Tuesday, 15 July 2014

A 'Did Not Finish'... 'The Remaining: Aftermath' - D.J.Molles (Orbit)

So this is the second 'Did Not Finish' of July; this time in a genre where I would normally finish a book no matter how bad I found it. What's up with that? I've been slowly going off zombie fiction anyway but, now more than ever, life is just too short for books that aren't worth my time. I never thought I'd say this but there are more important things to do than read and this is why, despite a promising start with 'The Remaining', 'Aftermath' was eventually put down never to be picked up again.
Here's the blurb,


Nothing has gone according to plan.

To Captain Lee Harden, Project Hometown feels like a distant dream and the completion of his mission seems unattainable.

Wounded and weaponless, he has stumbled upon a group of survivors that seems willing to help. But a tragedy in the group causes a deep rift to come to light and forces him into action. In the chaos of the world outside, Lee is pursued by a new threat: someone who will stop at nothing to get what he has.

The thing about zombie fiction is that it inevitably follows the same lines, it has to really. The zombie apocalypse happens and people try and survive it, facing tough decisions along the way. The zombies themselves are almost incidental, it's all about characters made compelling through examination of what they are up against.  And it's this examination of Captain Lee Harden (and that surname is surely no accident...) that killed this book, probably the rest of the series as well, for me.

Harden's military training makes a lot of sense in terms of the overall plot but also has the unwelcome side affect of rendering him pretty much invincible in a world that needs a lot more vulnerability in its main characters if the story is going to work. He is just too good and this lessens the impact when supporting characters die (they clearly serve no other purpose than to be zombie fodder/propel Hardens arc forward).

I could forgive that though if Molle's wasn't so intent on giving all of Harden's actions a military grounding (explaining them all laboriously). We had all this in the last book dammit! It served a point then, it's boring now. I got to a point where I skipped to the end, to see who made it through (no surprises there), but had no interest in going back and reading the rest of the  book. That's that for me, let's see if I have better luck with the next book...

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