May 192009
 

It’s the new year, you’re a Navy pilot and you decide that keeping a journal would be a good idea.  Little did you know that in the ensuing weeks and months, the world as you knew it would be going to Hell.

That’s the premise behind Day by Day Armageddon by J. L. Bourne.  The book follows the first person narrative of our protagonist as he learns of a growing threat to humanity and keeps an almost daily journal of the rise of a huge zombie population and the fall of humanity.  This book has been out in one form or another since 2004 but I’ve just recently gotten my hands on a copy.

I should say before continuing on with this review that I’m a big fan of Zombies.  I love a good zombie movie but it’s rare that I find a decent book about the subject I can sit down and enjoy.  To be a decent book about zombies, it can’t just be a smattering of gore and horror – it’s got to be fun, interesting, though provoking and like the presence of the undead themselves, should hold a mirror up to our society.  A previous exception would be World War Z – quite an interesting book that.

Day by Day Armageddon does a decent job of hitting my personal high points and it’s an enjoyable and fairly quick read.  Bourne’s protagonist is likable and I found him taking actions that I approved of, rather than the horror norm of hear-a-noise-in-dark-basement-go-investigate-in-swimsuit.  This guy’s a survivor, who makes smart choices when he can and desperate choices when he needs to.  We meet a few other survivors as well, some we cheer for and some form antagonists to both the narrator and the undead.

The author draws from the ‘traditional’ modern zombie lore.  Slow moving undead with little intelligence bent only on finding and devouring living folk like you and me.  Bourne does throw in a few twists when it comes to the undead but you won’t find it a huge departure from the shambling horde.  This book is definitely a child of the Romeroverse.  I highly doubt that’s a real word but it should be.

Everything in this book is tight.  The journal entries come at realistic times with realistic reflections.  Bourne does a good job of constructing a believable narrative based on his zombie infested world.  With is real world military experience he imparts on his protagonist believable skills.  The supporting characters are also well written and don’t serve as just card board cut-out living people to serve next to our protagonist but add to the story itself.

There are a few sticking points – mainly the images included in the book and the large number of typos encountered by this reader.  The images are grainy at best and in my opinion serve to detract focus from the story.  I’d find myself constantly glancing at them when they appeared like hovering pop-ups much to my annoyance.

They typos were another niggling annoyance.  There are quite a lot of them which would jump off the page just when things were heating up.  These are however just annoyances and really didn’t detract too much from my overall experience of the book.  The story is tight and fast paced.  I found myself staying up a bit later than I normally would to finish the book, which took me perhaps four hours to read.

The ending isn’t really an ending, as this is supposed to be the first of several books.  You are left hanging.  I do hope that another novel is forthcoming as I’d be glad to find out what happens to our Navy man and his small band of survivors though I understand that Bourne is currently on active duty in the real world military so we may have to wait a bit for this to happen.

If you’re a fan of horror fiction, particularly that features zombies, the folks who fight to keep their lives and a good bit of detail about how they do this, then you’ll enjoy Day by Day Armageddon.  At $15 I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read.

[tags]literature, zombies[/tags]

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

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