Book Nerd Review by Sarahjane
For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.
When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.
Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?
So, it’s no secret that I am a huge Jamie McGuire fan. I ‘ve read and reread the Providence trilogy; the books that were self published, and loved them. I’ve read both Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster and lent and recommended them to my social circle. So suffice to say when I heard about a new stand alone Jamie McGuire novel about zombies no less, I was excited.
The novel is told through 3 separate perspectives, Scarlet, Nathan and Miranda, all of whom are from different back grounds, and their adaptation and struggle to survive in a world of zombies. Through the course of the novel their lives entwine in a beautifully written, imaginative and well planned narrative. And their lives don’t only entwine through the physical location of Red Hill, which is why I personally consider this to be so unique. As the reader we can see touches of how each of the characters are already and how without even realising it, they’re helping each other. And in retrospect, as I’m writing, I can hear some of you going, that's fanciful and unbelievable, but when reading its not. Each character, each narrative plot works at it’s own pace, and the links and merging of the stories is subtle, and as the links emerge, it reassures you that in a world of fear, death and uncertainty, not all is completely lost. There is a chance to hope for the future of humanity.
The characters themselves are well rounded and each have their own hamartia. Scarlet is unable to let anyone in to help her, Nathan at times is very selfish and Miranda’s morals in regards to love are questionable, but these only help the book become more 3D, more realistic, more entirely believable. Scarlet’s back-story that develops makes the reader not only sympathise with her and her current situation, but wish for her future happiness. Nathan is trying his darnedest to ensure the survival of his daughter above all else, and Miranda is stuck in a love triangle with no escape, and when reading this, you can’t help but put yourself in the characters shoes and think about what you would do? And McGuire is honest in her portrayal, and I wouldn’t change a thing about the characters.
The pacing too is well suited. At times, especially once Red Hill is gradually being reached the pace slows, but again I had no problem with this as Red Hill is a Haven, and escape…but what makes this needed from the reader’s perspective is that McGuire fully commits to the action when it arrives. The horrors and flaws are presented. We can see how dangerous, scary and uncaring humans can be, and McGuire is by no means afraid to kill characters, characters that I loved and enjoyed reading about at the drop of a hat…leaving those moments of quiet solitude needed not only for the characters but me as well. I am not afraid to say, at times my jaw hit the floor and I had to reread pages to double check that what I had just read, had actually happened…
If you’re fan of Jamie McGuire, if you’re a fan of the Walking Dead… or even if you’re not (I myself am not a fan of the latter) this book are one to read, I cannot recommend this enough.