Plague Town is a decent read about the pending zombie apocalypse
When Titan Books contacted me and asked me if I would like a review copy of Plague Nation by Dana Fredsti, I honestly had not heard of the book or the series that it was a part of. So Titan sent me both Plague Town and Plague Nation and I got to reading. I mean, it’s a series about zombies, so I thought I would be in for a treat.
The first thing I noticed upon beginning Plague Town is that it’s not a deep novel. Having just read a very serious fantasy, this felt much more like a light read – the sort of thing you take to the beach and finish off quickly. And honestly, it was refreshing to switch up my reading pace a bit. The book is written in first person from the perspective of the main character, Ashley Parker. It seems Ashley has landed herself in the midst of a plague that creates… you guessed it… zombies.
The story goes on to let us know that Ashley is no normal human being and as the zombie apocalypse begins to grow, Ashley becomes part of an elite team dedicated to kicking major zombie butt. Obviously, there is a little more to it than that, but you’ll see no spoilers from me.
When I began to read Plague Town, I was initially bothered by the character of Ashley. She’s supposedly older than the other college students where she attends school, but at times, her perspective sounds like that of a teenager. She’s also very Mary Sue in that she has a hot younger boyfriend, she has recovered from a nasty bout of the flu to wind up with super powers, and she is more or less depicted as able to do just about anything. As a character, Ashley doesn’t seem to have many faults or weaknesses. This makes her a little difficult to care about. About halfway into the novel, though, we do get a little more character development, but it still didn’t feel like enough.
Ashley’s zombie-slaying partner, Lil, though, is a much more well-rounded character. In fact, there’s a scene where Lil is missing her cats and she and Ashley actually go into a zombie-infested area in order to save them. I can get behind that. Then there’s Gabriel, who has a nice little twist of a storyline. But the fact that Ashley is unaffected by his tricky situation really bothers me. In fact, by the end of the book, it’s almost as if the author had forgotten all about that.
Something that I liked about Plague Town, though, is that this is the first time that zombie films and books are referenced as part of zombie slaying training. In most stories, those particular universes don’t usually acknowledge that humans have ever heard of zombies, much less seen them on TV or read about them in books. Plague Town actually recognizes the existence of zombie entertainment and several books and films are mentioned as the would-be zombie slayers begin to train to kill the undead.
I also liked that this is not the first time that zombies have existed on earth. I like the idea behind things that have happened in the past but have been kept contained and kept away from civilians’ eyes. Government cover-ups generally provide good fiction and Plague Town is no exception.
Plague Town is still a pretty decent read and I would recommend it for anyone looking for lighter fare (and anyone who appreciates a lot of pop culture references). But don’t be fooled – because there is also plenty of zombie gore and blood and guts to keep fans of horror interested, too. In fact, my favorite scenes in the book are the action ones where Ashley and her pals are slipping around in zombie goo with swords, rifles and flamethrowers.
I will be following up this review with the sequel, Plague Nation. Because zombies can never be put down.