Monday, July 30, 2012
AUTHOR: Rhiannon Frater
MY RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
PUBLISHED: June 11, 2012
WORD COUNT: 119685 (approximate)
GENRE: Horror, Thriller
RATING: PG-13 (Not official, but my opinion)
PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Smashwords
The Bastion was humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge.
A fortified city with a high wall, surrounded by lush land rich with all the resources needed to survive, protected by high mountain summits, and a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, the Bastion became the last stronghold of the living on earth. But one fateful day, the gate failed and the Inferi Scourge destroyed the human settlements outside the walls and trapped the survivors inside the city. Now decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city as resources and hope dwindle.
Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her whole life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of her lover, Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness. Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.
I'm all about zombies! The Walking Dead, Resident Evil, Night of the Living Dead? - Love them! I decide one evening that I'm going to find a zombie book to read. I do a search and I find a ton of them! So, I did what every good reader does; I chose the one with the coolest looking cover! What? Don't judge me! We all do it!
At any rate, I was a bit hesitant when I grabbed it as I had never heard of the author. But I have to say that this has become one of my favorite books! The author took the time to really develop her backstory and put a lot of effort into creating characters that the reader can relate to in a situation that is completely unrelatable (bath salts incidents notwithstanding).
The main female character, Maria, is a woman who is believably strong. Even as events unfold throughout the book, you never once catch yourself groaning over her behavior. She's bad ass, strong, smart, determined and honorable. However, she doesn't have that tortured, emotionally damaged, I don't need anyone persona surrounding her, either. In a world where humans are literally caged animals held in by zombies, you can see how and why Maria is the way that she is.
The main male character, Dwayne, is truly amazing as well. He's a well decorated military vetern who is placed into a administrative position after he's injured during a key campaign. You can tell that he still years, like any combat vertern, to be back in the action, but he understands his limitations. His relationship with his family and with Maria are true-to-life and not the typical "mind blowing sex/life is great through these rose colored glasses" drama that everyone is so used to reading.
I found that I actually quite liked the explanation behind the origination of the zombies. I will be honest and say that yes, I do think zombies are a possibility. But not in the sense that everyone thinks. And this book actually captures my take on it very well!
The plot develops at an acceptable pace and it doesn't have you in the middle of the book thinking to yourself, "Lord, is it ever going to end?!" She writes in an easy to read, easy to understand way that results in a book allows you to enjoy yourself rather than sitting there trying to figure out what exactly she meant.
The action scenes are very well done, especially the first scene of the book where we meet Maria and Dwayne. You can visualize it unfolding in front of you and you realize at the same moment that the characters do that this is not going to end well. She writes the battle thoughts and feelings in a way that you find yourself saying, "Yeah... yeah, I could see that!"
Now, as with every book, there are always downsides. This one has a few as well. And the one big one for me is still a tad difficult for me to get past.
First of all, every sci-fi book has it's 'Suit'. You know? - the guy/woman who wears a suit, works for the corporation that is the root of all evil, yaddda, yadda, yadda? Well, yeah... this book has one of those, too. And it's not so much that this book has a 'Suit' that has me bothered. It's the way that the 'Suit' acts. He rather reminds me of Albert Wesker from the Resident Evil movies. But at the same time, it almost seems as if this particular 'Suit' is vindicative almost to an extreme. And there never seemed to be an explanation as to why he was like that.
My second issue was the idea of a 'Mecca Last Place On Earth For Humans' seems a little fantastical in my opinion. I feel that the human populace wouldn't sequester themselves in a place such as they have in this book. I think it would be more plausible that instead of inserting themselves with their backs against a mountain and a valley that could be easily overrun, that they would have fortified a large (at the time pretty much unsettled) island.
I also have to say that the origin of the virus more than had me rolling my eyes and letting out a heartfelt groan. This was a cop-out I think. I think she had to explain where it came from and this was the best she could do. I can't go into any additional details without giving key points... you'll have to read the book to understand!
Despite the issues I had, and I have never read a book where there wasn't at least one thing that I was groaning over, this was probably one of my most enjoyable reads. I read it in three days and I will definitely be reading it again. I definitely recommend this book for any other zombie lovers!