Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guest reviewer @Aprilelayne1 reviews Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

by Amanda Hocking

"This is the way the world ends - not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door."

Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way - not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies
(Goodreads summary)

Before starting this review, I wanted to make sure I understood what I got myself into.  Hollowland is a self-published book and was a freebie on Amazon, but the online reviews typically gave it 4/5 stars.   I am trying to broaden my reading likes and am taking some books on as challenges to find something bold and new.  So I will make this short and sweet, but I will try my best to share my experience fairly while I hear my grandmother’s motto pounding in my head of ‘if you can’t say anything nice…..’

Remy is the ‘bad-ass’ heroine out to find her brother in this zombie filled world, who ends up being the leader of a small group of fellow survivors in her quest.  The story starts with action from the get-go and keeps up the pace throughout, so I had to look the other way regarding the lack of character development.  The main character herself, I really didn’t learn much about other than she’s a determined young lady who knows how to shoot and fight zombies. 

If I were to summarize the book even more than the synopsis, it would read:

Zombieland meets Resident Evil…with a pet lion. 

I honestly struggled in finishing this book, I haven’t been tempted to stop mid-book in a very long time.  To avoid being harsh and possibly overly negative, I will summarize the review in technical terms:

Technical review

Characters:  The main character, Remy (who I can summarize as a young Alice from Resident Evil) as well as everyone else is very flat without any depth and development.  Other than their names and a title, we never learn more of any of them. ‘Blue,’ a fellow survivor who appears throughout the book is a complete blank slate.  “My name is Blue, I’m a doctor.”

Dialogue: While the characters are young adults, the dialogue and attitudes is a high school level.  This helps if I am to suggest this read to very young readers of middle school age.*

Grammatically: Several editing errors with sentence length and flow.  I went back to the beginning to review the POV as I got confused at one point or another with it. 

It was a quick read, but it felt that suddenly the length requirements were met and then the final chapter was swift and abrupt to ‘turn it in.’

**This is a young adult book that does have one sex scene within one paragraph.  I actually missed it as it literally was three sentences of physical intimacy.  If this scene and its one reference were excluded, this book with its technical reading level would be appropriate for 10-12 year olds.

I know that if my grandmother knew of this less than favorable review, she would shake her head at me for not just smiling and saying ‘well bless their heart, they tried.’

About the Reviewer

Aprilelayne, yes all one word, touts herself as a 'Jane of all trades.' An Army brat who ended up in Austin, Texas, she has two full-time jobs --motherhood and work-work (aka: the paying gig). She spends her time trying to master any one of her many hobbies, but really loves to read anything off the beaten path--especially the dark and twisty ones.  On any given day you'll likely find her in the kitchen with a toddler hanging onto a leg sneaking peeks at a book while stirring something on the stove. You can currently find Aprilelayne on GoodReads and Twitter @Aprilelayne1.

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