23 March 2015

Review: Outbreak by Warren Fielding


Outbreak (Great Bitten #1) by Warren Fielding


Published: 27 June 2014 by Permuted Press
Pages: 306 (paperback)
Genre/s: Horror, Zombie
Source: Own
Find It: Goodreads ~ Amazon


Synopsis

The UK is infected and Warren is going to be a hero, whether he likes it or not. Life used to be simple; a journalist addicted to his work, Warren's world has been a simple process of annoying friends, shunning family, and doing only what Warren wants. 

As a virulent plague of unknown origin spreads rapidly across the UK, all of that is about to change. The only person Warren doesn't question is himself as his natural curiosity and world-weary cynicism come to the fore in his clumsy attempts at survival. 

With the UK in chaos and the government in hiding, will Warren even be able to survive long enough to start finding the answers to the questions eating away inside him? And when he finally realises that there are people in this blighted world that he actually loves, will he be able to do what needs to be done to keep them safe before it is too late?

My Thoughts

It’s been far too long since I read a zombie novel, and when I saw an article (which I forgot to bookmark as a reference, naturally) about some recently released zombie books, Great Bitten caught my immediate attention for a couple of reasons:

1. It’s set the in UK – and as an Aussie with a British hubby, the sense of humour, slang and geography are pretty familiar to me.
2. The synopsis openly states that the main character isn’t likeable – and I love a good flawed character.

Journalist Warren isn’t a complete arsehole, but he certainly isn’t afraid to say exactly what he’s thinking, forms quick opinions on other people and when things to go to shit, he’s quick to put the needs of those closest to him first – and occasionally himself. If we are all completely honest with ourselves, and as much as we wouldn’t necessarily like to think it, this is how almost everyone would act during a zombie apocalypse.

Fielding explores some interesting ideas in Outbreak – having fast and slow zombies isn’t new, but it’s his presentation and explanation of the differences that makes Outbreak stand out. The zombies are of course scary, and the blood flows freely, but there’s also a fair amount of time spent on building tension, relationships and character building.

My only issue with Outbreak was a part of the storyline that felt a little too accelerated in terms of how quickly human society degenerated into trading favours for women. I’m not unrealistic enough to think that something like that COULDN’T happen, but it just felt like it happened too fast and was too coordinated. In saying that however, only part of the story is told, so perhaps my assumptions are incorrect.

The story moves along quite quickly, and although it doesn’t cover a large timespan, there’s enough variety to keep it interesting and it definitely sucked me in quickly and kept me glued to the pages. I’ll definitely be looking out for the sequel to this one.

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