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The Problem with Zombies

           Don’t be fooled by the title of today’s post, I love zombies, and this blog isn’t to be taken as law or the standard. It’s my biased view of the zombie genre as a whole. There are people tired of the genre and there isn’t and there are people in the middle. I’m in the middle as right now; my interest has greatly veered towards fantasy. But don’t let that dissuade you, I am still fully committed to the zombie genre. But there are things I’ve noticed, that either makes or breaks a good zombie story, movie, game you name it. Now I’m not speaking absolute here, but I’ve noticed that in a zombie product be it the walking dead or resident evil, there seem to be two directions of thought with the monsters. One such direction, a more traditional if I may be so bold, just focuses on the zombie while another direction includes more than just zombies, but other monsters that aren’t a zombie but are somehow connected to them. Another commonality with zombies is that there almost always a virus or disease. Now I know that there are many other things about the genre that some people don’t like but I want to focus on these two.

           For me, I can get bored and tired if the only threat in a series is zombies (crawlers, walkers and/or runners). But if I’m reading, watching or playing a self-contained story or small series, the classic zombie(s) retain my interest. Not saying that I dislike this, but it’s hard for me to stay invested if these single threats are spread out into a series. I know you have other survivors who can also be enemies as well, but then that just leaves enemy survivors and zombies. Now some folks try to add a little flair by adding a different variety of zombies. Nowadays we got zombies that can explode, zombies that can spit on you, crawl walls, tank bullets and pulverize the protagonist, so on and so on. And this is a fun take on the zombie genre. I love seeing different types of zombies other than just your classics: crawler, walker, and runner. Don’t get the wrong end of the stick here, I’m not saying anything is wrong with having a series with just regular zombies. It has been done, and some great series are out there. It all comes down to storytelling and delivery of the plot and characters. What I’m saying here is that I tend to enjoy a classic zombie-style story if it’s not spread out too thin.

           Another take on the genre, and one I particularly like and don’t see often in books, is what we experience in resident evil. Books, games, comics, you name it. But the series does a great job of offering a wide variety of different threats from your traditional zombie types to a wide variety of zombie types. But we also get monsters that aren’t strictly defined by folklore monsters. So we come across a wide variety of zombies as the largest threat in numbers, the greatest threat in power and abilities are these other monsters that aren’t zombies. I think it’s a great way to keep the interest of the audience invested, as this extra element seems to do just well in a series. Not only that but these special monsters that aren’t zombies tend to be related to zombies, as the bases for their beings are built on the same virus/disease that makes the zombies. It’s an interesting device to examine.

           Of course, this doesn’t make or break a zombie story/series. But it’s just something I observed for myself, and that I noticed I brought with me into my WEEKS series. I love having countless hordes of the undead, but at the same time other special monsters that pose an equal threat, if not more than, with the hordes. But still, this is just one element of a genre out of many and like a broken record I’ll say it again. It all comes down to storytelling and delivery. But in a genre defined by its mascot monster, I thought it to be worth bringing up.

           I am sure that there are other examples of literature that include the classic zombie threat and others that include the variety of zombies, and others to include all the above along with special monsters who are not zombies. It’s a unique genre filled with many books that I have not yet read. But anyway this is just my opinion and wanted to share that. I like my classic zombies to be in self-contained stories or a small series, but the more variety of zombies and monsters I enjoy in larger doses of sequels.

11 January, 2020

The Remaining Books by DJ Molles

My spoiler-free opinion

           The Remaining Series was my first introduction into the zombie book genre; granted there are many other genres this series falls under, but zombies being one of the most prominent per my experience. I have to say it was quite the ride. I didn’t know what to expect, other than what my grandmother told me and what the back summary of the book gave me. But once I picked up the first book I didn’t put it down. I had to read more, and so I bought the second book; vice verses up until I had finished the last installment of the series. There were many things I loved with very few things I could find to criticize, to the point that finding anything worth criticizing would be border lined nitpicking.

           So what did I love? Well, everything just about. The settings, the pacing, the characters, the attention to detail. I did like how the author retained my interest by keeping things a mystery. I had questions that needed answering and when I had answers I found myself asking more questions. The pages just kept on turning afterward.

One of the biggest takeaways I got from the series was the in-depth detailed insight on military/police careered characters. What I mean to say is the training, mindset and second nature people who train in the armed forces and police forces would have that most civilians do not have. There is insight there, from the author that I appreciated and learned from. Not to say that civilian characters were helpless in any way, because most were not. I’m just saying I learned a lot from Mr. Molles who knows about such details. My hats off to you good sir, in that you’ve taught me a good deal about such details, making me a better reader and writer.

