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Friday, October 14, 2016

#Book #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for Monster Island by David Wellington @Running_Press

TITLE: Monster Island
SERIES: Monster Island, Book #1
AUTHOR: David Wellington
PUBLISHER: Running Press
PUBLICATION DATE: March 24, 2006
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 282 pages
GENRE: Horror
ISBN: 9781560258506

It's one month after a global disaster. The most "developed" nations of the world have fallen to the shambling zombie masses. Only a few pockets of humanity survive — in places rife with high-powered weaponry, such as Somalia. In New York City, the dead walk the streets, driven by an insatiable hunger for all things living. One amongst them is different; though he shares their appetites he has retained his human intelligence. Alone among the mindless zombies, Gary Fleck is an eyewitness to the end of the world — and perhaps the evil genius behind it all. From the other side of the planet, a small but heavily-armed group of schoolgirls-turned-soldiers has come in search of desperately needed medicine. Dekalb, a former United Nations weapons inspector, leads them as their local guide. Ayaan, a crack shot at the age of sixteen, will stop at nothing to complete her mission. They think they are prepared for anything. On Monster Island they will find that there is something worse even than being undead, as Gary learns the true price of survival.

I really wanted to love this book. The premise was great, but the story fell short for me.

An epidemic has ravaged Earth, and most of the population has become “undead.” Once a living being is bitten by an undead person or animal, they will die and return as undead. The only thing that can kill them is to damage the brain.

Dekalb is a UN worker living in Africa, who agrees to go on a mission to New York to find anti-viral drugs for Mama Halima, a woman stricken with AIDS who is like a saint taking care of all the orphan girls of Africa. After searching various different hospitals and clinics around the world and coming up empty-handed, he feels that there might be one place left that hasn’t already been looted: The UN Headquarters Building in New York, which has a stockpile of drugs for every medical condition. He leaves behind his six-year-old daughter, Sarah, with Mama Halima and heads off to America in a boat with a group of Somalian teenage girls armed with weapons. Once they land in America, they encounter an undead who is unlike any other. This one can communicate intelligently, just like a living human, although he is undead. Gary Fleck was a medical student and, when he realized that the world was dying around him, he chose to allow himself to become undead instead of fighting to survive. He thought that if he could keep his brain alive during the transition that he could keep it intact. He hooked himself up to machines to keep his body going while it reanimated, and his plan worked. Gary claims that he can control his hunger, but it becomes increasingly more difficult to do that.

The book started off so good, but it went downhill quickly. It was a real struggle to get through the first 200 pages, which is two-thirds of the book. I very nearly marked this book as DNF, but I hate not finishing a book and I kept pushing through it because I really wanted to see if it was going to improve! The entire middle section with Gary’s benefactor, who is a mummified corpse, was the part that really lagged for me. The last third of the book picked up, with the hordes of undead attacking a group of survivors. I liked the ingenuity of the traps that the survivors set for the undead and how they planned their defense.

So, what is the verdict? As I was struggling to get through the first two-thirds of the book, I almost didn’t care to finish it and certainly didn’t intend to continue on with the series. However, the last third of this book and how it ended makes me want to read more! I did enjoy the last third of the book, so I think it warrants a bump from 2 stars to 3 stars. This is more like a 2.5 star read for me, so I will round it up. 
Here's hoping that the next book in the series, Monster Nation, is even better!


3 stars! I did enjoy the last third of the book, so I am bumping this up from 2 stars.


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