Book Title: Diaries Of The Damned | Author: Alex Laybourne | Publisher: Vamptasy Publications | Published On: February 19, 2014
Zombies, the great crowd-pleasers. Or is that crowd-eaters? Either way, zombies are more popular than Jesus right now, and the bookshelves are full of zombie stories. Luckily, Diaries of the Damned manages to give us a neat take on the genre.
The dead have risen and a desperate struggle for power has begun. The military are evacuating all survivors in passenger planes. With their destination unknown, one group of survivors, led by a journalist named Paul Larkin, decide to share their experiences with the hope that when combined, their stories will reveal some answers that the government had not been willing to give themselves.
Nine survivors have banded together, determined to tell their tale of survival. None of them realized that as they stood to tell their tales that they stood on the brink of discovering a conspiracy the likes of which the world has never seen.
A killer flu turns its victims into zombies. After making it through the zombie outbreak to safety, journalist Paul Larkin begins collecting the stories of the other survivors on the plane he finds himself aboard, destination unknown. But as each passenger’s stories come to light, revelations about the origins of the flu virus and the nature of the undead are shared, culminating in some shocking truths.
What’s so great about it?
Diaries of the Damned has a great premise behind it. Everybody loves zombies these days (well…except for all those damn vampires…) but in the glut of zombie
fiction lore out there, its hard to find zombies that stand out from the crowd. Diaries of the Damned manages to stand out from the herd by the nature of its (un)dead. The zombies stand out as a more cohesive and consistent creature here than in many other efforts.
The narrative is a collection of what is essentially the short story of one survivor after another, interwoven with a grounding element (the journalist on the plane, collecting the stories) and advancing the plot each time. It’s done really well here and the narrative flow is well handled. It keeps the pages turning, along with some inventive moments.
Diaries of the Damned is an enthusiastically told collection of tales and manages to keep things fresh, in terms of both the escalating conspiracy introduced artfully in the storyline, and the zombies themselves. Nobody is safe in this novel, and that’s a good thing.
What’s not great about it?
The dialogue is bad. There’s no sense of urgency to action scenes in the dialogue, and the characters love stating the obvious. The narrative tells what’s happening more than shows.
More depth to the characters would be nice to see – Paul seems to be the only one really fleshed out.
I think that this author is one to watch and can only improve with each work, but although this novel was inventive and different, those elements only carry a story so far.
Who would enjoy this book?
If you’re after a zombie tale that’s refreshingly different and doesn’t require your concentration, this is something you’re going to enjoy. Its fast paced, enjoyable if you don’t find the writing style incompatible with your reading style, and ultimately, worth reading for the well-laid plot.
If you love your zombies, give it a read.
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- Alex Laybourne on how he’d survive his own apocalypse