           So what did I not like? As I said, there wasn’t much to criticize from my experience. I devoured all six books in a matter of a few months, and for me, that’s fast reading. Don’t hate, I’m slow at it (inserts foot in mouth). I have people who would testify that I devoured these books as such. But seriously, it would be borderline nitpicking for me to find anything. The only thing I can think of is an instance where I would’ve like to have seen certain dialogue been condensed. But like I said, nitpicking and I’m not giving it. The Remaining series has a top-shelf seating on my book shelve, all lined up neatly in order. I love these books.

           The Remaining is a great series and done exceptionally well. I am so glad that my first introduction into the zombie genre (among others) was this series. This is all just my opinion of course. With very little to criticize, I was thoroughly invested in reading the whole series through. So much that DJ Molles has the title of one of my favorite authors, with a consistent line of books being released I’m always impressed with what he writes. I give the Remaining Series 5/5 stars.

Ps. I thought about writing a review per each book, and maybe I will in the future, but with other books I desire to post reviews on I decided on this. But if there is a demand for it, well we don’t know the future for certain, do we?

18 January, 2020

Resident Evil Volume VI, Code: Veronica by S.D. Perry

Based on the bestselling videogame from Capcom

My Spoiler-Free Opinion

           We have her a book based on, one of my personal favorite, Resident Evil games Code Veronica written by S.D. Perry. Now right out the gate I’m gonna tell you I really enjoyed this book. It’s near impossible not to compare it to its video game counterpart but come on, how can you not. That would be like describing World War II while neglecting World War I at the same time. Okay, not the best example but you get what I mean? S.D. Perry did well in following the video game’s story-line like I said Code Veronica is one of my favorites of the games. So when I saw the book, I had to pick it up. I didn’t even know there were books till I found the novelized version of Code Veronica. But unfortunately, that also means subtle differences at the same time, I’ll explain more on that soon enough.

           So what I did like? Number one, Claire Redfield. She is by far my favorite female protagonist of the whole video game series. I love Claire’s character and her sibling relationship with her big brother Chris, and if you’ve been following me, you’ll know I’m big on sibling themes. What can I say, they get me? But I found Claire’s character to be well written and accurately portrayed by the author which I was grateful for.

           Number two, the book followed the story continuity, largely, with what we can experience in the game. This was a big worry for me and I felt like it was decently done, well enough that I could continue turning the page. Though it wasn’t like I needed to find out what happened next; the narrative was true enough to the story-line of the game that I was already prepared. But when your working security, from 2400-0800, and with no access to the internet or video games, by golly the book was a godsend. Despite having a gift of foresight with the book, thanks to my gaming experiences, there were things different than what we find in the game. Some of them were cool, others were jarring, and sometimes both.

           There were several other things I liked about the book, but in comparison to my top two, I didn’t feel as though they needed a paragraph to elaborate on. Plus I can go on all day talking about Resident Evil in general. It’s like if my family had a video game series that comprised us all in a nutshell well Resident Evil does the trick; and Crash Bandicoot, but come on! Who doesn’t love that little guy?

           So what did I not like? Well, there were a couple of things that didn’t work for me but were not total deal-breakers. Anyone who’s played Code Veronica knows it is a grind of a fulfilling experience. I believe it’s around 10+ hours for the main game, for a casual gamer that is (I know some people can beat the game in under three hours, but guess what? I’m not one of them). So I expected this book to have that long of a story-line balanced with how many pages the book had. I ended up feeling that the halfway mark in the story-line of the game was instead the climax of the book. So the final act of the novel itself felt a little rushed. Maybe that was intentional because, in both the book and game, there is no time to waste.

           I also felt like details in the game were left out, I will not describe which ones, for sake of spoilers. But there were some things from the game left out, and I can understand why to an extent. Because not every reader has the experience of the game and maybe the author didn’t want to make the book too long, which in this case is understandable. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t a deal breaker for me as I still found enjoyment in continuing with my read.

S.D. Perry essentially had two sets of people to write this book too, those like me who can nitpick on all the differences between the book and game. Then, there are those people who don’t nitpick and to be honest, I think she did a fair job on finding that middle ground. Like say, I’m not hating on this book because I enjoyed it and would recommend it to all Resident Evil gamers out there to at least try. Also, there’s like a plethora of other books following the other games, so I can’t wait to pick them up in the near feature.

All in all, Resident Evil Volume VI, Code: Veronica by S.E. Perry gets 4/5 stars for me and it has a nice little spot on my top shelf, awaiting the arrival of the other volumes of the Resident Evil books.

8 February, 2020

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