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Allison Hewitt Is Trapped: A Zombie Novel [Paperback]

Madeleine Roux
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 18 2011

From the New York Times bestselling author of ASYLUM comes one woman's story as she blogs - and fights back - the zombie apocalypse

 

Allison Hewitt and her five colleagues at the Brooks and Peabody Bookstore are trapped together when the zombie outbreak hits. Allison reaches out for help through her blog, writing on her laptop and utilizing the military's emergency wireless network (SNET).  It may also be her only chance to reach her mother. But as the reality of their situation sinks in, Allison’s blog becomes a harrowing account of her edge-of-the-seat adventures (with some witty sarcasm thrown in) as she and her companions fight their way through ravenous zombies and sometimes even more dangerous humans.

 

“Madeline Roux manages to answer the eternal question all of us must ask ourselves eventually: "When the zombie apocalypse comes (and it will come), how will I handle it?" For my part, I hope I manage it with as much humanity and determination as Allison. But I would like to make a request for bigger weapons.”

--Christine Warren, New York Times bestselling author of The Others series


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Review

“Finally, a zombie apocalypse done right.  ALLISON HEWITT IS TRAPPED is a smart and furious thrill-ride, touched with just the right mix of humor and romance.  Madeleine Roux's stunning characters and breathless action are unforgettable.”

--Ilona Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of Magic Bleeds

“Madeline Roux doesn't just offer an engaging and addictive adventure story, though she's certainly done that; she manages to answer the eternal question all of us must ask ourselves eventually: "When the zombie apocalypse comes (and it will come), how will I handle it?" For my part, I hope I manage it with as much humanity and determination as Allison. But I would like to make a request for bigger weapons.”

--Christine Warren, New York Times bestselling author of The Others series

"I've never laughed so much while being so creeped out...Roux did the impossible: she made zombies funny."

--MaryJanice Davidson, New York Times bestselling author

"Roux achieved a perfect blend of humor, horror, and heartbreaking sadness."--Reader to Reader Reviews
 
"...damn entertaining and fun book... The combination of humor and action really work here and it's a wonderful way to spend a few hours with a smile on your face, and all the lights on..."--Crimespree Magazine

About the Author

MADELEINE ROUX is the New York Times bestselling author of ASYLUM.  She received her BA in Creative Writing and Acting from Beloit College in 2008.  In the spring of 2009, Madeleine completed an Honors Term at Beloit College, proposing, writing and presenting a full-length historical fiction novel.  Shortly after, she began the experimental fiction blog Allison Hewitt Is TrappedAllison Hewitt Is Trapped quickly spread throughout the blogosphere, bringing a unique serial fiction experience to readers.

 

Born in Minnesota, she now lives and works in Wisconsin where she enjoys the local beer and preparing for the eventual and inevitable zombie apocalypse.


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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Trapped with Allison Hewitt May 15 2012
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
A competent editor could have worked some magic with this hodge-podge. There were so many gaps and inconsistencies that it eroded the whole outing. In traditional zombie fiction there is always that diverse group of survivors with varying moral compasses and a range of rationales for how they react. Author Roux does this aspect of zombie convention justice. But Allison's blog defies logic as does its various commentators, annoying character conflicts abound, and a lone zombie squirrel left me wondering...huh? But perhaps what threw me most was how easy the zombies seem to be dispatched. Readers of this genre need to stop settling for quantity and demand quality.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  53 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Judy Bloom Writes Zombie Novels? Sept. 4 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Despite the review title, I did like this novel. It wasn't particularly my cup of tea in the Zombie horror genre, but that's my problem not the author's.
This story reminds me of the old John Christopher young adult novels I read as a kid. It goes fairly light on the graphic violence and focuses more on other elements of the story, such as the characters and relationships between them during the outbreak and aftermath.
I also thought the first-person blog-style was a nice device.
Bottom line: A nice, low-intensity Zombie tale. I'd recommend it for people who are interested in this type of fiction, but shy away from the grittier stories.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but brainless (pun intended!). Missed opportunities for the format abound, alas. Sept. 8 2012
By Meg Brunner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I really wanted to like this novel -- I mean, a story about a group of book lovers trapped by zombies HAS to be fun, right?

