Postcards From a Dying World
News, views, book reviews and commentary from the Science Fiction and Horror fiction underground. Home of the Wonderland award nominated author of Vegan Revolution...With Zombies and Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Book Review: Positive by David Wellington
Positive by David Wellington
Hardcover, 437 pages
Published April 2015 by Harper Voyager
This book is right up my alley, think back to a time when the word epic was not abused and over used. This novel is a post apocalyptic epic is the tradition of doozies like The Stand and Swan Song. Many will see the word Zombie on the cover and give-up because there are so many zombie re-treads. Of course the cover also has road pirates, death cults and the promise of new world being rebuilt. I'm sold.
Every time someone releases a good zombie novel the thing you always hear "A new twist" " or "if you are looking for a Fresh take on zombies." I could say both those things here but that is besides the point. The zombies are more of Maguffin this could have been 20 years after a virus, nuke event... or alien invasion. This is a tale of survival and a coming of age for a young man whose arc finds him accepting responsibility he never dreamed of. Not a zombie novel more of a survivor novel.
We meet Finn the main character who was born "after the crisis" considered a second generation in New York city. 99%of the world's population has died or "Zombied out." Finn has a good life as far as he has ever known. He fishes in the flooded subways, and dodges a zombie from time to time. New York City is a pretty safe place. The biggest fear is someone positive for the virus becoming a zombie in the walls. In this novel a the virus that turns persons into zombies can lie dormant for up to 20 years, and at 18 Finn's life is throw into chaos when his mother goes Zombie. Knowing it is likely to be positive for the virus Finn is tattooed with a + and exiled out of the city.
Finn suddenly after a sheltered life in the city has to navigate the wilderness and the various dangers that come with that. Along the way Finn meets several interesting characters and a few of the sections could have made stand-alone novels on their own. Finn learns that being positive in this world makes him and his fellow carriers outcasts. The thrust of the novel is survival and rebuilding.
If there is a negative for me it comes in the inherit weakness of first person. We know Finn will live, and alot of the story is over told. I am aware that is a personal bias so I did not count that against the book. The thing is I found the story suspensful, and interesting. I was turning pages and concerned for Finn's fate. I liked the concept and set-up. Overall I thought this book was worthy of being compared to classics in the genre and that I don't do lightly.
At times Finn seems a little too smart and goody goody, but I think Wellington did a good job of preparing the reader by making his growth so defined over the pages of the book.
The marketing department got me on this book. David Wellington is an author I had meant to check out for years. I was browsing books at the library and the cover alone had me interested. I decided I had to read this one. It is always a nice feeling to discover a new writer, and I think I will read more wellington in the future.