This could have really happened, and I was completely convinced of this man’s courage and fear as he took necessary risks to ensure his survival.

4.      4.  Bourne is from the DC area.  We’re neighbors.  : )

Now we get to the part that I hope doesn’t destroy my karma- Day by Day Armageddon is a nice try, it’s just not….very well…written.  There.  I said it.  I’m not saying I could do any better, and for someone who doesn’t seem to have a background in English or literature, J. L. Bourne banged out an excellent first try, I only see him getting better.  However, he should fire his editor.  I can’t help it, I read through the eyes of an English teacher and the typos and misspellings drove me bonkers.

The pace of the novel was another issue for me.  He seemed to go from ordinary military officer to survival commando in less than 25 pages.  There wasn’t enough time spent (for me) on how the outbreak happened, the reaction of the average Joes/Janes, how the outbreak actually spread, etc. although that could have lent itself to the realism of the book.  Maybe if a real zombie outbreak occurred, one wouldn’t have time to sit around and journal about it- you’re getting your ass and survival equipment in gear.  (You like that little “out” I just gave him.  Protectin’ the karma.)  : )

Lastly,  it’s just a personal pet peeve of mine, but I can’t stand it when people use “as” when “because” will do.  “I’m going to the store as we are out of milk.”  (My quote, not his).  Bourne committed this atrocity four times on one page.

And lastly, the book just stopped…there was no conclusion, no thoughts on the future or lack of one.  The last ten pages {SPOILER ALERT!} introduce a new clan of dangerous men who are trying to take over their bunker then BAM!  It ends.  I guess Bourne is setting it up for the sequel, but at only 183 pages, it seemed a bit greedy(?) inappropriate(?) on his part to just stop there.

I can’t really recommend this book, but I do believe in Ranganathan’s laws, one of which being there is a reader for every book.  There are people out there who will think this is the best book in the world.  (I know because I read their reviews and was convinced to read it in the first place.)

I give this one the last half cup of my morning coffee that I end up nuking for 20 seconds.

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