But though I found it entertaining enough overall, especially in the beginning, it took a turn for the boring and befuddled somewhere around the midpoint, and I found myself increasingly frustrated by the author's lack of thoughtful use of the story's primary gimmick: the book is a collection of blog posts, complete with comments from "readers," and I really feel like Roux wasted an opportunity to do something truly interesting with that set-up. More on that in a bit.

Here's how the story goes: Allison Hewitt is one of a group of bookstore employees recently trapped together by the zombie apocalypse. Luckily, she's trapped with a still-functional laptop and a working wi-fi network, and she immediately starts to blog her situation to anybody who might still be alive out there in the world.

As supplies begin to run low and morale collapses (no bathrooms and a steady diet of break-room beef jerky will do that for you), Allison manages to convince a couple of her colleagues to join her in a quest to get to the apartments above the store and see if any of them are habitable. She grabs a fire axe, the others grabbing baseball bats and fire extinguishers, and together, they burst out into the store, whacking zombie heads left and right, and scramble upstairs. (The zombie fight scenes are a little "been there, done that," I'll grant you, but still fun.)

After some exploration, they decide the group's gotta move in. They can't stay in the break-room -- the time for panic has passed, they're alive and likely to stay that way if they're careful, and it's time to move forward. The group takes over two apartments and tries settling down into a more manageable life. But when Allison discovers a broadcasting radio station, the gang decides the next step is to leave the building altogether and try to make it over to the university campus -- where the broadcast is coming from and where, the broadcaster reports, a large group of survivors have begin to collect.

Maybe Allison's mother is there, you see? Maybe Phil's family. They can't ignore the possibility, so they set out with what little supplies they have left in pursuit of a larger community.

Most of the group manages to make it to campus safely, but that's where the story starts to fall apart. There's a bizarre plot twist involving a group of fanatically religious women who kidnap and torture Allison and her friends; a boring, boring, borrrrrring love story between Allison and an astronomy professor; and a gang of militant survivors trying to force themselves into power, shooting anybody who dares challenge their authority.

Most of the second half of the book is an absolute mess, with a lot of inconsistencies in the story and subplots I feel like I've seen/read a million times already in both the zombie and post-apocalyptic genres. That might've been okay, though, were it not for my increasing frustration over the blog format.

The problem was that I felt Roux could've done more with that device, and I was annoyed that she wasn't bothering. Despite the fact it made little sense Allison was able to keep a laptop running AND access a still-operational wi-fi network (whatever -- I was willing to roll with it), when I first realized Roux was going to include comments from readers, I got a little bit excited. I was expecting a whole second storyline to develop in the comments section, as people chimed in from all over, swapping stories and advice, starting flame wars from all the stress and anxiety, forming relationships between themselves and with Allison, etc. All the stuff that typically DOES happen in a blog comment section (hi, guys!). At the very least, I was expecting more emotionally charged content and question-asking. What's going on? My god, I just had to kill my own mother. That sort of thing.

Instead, there are only a couple of comments per "post," and most of them are totally vacuous (Keep fighting, Allison! Hey, we're on a boat, tra la!). Disappointing. Occasionally, Roux tried to shove in an incongruously-timed comment from a reader suddenly logging on to despair, and once there was a father posting about his infected son, but none of these comments were particularly emotionally evocative, in part because the replies to them from Allison and other "readers" were usually bizarrely cavalier and quick. Instead of exploring what that father might be going through, for example, Allison just says something flip like, "He's not your son anymore -- kill him!"

Man, great opportunity wasted to explore some of the painful, personal side of the whole end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it thing, instead of just the gleeful zombie-killing adventure side (which is mostly what this novel deals with -- nobody seems to think twice about killing anybody in this book, even zombies they recognize, which I just found strange, though that's not uncommon in the genre, really).

One positive note: I did like the fact each blog post/chapter's name was a relevant book title (In Defense of Food, A Room with a View, Things Fall Apart, e.g.) -- clever, but not enough to save this novel from its thorough lack of originality. That was what the format needed, and failed, to do.

