Review by Jodie Haggerty
Dead Days Season 1 is the first of 7 books and it is incredibly well written and easy to read, I think the author, Ryan Casey, has a great career ahead of him. However I found this particular story somewhat lacklustre and I don’t believe it offers anything new to the genre, I really didn’t warm to the characters and actually got to the point where I wanted the zombies to win.It was very fast paced and, without giving any spoilers away, a lot does happen, but it seemed like the author had lots of ideas about what could happen in an zombie apocalypse and crammed them all in to one book, I would have preferred a little less action allowing time for the characters and the plot to develop more.Whilst I am mildly curious about where this story could go next, I won’t be reading any more of this series, however I would try other books written by Ryan Casey.
Review by Lyndsey McDermott
I’ve always been a sucker for a book that starts with a quote so Dead Days started well. Lines such as “…like a choir of dead angels” and “…sonically brilliant and brimming with depth” were very evocative and speak to the quality of the prose overall and yet somehow, I didn’t enjoy it. The characterisation of Riley and other characters is confusing and in places totally contradictory. He loves his gran but is disrespectful to women, he places himself in danger to rescue Stan but then abandons him, he gently persuades Jordanna into leaving her flat but then callously abandons her. The author implies Riley has an anger problem but what does he do when he gets fired? He walks away when all the signposting leads you to expect him to jump across the desk and punch his boss. The author does it again later. When they find the tanker, why the heck didn’t Jordanna to start it up and mow the zombies down? That is where the author leads us to by getting them to the tanker and finding the keys but instead the boys abandon her. There must always be a payoff to readers expectations. An author can shock and surprise us but they certainly can’t lead you to a place and leave you with nothing, as happens here. Ted is a thoroughly dislikeable character whose characterisation is also off. Is he a coward or a hero as he switches between the two but at least he managed to irritate me meaning the writing made me feel something. The only other character I felt any connection with was the poor cow dying in a field. The zombies are sooooo slow in this book although they do somehow manage to magically “scatter” when an engine approaches, but they remain essentially slow and shuffling creatures. I can’t help feeling the genre has moved on from the staggering, shuffling zombies of yesteryear but if you like your horror movies in black and white, your mummies in bandages and think Boris Karloff is awesome, chances are you will enjoy the shuffling zombies. For me however it is rememniscent of early Doctor Who episodes where you could escape the Darleks by running up the stairs. Why did so many of the characters die from zombie bites when all they had to do was run faster than them? The author has a lovely way with words but I feel this isn’t his genre and there is definitely more work needed on writing characters that readers can connect to.
Review by Simon Philip
This is the first season of an ongoing series; at the time of writing, it is available on Amazon UK for free in Kindle format. Warning: Spoilers may be inferred from the following review! The book begins by introducing us to the main character as we catch glimpses of unusual events occurring in the background that escalate very quickly, putting you in his head and hinting at dark events in his past without giving away too many details immediately. The character building of the protagonist was effective, demonstrating a flawed individual making some questionable decisions yet desperate to retain his humanity in the face of the apocalypse. I felt the main character’s best friend was familiar before it struck me that I was strongly reminded of Nick Frost’s character in Shaun of the Dead; not necessarily a bad thing and it tried to be amusing but it did initially take me out of the story and made me want to watch the film instead. The other secondary characters in the ensemble got very little, if any back story and it seemed to me that the pacing was a little off; I felt the first part of the book was slightly muddled leaving me to feel as if events jumped from one to another in a confusing way, although this aspect did improve later in the narrative. The last third unfortunately devolved into a trope cliché that has been seen many, many times before and was sadly predictable in its unfolding with the standard Machiavellian Psychopath™. I have not read any other books by this author but there are certainly hints of promise in his writing; the parts I did enjoy were exciting and fun, unfortunately, for me, there just were not enough in this one. Overall, I thought the story was OK and it passed the time but, ultimately, there was nothing new and there are, in my opinion, better books out there in the same genre that I would recommend reading. 2/5