What is it with zombies? Are any of you on the zombie train? Which is creepier, zombies or vampires? I guess it should be obvious by now that there are zombies in this book, which I finished, by the way, only they are called “shiggreth.”
Is this book series self-published? I think maybe it is because the digital versions are cheap and the paper versions are pricey. If so, I am impressed with Manning’s ability to weave an engaging story (if not, he needs a better editor). This book is not as good as the first one. Parts of it reminded me of certain sections of the Harry Potter books (S.P.E.W. of course, and Harry’s overblown “teen angst” come immediately to mind). See, the lead character is young, still in his teens, and I guess the author is trying to convey his youth, but really it just makes the character unlikable. He makes mistakes based on arrogance and ends up getting people killed (important people who are close to him) but it’s hard to feel sad because it just seems so contrived – I hate it when authors try to ramp up the drama by having their characters make sloppy and unbelievable choices (now the Prim tragedy in the Hunger Games series is spinning around in my head and making me grumpy). I really hope Manning can turn this around, because his main story arch is excellent. Right now I still care how the whole thing turns out, even though I am finding it very hard to be sympathetic to the main character.
In case I haven’t scared you away with spoilers already, here is a formal spoiler warning, because there are a few specific things I just have to mention. Scroll to the bottom of the post if you don’t want to have major parts of the story spoiled for you:
OK. Spoiler One: Mordecai’s adopted father is killed in this book. I was really upset with Manning for this scene because the dad didn’t have to die of Mordecai had kept his shield around him. And it is clear that the Mordecai we have come to know by this point in the series WOULD have kept his shield around him because it would have cost him virtually nothing in terms of energy and focus to do so, and he was actively trying to rescue another fallen comrade in this scene. Then at the end of the book, Manning mentions the death of his own father and the emotions he was feeling when he wrote this part of the story, so I felt bad about complaining. I wish he had made the death a little more believable, but more than that I wish him peace – I’m really sorry he lost his dad.
Spoiler Two: the zombies, er, shiggreth, are really bad. They are kind of like dementors in that they suck the life out of people and, in doing so, create new shiggreth out of the people they kill (maybe this is typical of all zombies – any zombie experts in the house?). The people in Mordecai’s town have already done battle with them once, and they barely escaped with their lives, so it seemed very suspicious when they did not take steps to prevent more shiggreth from being made following the huge battle scene. They just turned their backs on the massive casualties and called it a day. In other words, huge plot points of this story are very predictable. Am I just being fussy, or is this true of most books?
The most interesting parts of the story, to me, are the ones relating to religion – there are good gods and bad gods, and I’m fairly certain the series (which I have heard is a planned FIVE books, so this is definitely not a trilogy) is going to culminate with a huge battle of deities. The people are devotees of various different gods – I am particularly curious about the ones following the really bad god – how many are compelled and how many are willing? Wizards are required to be magically linked to another person so they will not be able to allow any of the gods to enter their bodies and use them as a vessel to fully enter the human realm – this is definitely the part the keeps me turning pages. Nice job, Manning.
Speaking of zombies, have any of you heard of the Zombie 5K? Has anyone tried it? If I ran, I would – maybe – think this might be fun.