Allison Hewitt Is Trapped: A Zombie Novel Paperback – Jan 18 2011
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“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 Trapped. Allison 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.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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" . . .
The book is written in a blog-style format with Allison recounting her adventures occurring between posts. Many of the entries are only a few days apart, but they're extremely detailed, lengthy, and it read more like a novel. You'd think that would be a good thing, but I just felt something was wrong.
WTF? This chick is running from dead things that want to eat her flesh and she has time to write pages and pages (articulately) about her experiences? Really? I don't have the mental capacity to string together more than a few paragraphs after working all day (at a desk) and straining myself to reheat last night's leftovers.
The biggest problem for me, however, was the fact that, for what was supposed to be a personal blog, it lacked personality. Allison told us what happened, but I never felt like I was seeing things through her eyes or understanding her emotions. She remembered entire conversations she'd had with other characters (did she have a recorder?), yet they were so generic they could've been written from an outsider's perspective.
The replies from other survivors weren't profound. Basically, they confirmed what we already knew: there are zombies. Got it.
If I take off my blogger glasses and judge this book as a novel, my opinion becomes a little brighter. I mean, not like sun bright, but maybe like medium-grade flashlight bright.
There were enough suspenseful moments where I was anxious to see what would happen next.
Allison - from what I could tell - wasn't totally unlikable. Maybe that's because she had a soft spot for Scooter, the German Shepard she rescued.
You didn't always see the antagonists coming. Zombies weren't the only bad guys Allison had to watch out for. I know, it's near cliché for the whole "people-go-batshit-crazy-during-the-zombie-apocalypse" plot. But, whatever. It fits.
I think part of the issue I had with this book was the fact that I just finished <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Newsflesh-Trilogy-Boxed-Mira-Grant/dp/031622507X/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1353446604&sr=8-5&keywords=mira+grant+newsflesh">Mira Grant's Newsflesh Trilogy</a>. Grant's series is also written in the blog-slash-novel style, but has more depth and crazy mind-screwing conspiracies. It went beyond the "just another zombie novel" category and left some pretty big footsteps to fill.
Overall, Allison Hewitt wasn't particularly bad, but it wasn't great either. It's enjoyable enough if you're a fan of zombie novels and looking for a casual read, but it's not something you're going to remember a few days down the road. I especially didn't feel it was worth the $9.99 price tag for the Kindle edition when bargain-bin paperback versions are available for a few dollars.