Sunday, 31 July 2016

Book Review: Monsterland by Shaun Whittington


In the north of England, Gordon Burns is on his way back over to the Scottish borders, but before he can make it a strange and horrific scene takes place. After abandoning his car, and stuck in the middle of the Pennines, running for his life, Gordon reaches a guesthouse and meets up with the owners as well as other guests.

After watching the news on the television, Gordon and his guests realise that the country has been thrown into bloody chaos, and are on the verge of a possible apocalypse. Nothing seems to be stopping these things, as the infected that the media are calling "Runners" are running amok and spreading the virus.

Join Gordon, Joan, Sue, Lloyd, and Junior to see how this turns out for our characters. Who will manage to avoid the infection that is ravaging the country? 


My Review:
Gordon is driving home to Gretna after a family funeral and takes a shortcut in poor weather over the Pennines to get to the M6. He stops to assist another couple who knock someone down but recoils as the victim attacks and bites the pair. As they also become violent, Gordon flees, knocking the maniacs are following on foot. A landslide means abandoning his car and taking an uneasy refuge in a guesthouse...

I loved the idea of this-zombies loose on the moors and attacking people in remote locations. There was nothing wrong with the ideas and the actual plot was quite well written. There was plenty of tension as Gordon inched along through the storm, trying not to go off the road but being aware of fast moving zombies behind him. The scenes of the people stuck in the guesthouse, under attack were also well written and tense. It is the sort of situation where you wonder what you would do in that situation as options for escape are limited. The survivors also pick up news of the attacks on TV which gives them an idea of how big their problems are.

So why did I not finish the book? It came down to hating the characters I'm afraid. Gordon, frankly, is a complete arse who got on my nerves before the zombies even appeared. He moans about everything-the family he has visited, the travel, the weather. He doesn't really want to stop and help the other couple and does so reluctantly, and manages to bite the head off the female passenger when she asks if he can see the man they knocked down. Gordon goes into full moan mode about getting wet looking for a body and why he is bothering to help. All I could think of was shut up and stop moaning!!! His habit of putting the word 'pissing' in front of everything to show his annoyance also annoyed me. 'pissing car' 'pissing squirrel' 'pissing hell' Arrgghh!

The characters do not improve at the guesthouse. Gordon and James both think they know everything and are battling to be the Big I Am in front of the others, and neither will back down. It gets old very quickly. Sue is a complete and utter bitch who I wanted to slap. Joan is one of the most foul mouthed women ever and John is a spineless coward. Seriously, these are the last people in the world that you would want to be stuck in a basement with! It is my idea of Hell. I can forgive them doing dumb things like going outside to bury a dead body with the zombies out there in the fog because it is done for plot reasons but having them moaning and fighting with each other non stop really started bugging me.

Then the plot switches to characters who are even worse. The lovely Marvin and Agnes who have just slept together. Both are drunken foul mouthed morons and by this stage I had decided that I really did want the zombie things to kill the whole cast. That is the moment when I just could not bear these characters for one more page. It is a pity that a decent plot has been yet again spoiled by obnoxious characters. Such a pity.
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

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