When I was putting together my pool of books for the RIP Challenge this year my Bookman handed me Brian Keene’s The Rising and suggested I might like it. He had read it not long ago and found it entertaining. And I thought a little zombie fiction could be fun.
I took the book to work and read most of it during my all too short lunch breaks. It began well, especially since the premise–the world’s largest super conductor ripped a hole in the fabric of the universe and allowed demons to possess the bodies of the dead once their souls had departed–corresponded with the Hadron Collider coming on line. The writing itself was not good, clunky sentences, cliches, some pretty bad dialog, but I thought as long as the story stayed good I could overlook the bad writing. It is a zombie book after all, can’t expect Nobel Prize quality.
Unfortunately about a third of the way through the story took a turn for the worse. By this point there were so many different characters doing so many different things in so many locations and the story jumping around between all of them that I had a hard time keeping track of it all. Eventually all the characters that are still alive end up together in the same location for a battle of the living against the dead.
The story picks up again when the battle starts but unfortunately, the ending ruins it all. There is no conclusion to the battle, we leave it in progress with the living humans not likely to be the victors. From the battle in progress we jump to Jim whose story is really the only main drive in the book. Jim lived in West Virginia and was holed up in a bomb shelter when his cell phone rings. He was so shocked and terrified that his phone rang he didn’t answer it. The call was his eleven year-old son Danny crying for help. Danny lived with his mother and step-father in New Jersey. Danny said he was hiding in the attic and please Daddy, come save me. Then the cell phone battery dies and there is no electricity to recharge it. So the entire book, in spite of too many characters and all the jumping around, is really about Jim trying to get to New Jersey to save his son before it is too late.
And when we come to the end, there is Jim running into the house where Danny lives, armed to the teeth. And that’s it. Cliff hanger of the worst kind. There is a sequel but I will not be reading it to find out what happens.
While the book was not that good, I still kept reading until the bitter end. I am not sure why. Maybe because it was a nice escape during lunch. There were some interesting elements–zombie squirrels anyone? Or zombie birds? Zombies attacking from the air is like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds on steroids. What was most disappointing is that I could see how the book could have been really good. There is so much potential in it unfulfilled. That coupled with the cliff hanger ending left me angry.
So much for zombies. I am a little over halfway through The Terror by Dan Simmons and that is a good book.