I really wanted to love Undead Reckoning. The cover attracted me (designed by the author's wife.) The synopsis sounded really interesting. I've been getting more and more interested in Zombie books in the last few years. I also like supporting local talent and independent/self-published authors. I entered the Goodreads giveaway and lost. Then the author, Mike Slabon, contacted me and wanted to send me a copy (for an honest review). I was excited. Of course I said, yes. So, I really wanted to love Undead Reckoning.
What was the point of meeting up with the different groups of characters during the beginning quarter/third of the book? The spider guy was disturbing and unnecessary. What was the point of the teenagers? Just to make Eddie mad? Eddie Griffin, the main character, had enough childhood trauma to show character growth and development. I couldn't see a reason to introduce characters just to have them die twenty pages later. It also took me a long time to care about Eddie and you need to care about what happens to the main characters of a story pretty much immediately, in my opinion. I still don't know if I care about Jim Shrike (Eddie's companion through most of the book). I don't know if I like him, either, though I don't think it's required to "like" the main characters. Eventually, I did want to know what happened to them, but I think all those additional characters coming and going were delaying the connection. There were so many extraneous sub-plots and characters, I think they took the focus off Eddie Griffin and Jim Shrike's journey.
I'm also afraid I have an issue with the women are portrayed in the story. They're all hot; athletic, big boobs and irresistibly attractive. They are either overly sexual/sexualized or they're a victim. In the first quarter of the book, the Afro-Saxon that Eddie meets says something like, "Even our women are to be feared." Was that just thrown that in to appease the women readers of his book? I know that Major McAllister, Jim's "love-interest" is a strong military officer and supposedly has the respect of the men under her command, but why aren't there any woman under her command? Also, how many military women would run up to a man they're happy to see and throw their arms around them? It seemed unrealistic. People in the military learn discipline, right? They have self-control. I can't imagine a woman (or man for that matter), who has to maintain the respect of all the other people at their base, run up to someone they were involved with and have no inhibitions.
I may have listed a few dislikes, but I did not hate this book. The flow was good. It didn't stall and their was always something happenening, even if it was riduculous. (Seriously, a giant ass? Was that just so the author could say "ass" and "shit" repeatedly for fifty pages?) The fight scenes were well written. You could definitely picture the blood and guts flying, the swords, missiles, hammers and guns. I think the fight scenes were the highlight of the novel for me. There were a lot of them, so it kept me reading. I think there was a lot of potential; the plot was unique and diverse. The characters had interesting qualities, but most lacked depth. I really wanted to love Undead Reckoning, instead I think it was just okay.