Plague Town by Dana Fredsti
Review by Jo Fitzpatrick
Ashley was just trying to get through a tough day when the world turned upside down. A terrifying virus appears, quickly becoming a pandemic that leaves its victims, not dead, but far worse. Attacked by zombies, Ashley discovers that she is a ‘Wild-Card’ – immune to the virus – and she is recruited to fight back and try to control the outbreak.
I must admit I didn’t hold out a huge amount of hope for this book – another product of the zombie crazed culture that has swept across us in recent time. But I was pleasantly surprised, with Plague Town offering a new, fresher take on the zombie phenomenon and, when coupled with a relaxed but engaging style of writing, Dana Fredsti is definitely onto a winning combination.
In the beginning it was a little difficult for me to suspend my disbelief – Atlantis was sunk because of a zombie outbreak, really? – but once you come to terms with the idea that it isn’t a gritty, realistic zombie novel and instead more of a cheerful romp through a zombie outbreak, all of the ridiculousness sudden becomes not only acceptable but welcomed. The main character herself, university student Ashley Parker, is likeable in an annoying way, there is a lot of inner monologue stuffed to the brim with constant references to popular culture, throwing in quotes from The Evil Dead (a nod to Fredsti’s own work on said film) and making sarcastic comments about everything. For some readers this technique borders more on the annoying than the entertaining, but I actually liked it – Fredsti manages to have Ashley communicating in a believable way, the way any 20-something university student would, though I admit you may have to be of that mindset yourself in order for it not to grate.
From the cover art of the book you’d be forgiven thinking that Ashley is more of a Mary Sue character than strong female protagonist, but Fredsti manages to collate all of the necessary aspects without falling foul of stereotypes or overused clichés. What sets the book apart from all the others is that this story is less about the zombies and more about the characters themselves, the dynamics of the “Wild Card” crew and how they come to terms with who (and what) they are, whilst still managing to avoid falling into the usual tropes that are associated with the zombie genre.
If you want something particularly new and fresh then you may wish to give this book a miss, but if you’re looking for an entertaining zombie adventure with a different kind of protagonist, then Plague Town is exactly the book you’re looking for. As an added bonus, Fredsti is currently hard at work on the second book of the series, and if it is anything like the first then I will definitely be pre-ordering my copy.
Kayla from USA
Excellent work, the best I've read lately.
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