Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Day by Day Armageddon" by J.L. Bourne

Title: "Day by Day Armageddon"
Author: J.L. Bourne
Pages: 199
Genre: Horror
Standalone/Series: Standalone with a sequel in the works
Publisher: Pocket Books/Permuted Press

Foreword: “Day by Day Armageddon” became an addition to my October reading schedule in a fast series of events. The generous people at Pocket Books organized yet another Blog Tour for their newest novels and I jumped at the opportunity to read horror in October. The official date for the Blog Tour is the ninth, but I will be preoccupied on Friday, so I am posting early. Incidentally this is also a suitable entry for Carl’s RIP IV Challenge.

What you can expect: As the title and the cover have hinted “Day by Day Armageddon” is a post apocalyptic survival horror with zombies, where the events are relayed on a day by day basis in the form of a journal.

Strengths: It has zombies. Suspense and intensity are top notch. The protagonist is a sort of MacGyver, which is always fun to read.

Weaknesses: The journal is filled with typos. Since it is a plot driven novel, the characters do not have the time to grow.

Summary: “Day by Day Armageddon” follows a nameless protagonist, part of the US military as he and his neighbor John flee San Antonio, now overrun by zombies, searching for shelter from the undead menace. Their daily to-do list includes scavenging for provisions, looting for fire arms and ammo, scouting for safety and naturally shooting the undead. Along the way they travel by air and water. As the story progresses the number of survivors increases as the protagonist rescues a family trapped in their house and a young woman.

Characters: As I have stated above “Day by Day Armageddon” is more plot driven than it is character driven. The author takes the reader on a race with time, where it’s important to be constantly on the move or risk being eaten. When the human mind’s sole emphasis falls on one word: survival, it’s more likely that any person won’t be left with the time to react to the sudden changes in his/hers life, but just learn the skills required to be fit in the environment.

Emotional growth here is not so much the accent. Instead J.L. Bourne shows the growth in applicable skills as in learning to shoot and deliver headshots, be alert, move around with as much stealth as possible and strategically plan ahead of time. In these regards it’s great the main protagonist has the military training in his background to provide the believability of the events portrayed in the novel. Although he is a US pilot, he is a likeable guy and reads as a statistically average male. Coupled with the close first person narrative in the journal and the fact he has no name it becomes easy to experience the action first hand as the protagonist, if the reader has enough imagination.

From the supporting characters John has longest page time. As an engineer his knowledge and experience come in handy several times and proves to be a valuable asset to the survivors. He is the protagonist’s right hand and also shows the initial psychological devastation that would come with a zombie apocalypse. The rescued family, William, Jan and little Laura, are rushed into the story at a later stage and didn’t resonate much. Last and most recent is Tara, who in the sequel might be the hero’s love interest.

The Story: I am bound by the reader’s etiquette to not spoil any pleasure for a potential reader and especially a genre fan, so I will be brief here. J.L. Bourne has put a lot of effort into this novel, which has apparently evolved from an online serialized novel. You can tell this by the wild ride his characters take, which leads them through different terrains such as land, water and even air. The attention to detail in connection to the various technological aspects, such as creating alarm devices out of spare parts, detailed accounts of how to fly plains and jump start cars as well as being consistent with the threat that is the zombies, certainly creates a solid alternative world.

Furthermore, “Day by Day Armageddon” is fashioned as a journal with hand written date and time, underlined passages, scribbles, smudges, added notes and letters and even pictures. Here come the typos. I guess that in the effort to be as realistic as possible I explain the existence of the easy to spot typos. After all, who has time to spell properly, when zombies are out there and time is of the essence. Nevertheless the typos were the proverbial stone in my shoe.

Thankfully it was a minor, personal issue, which the world building managed to overshadow. I enjoyed the inclusion of both slow and fast paced undead, which is explained quite neatly in the story and adds a while new dimension to the threat and the chances for survival. I am not as sure as to whether the survival routes the characters engineered were farfetched, but I guess that there is no end to human ingenuity.

The Verdict: Based on all the points raised here and my unconditional love towards zombies I declare this book as a definite WIN for zombie and horror fans in general. There were bits and pieces that rang a bit convenient to really happen, but on the other hand lucky brakes are to be expected every once in awhile. My suggestion would be to read this on Halloween.

Blog Tour Participants:

All About {n}:
Fantasy Freak:
Patricia’s Vampire Notes:
Libby’s Library News:
Must Read Faster:
A Journey of Books:
Jeanne’s Ramblings:
Cheryl’s Book Nook:
Found Not Lost:
My Life In Not So Many Words:
Falling Off the Shelf:
Frugal Plus:
Revenge of the Book Nerds:
Debbie’s World of Books:
Pick of the Literate:
Bookfoolery & Babble:
Bibliophiles R Us:
Beth’s Book Review:
Wendy’s Minding Spot:
Temple Library Reviews:
Dan's Journal:


Bookfool said...

I just skimmed this, since I'm still reading the book. It's fun, so far! Very cool that you're in on the tour. I'm not a typical horror/zombie reader -- this is more of a "shake up your reading" book for me. I've had a little trouble with the typos, too. I wonder if they're meant to make the diary entries appear realistic. I think I could do without that form of realism, if that's the case! Otherwise, I'm having loads of fun reading. :)

JMom said...

That was a well thought out and thorough review. I enjoyed reading it :)

JMom @ Found Not Lost

Harry Markov said...

@ Bookfool: I say the same thing. I know there is realism and realism, but spelling shouldn't be a thing to consider altering. Anyway I am happy that you are on the tour as well. It will be mega fun. :)

@ JMom: Thank you. :)

Scott Wagner said...

This book sucks its all the same. scavenge, rescue, scavenge, escape.(repeat for about 3 times) not very suspenseful ive read better i couldnt read this a second time without being pained by this book.

Harry Markov said...

It must not your cup of tea then. It was a good zombie novel, at least I have not read that many to know, really, but I am a sucker for this type of work.

Related Posts with Thumbnails