fulfilling my 2019 goal to read (at least) one book each month that has been digitally moldering, unread, on my NOOK for years and years and years.
BOOKTOBER IS STILL SO SPOOOOOKY!
i read these books all outta order, starting with Outpost (#1), then Juggernaut (#0.5), then Impact (#3), and finally, Terminus (#2). part of this was not my fault, as Juggernaut was published after Outpost, but the mixing up of #2 and #3 is 100% on me. however, my flawed mathskills did me no real harm, as the books don’t really build on each other; rather, they all take place more-or-less concurrently as people in different parts of the world (the arctic circle, iraq, las vegas, new york) experience the joys of living on a planet overtaken by an alien/zombie type o’ phenomenon that involves a sentient…entity wending its way into the human body and setting up shop, turning all your pals into freakish undead metal spiky things whose only purpose is to find fresh meat and turn it as well, nomming relentlessly all the way.
Terminus, despite taking place in new york (woot WOOT!), was probably my least favorite in the series, meaning either 1) i read these in the correct order (for me) after all, or 2) i’m over the premise, as cool as it is, and would have been by its fourth reboot regardless of my reading-order.
this one just seemed a bit flat. the sentences are wicked short, there’s only minimal character development, and despite some wonderfully grotesque body-horror sequences, the action was less gripping than the others (particularly Outpost and Juggernaut, which—if you’re going to read two books about quasi-zombies that are really alien possession/colonization novels, let it be those). of note: the scene in the partially-submerged bus is PHOAR, and the molotov cocktails are tremendous. however, as a wise man once said:
baker’s spin on the zombie novel is an excellent variation, and he knows many things about artillery and ordnance and such, which adds a layer of authoritative realism to his situations; his characters are capable and experienced in their fields, tending towards scientists, military personnel, firefighters, and in this one—prisoners, so there’s very little of the ‘bewildered characters running away from monsters and screaming.’ instead, his focus is on people who are used to facing danger, adapting their survival skills and know-how towards an unprecedented threat, getting some licks in—more than the average person would, certainly, but no less doomed for that. i mean—seriously, these are basically Terminator-zombies roaming a recently-nuked NYFC, while a handful of meaty-mortals try to survive in one of new york’s long-abandoned subway tunnels, suffering from radiation-sickness and trust issues, on a desperate last-chance rescue mission/race for the cure ain’t no one confident will succeed.
they are: three prisoners; one gone blind from radiation, one off his anti-psychotic meds, one (understandably) unwilling to cooperate after nearly being executed by the people she’s now meant to be assisting, a sadistic corrections officer who resents all prisoners, an FDNY rescue squad called “The Tunnel Rats,” a lieutenant with the Institute of Infections Diseases, and some assorted military folk, sent underground to retrieve the poster child for mad scientistry, whose last subterranean transmission indicated he’d found a cure. it would be an excellent reality show if there were any humans left alive to watch it.
even though i expected to love this one the MOST, for all of its NEW YORK IS ROONED details, it didn’t match the intensity or basic storytelling heights of either Outpost or Juggernaut, but there were enough high points for me to three-
star cat it, SO THAT’S WHAT I DID.