1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
There’s nothing better than a good ol’ fashion zombie novel. When done right, it can be a thrilling, emotional ride for fans of that genre, like myself. Nathan E. Harvey’s And the Blood Ran Black is no exception.
It tells the story of John and Moto, two brothers stationed in Puerto Rico (finally! My birthplace mentioned in a book!) during the horrible times of World War 3 (I know! How cool is that?!). But something else, besides falling nukes and gunfire, starts to take place, something sinister and horrible, something that threatens to end humanity as we know it – a zombie apocalypse.
I know what you’re thinking: “Ugh! Another zombie novel? Really?”. Yes, another zombie novel. But, not just any zombie novel. It’s a novel that promises to become something different than what we already have.
The Walking Dead set the bar pretty high in the zombie genre. In my opinion, Resident Evil is a close second and World War Z did a good job with the theme. But this book had something different to it that made it unique and entertaining. I haven’t read any books from the zombie genre, since I have the misconception that nothing can top the Walking Dead. Then I read this book, and it was very, very entertaining. While reading it, I found myself at the edge of my seat, heart pumping as hordes and hordes of zombies surround our heroes, laughing with Moto and venturing inside John’s head. It was quite a ride.
Harvey has a unique way of writing, and a unique way of developing characters. To be honest, I was somewhat bored during the first chapter, since I felt myself lost, trying to grasp what was going on. But the brothers Chow had me hooked and helped me through the first chapter. They were likable and interesting. Moto was goofy and at times hilarious, while John had this innate sense of leadership that was simply fascinating to me. Even though the interaction between the brothers was, at times, weird and unnatural (almost forced, if you ask me), it was still fascinating. They felt like real brothers, everything from their own special connection to the unspoken language and understanding between them. They understood each other well enough without needing to speak, and I liked the book because of it.
So we have a zombie apocalypse novel, a group of unlikely survivors, a sense of dread in the air and, of course, zombies… all in the backdrop of a future where the world fights against the rising power of China. It’s unique in its way, and it offers an array of characters that are likable (or unlikable) the moment they first appear on the page. Harvey also offers an in-depth view of how his imaginative world came to be, from the peace treaty to China’s dreadful rise to power. And to be honest, that little “history lesson” was fascinating. Bravo, Mr. Harvey!
I found the book immensely entertaining. I wouldn’t say that it’s my favorite zombie novel, since I’ve only read two so far, but it was really, really good. It exceeded my expectations in terms of story, writing and characters. Harvey wastes no time in throwing you into the reality of an upcoming zombie apocalypse. You encounter your first zombie in the first few pages. I did like the fact that the book starts with the apocalypse. Usually, the zombie genre throws you into a story that is set in a barren city, years and years after the apocalypse took place. You never get to see the desperation, the chaos and the descent of humanity while all of this is going down – which is why I found Harvey’s book engaging. He throws you into the story, just as the zombies are starting to take over. Also, the book is more realistic. A pet peeve of mine is seeing a movie or watching a TV show about zombies, where the characters have no idea what a zombie is in the first place. I mean, c’mon! Who hasn’t heard of a zombie, these days? Harvey wastes no time there either; he has his characters call the creatures for what they are and discover in a single chapter how they function, which kicks the story in high-gear. At last! A zombie story where the hero doesn’t have to spend half the book trying to do just that.
I did find a few narrative moments where the scene was too… “descriptive”. I don’t mean in a gory way – a zombie book without gore should not be considered a zombie book. But to me, I found it a little unnecessary to describe so MUCH when a character moves from point A to point B. I don’t need two whole paragraphs to know that John and Moto got on a jeep and ran over a zombie. And I also found that, at times, some characters didn’t react accordingly to the given circumstances (a little girl watching a man crack open the skull of a zombie should be traumatized beyond repair… not giggling two hours later). Also, some scenes and decisions didn’t quite make sense to me… they seemed unnatural, as if forced.
Did that ruin the book for me? No! Of course not! The zombies could have sprouted wings and breathed fire, for all I care. The book was great. Entertaining, gory and emotional. Harvey knew how to give the characters depth, especially John, which is what made me stay from beginning to end. John, Moto and all the survivors had something special to them, something unique. The losses were painful, and the story was thrilling. That’s all I ask of a zombie novel: a good story, great characters, unexpected losses, mind-blowing twists, action-packed scenes, gore and, of course, zombies.
Move over, Walking Dead, “And the Blood Ran Black” might be stepping on your heels pretty soon.
Five stars out of five! Great job, Mr. Harvey! You certainly made a fan out of me!