Overall, I'd say this one's definitely worth picking up if you're in the mood for something brainless (pun intended) and fun, but while I did find it entertaining (I read the whole thing, after all), after reading the excerpt from Roux's upcoming second novel (included at the end of this book), I don't think I'll be going on from here.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent addition to the post-apocalyptic genre! Jan. 23 2011
By Valerie Hurwitz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found myself staying up late in order to finish this book. I read it first in the blog format and I thought I would skim through much of the original material, but I found myself drawn into reading it again, laughing for the second time at the jokes, witty dialog, and funny diagrams.

Books in this genre are often written by men and run the risk of reducing women to archetypes--the whore, the female warrior, the damsel-in-distress, etc. Roux does an excellent job with her heroine and creates characters that are likable and three-dimensional. The moral and logistical concerns confronted by the characters paint a realistic picture of post-apocalyptic life (the loss of indoor plumbing, a recurring issue in the book, is one example of something typically glossed over). Roux keeps the zombie gore to a minimum, instead focusing (as good literature does) on human psychology. Allison's concerns are everyday--sanitation, celebrating a fellow survivor's birthday, worrying about her cancer-survivor mother, and so on. These ordinary concerns help animate the characters and give the book a fullness that shoot-em-up, on-the-run post-apocalyptic novels often lack.

The blog format of this book is both an interesting plus and a potential hazard. The early posts work quite well, especially the shorter joke posts (for example, a post entirely of haiku poems written while two of the characters are drunk). The later posts are longer and feel more like a novel, despite still being in blog format. I understand Roux wanting to stick to the original format of the writing and include the comments people made on the original blog, and I am willing to suspend disbelief.

I loved the prologue and epilogue of this book and laughed out loud at the ending. It is a humorous twist on a device used by many authors and points to our human tendency to judge others actions in extreme situations without knowing how we would act ourselves.

Excellent!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Trapped with Allison Hewitt May 15 2012
By Jeffrey Swystun - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A competent editor could have worked some magic with this hodge-podge. There were so many gaps and inconsistencies that it eroded the whole outing. In traditional zombie fiction there is always that diverse group of survivors with varying moral compasses and a range of rationales for how they react. Author Roux does this aspect of zombie convention justice. But Allison's blog defies logic as does its various commentators, annoying character conflicts abound, and a lone zombie squirrel left me wondering...huh? But perhaps what threw me most was how easy the zombies seem to be dispatched. Readers of this genre need to stop settling for quantity and demand quality.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not just another Zombie Apocalypse novel . . . but Jan. 21 2011
By Greg Beesch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Let me state first that I recommend this book. The book itself, in my Reader opinion, deserves a 3 out of 5 stars. How Ms. Roux started this as a serial blog format from September thru October (the 31st!) of 2009 is deserving of an HBS case study, and 5 out of 5 stars. The blog carried a lot more suspense and power than does the book. . .

Okay, to the review of the book, to a new entry into Zombie genre this book will carry a lot of . . . novelty. . .to those of us who swim,without floaties, in the deep end of the Z-Day pool, it is a more than a touch derivative. The blog format saves the book from being simply another first person narrative of a post OUTBREAK world. I do compliment Ms. Roux on having a female first person narrative, most Z-Lit is written by the Y Chromosome for the Y Chromosome. And let me say, I don't see 3 out of 5 as a bad rating. I paid retail for my paperback edition and am NOT dissappointed, this will go onto the bookshelf in the Zombie genre without reservation.

Let me get back to the serial blog / pre publication format. Ms. Roux needlessly posted an entry on 1/7/10 caveating/apologizing that ([...]), essentially, she really is an aspiring young writer and this (the blog) wasn't some part of soul-less corporate marketing zombie plan. . . Yooo-hooo, Ms. Doux, NO ONE CARES, the blog format prior to publishing was BRILLIANT! An inspiration! Too often authors, aspiring or published, won't do something this fun or creative FOR the reader. You deserve applause for this, and for the book format.

With that I'm looking forward to "SADIE WALKER IS STRANDED" . . .
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