Zombie Island (Lori Handelan)

rating_3
13004927

Fresh from a triumphant battle over the zombie horde that invaded London, vampire William Shakespeare concocts a plot to rid the love of his life from the encumbrance of her husband. Will plans to give his ”dark lady,” Katherine Dymond, a potion that will make her sleep the sleep of the dead. Once she is entombed, Will can sneak in, wait for her to awaken, then spirit her away. After her husband returns to his plantation in America, Kate can return to London under a different name and assume a new identity. No one will believe that the dead Katherine and the live Kate are the same woman. Of course, as is often the case with true love, all does not go as smoothly as planned. When the two of them are shipwrecked on an island ruled by a wizard and a nymph, as well as infested by zombies, Will and Kate must stop an even larger plot afoot—one that leads all the way to the royal palaces of Queen Elizabeth.

A monster mashup in the tradition of the now-classic Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the world of the Shakespeare Undead series has the immortal bard being, well, an immortal vampire passionately in love with the “Dark Lady” of his sonnets, the zombie hunter Katherine. The first book in this series apparently had Will and Kate meeting, defending Queen Elizabeth from a London overrun by zombies, and extracting Kate from her unwanted spouse. This second book opens with Kate faking her death à la Romeo and Juliet, only instead of waking up in a crypt with her beloved Will at her side, she finds herself washing up on a tropical island. Prospero’s tropical island. Swarming with his zombie army.

This book was fluffy fun, but it was fun. I did roll my eyes at the rawr sexay vampire times and, perhaps, snorted indelicately at Will’s moments of being moved by his muse to voice what will eventually become lines of future works of his (Casablanca, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), but I genuinely enjoyed how Handeland basically upended a box full of bits of pop culture and rearranged the scattered results at her whim. While it’s true the book has all the literary merit of a bag of potato chips, I really want to continue reading this series. Three stars. Perfect for summer beach reading as you daydream about zombies attacking you while you’re there. Perfect for English Majors who need a bit of a break.

An ARC of this book was provided to me by the publisher through the Goodreads Giveaway Program. I have not read the first book in this series.

Originally posted at:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/272785638

Posted March 2012, moved October 2013
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the barren shore
the distant storm—
also a zombie army

Also posted at:
http://www.librarything.com/work/12013949/reviews/84113680

Posted March 2012, moved October 2013
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The Left Hand of God (Paul Hoffman)

rating_3
7818890

Sixteen-year-old Thomas Cale has grown up imprisoned at the Sanctuary of the Redeemers, a fortress run by a secretive sect of warrior monks in a distant, dystopian past. He is one of thousands of boys who train all day in hand-to-hand combat, in preparation for a holy war that only the High Priests know is now imminent. He has no reason to think he’s special, no idea there’s another world outside the compound’s walls, and no hope for a life any different from the one he already knows.

And then, Cale opens a door.

What follows is a daring escape, an unlikely alliance, a desperate pursuit, a journey of incredible discovery, and an adventure the likes of which Cale could never possibly have imagined, culminating in Cale’s astonishing realization that he alone has the power to save his world… or to destroy it.

I snagged an ARC of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway Program. I was notified of winning the day the giveaway ended, and my copy arrived in the mail a mere four days latter. Penguin Group shipping FTW!

I tend to be leery of books with heavy religious content (and with its brewing war between holy fractions, Left Hand of God assuredly qualifies as one), but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this. It has a very YA feel with dark underpinnings. I’ve heard it described as a ‘dark Harry Potter’ and I’d agree with that description, although I feel Left Hand is more simplistic in structure and I’m not sure if it has as good a grounded start from which to expand. I’d be interested in seeing how the rest of the books in this projected trilogy develop; though I can’t say I’m in a burning rush to go out and get them.

I felt a little removed from the story the whole time I was reading it. Everything felt passive to me, for all the adventures the characters were getting into. It was rather like the difference between sitting down and being told a tale and being off on an adventure of your own, you know? Or like idly wondering how the characters will get out of some conflict versus feverishly worrying how the hell the characters were possibly going to get through the conflict alive. But while the plotline didn’t thrill me and I didn’t particularly care for the world Hoffman has built, the characters that peopled this world were pretty fascinating. Yay, sociopathic protragonists! Or at least, yay, the male ones! Frankly Hoffman’s female characters could have done with quite a bit of fleshing out. Eh. Maybe that will happen in the next book.

Despite the rather lackluster praise I’ve written above, I did like this book. I just didn’t love it. I have no intention of rereading it, and I’ve happily given away my ARC. I’d give this three, maybe three and half, stars.

Originally posted at:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/106429331

Posted June 2010, moved October 2013
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holy war depends
on children
yet again

Also posted at:
http://www.librarything.com/work/8923258/reviews/61368252

Posted June 2010, moved October 2013
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