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Autumn: The City. David Moody [Hardcover]

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  56 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as it's predecessor, but still a worthwhile read Dec 20 2005
By CreepyT - Published on
In David Moody's follow-up to the acclaimed zombie novel, Autumn, we are introduced to several new characters. Donna Yorke is an office worker who went in early on that fateful morning when all the world seemed to collapse into utter desolation. Paul Castle was also at work when everyone around him died horrible deaths. Jack Baxter was coming home from work when the apparent disease hit. After hiding out in his home for several days, he ventured out into the vastly changed city where he meets up with Clare, a young girl who helplessly sat and watched her father die and has endured alone on the street while watching the dead rise again. Meanwhile, Doctor Croft and several others have found some comfort and safety hiding within a university accommodation block.

Cooper is a member of the military who has spent weeks in a secret base, hidden from the goings-on of the outside world. When he is ordered to emerge from the base to obtain a status report along with several others, what he finds is more appalling than anyone from that tucked away sanctuary had surmised. When Cooper's military reconnaissance troop leaves him behind, he eventually meets up with the group living within the college dormitories and they all quickly turn to him for some semblance of hope.

However, Emma and Michael, from the previous novel, also make an appearance. Since leaving the farmhouse, the two have been on the run in a motor home, seeking safety. When they come across the military vehicles entering and exiting the nearby hidden base, they decide to find a way into the shelter. It should be noted that these two do not show up until almost halfway through the novel.

Though still just as intriguing as the previous novel, I found many parts to be rather slow. In addition, it was both interesting and tedious to read about the whole ordeal all over again. I found reading about the death and disease from different viewpoints to be a fascinating way to begin the novel. Yet, it also seemed rather redundant in many respects for those who have read the previous novel to have to re-hash the previous occurrences. That does, however, enable people who have not read the novels predecessor to pick up this book without having missed much at all. Furthermore, Moody's zombies don't seem to have evolved much more in this book than they had in the previous one. Throughout the first novel, the risen dead are in constant flux, becoming more and more attuned to their surroundings and evolving ever-so-slightly with each passing day. In Autumn: The City, there seems to be little progression in this respect. Autumn: The City doesn't take the opportunity to build very much off of the foundation laid by it's predecessor.

It should also be noted that this is not a series in which you will find lots of action and gore. The scares and drama found herein are much more subtle. However, that is not to say that these books are any less worthy of a read. They are simply geared less towards the in-your-face splatter horror audience.

Though I didn't find this novel as enthralling as the first, I will still go on to read Autumn: Purification. Despite some minor qualms, I still highly recommend this series to anyone who is a fan of zombie fiction.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite up to par with the first book. March 13 2007
By Robert Beveridge - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
David Moody, Autumn: The City (Infected Books, 2003)

David Moody's Autumn Quartet continues on with The City, a book that starts out concurrently to Autumn. Don't expect to see your dysfunctional heroes from that book for a while, unfortunately; you've got a new crop of characters to think about here.

This is an ensemble piece, more than the last book was; there can't be said to be any real main character. There's a ragtag band of survivors who start off apart, mostly, but come together piece by piece. There's also a military installation who sally forth now and again to try and assess the situation, two of whose members get left behind during one mission. And, eventually, a few folks from the first novel show up, so we come full circle.

The book suffers a bit from middle-novel syndrome (Autumn was, remember, originally envisioned as a trilogy); we have new characters, but the basic situation is the same, and this isn't helped by the fact that we know what's in store for the first half or so of this book, having read the first novel. It picks up once the timeline merges with the end of the first book, and the ending was the strongest section of the book (it got me to pick up Purification immediately to find out what was coming next). So the series flags a bit, but a slow start leads to a strong finish. Don't give up halfway through. ***
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid zombie series, could use more bite Aug. 28 2006
By S. Keel - Published on
I was a fan of the first Autumn book so I quickly bought this and the 3rd book Purification. I figured that the first book was basically a setup, a quiet before the real storm. Perhaps my expecations were too high for blood and gore and gruesome deaths because this series really isn't about all of that. Sure, its descriptive when it comes to the decaying zombies and what the world has become. But if you're looking for some Romero-style attacks, gore, killings, this series comes up a little short.

The City introduces us to some new characters since the first book, which is cool as you get to experience the zombie rising all over gain from completely different perspectives. Thankfully, our heroes from the fist book reappear, even if as a subplot.

What's good about City is the descriptive outlook of the city and the surrounding areas. Reading various people's reactions is interesting and things move at a solid pace.

What's not as good is that Moody loves to bog down the story in generic reactions (How many times can a character react the same, angry way to the situation?) and the story grinds to a halt at times as we wait for the characters who will fight to weed through all the whining and complaining of those who won't. Certainly its necessary to show all the reactions, but we got the point the first 7 times someone said "What's the point?"

If you enjoyed the first book, you're probably going to go for this one as well. And if you go that far, you'll want to find out what happens in Purification (a decent, if not thrilling, conclusion).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please, no. May 29 2012
By Pamela - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found the first book in this series to be strangely compelling, and I found this one for 3 bucks, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I wish I had not.

This book was extremely boring. The author went to great lengths to try to make the bodies appear threatening, but I did not buy it. The idea was that, individually the bodies were weak and easily knocked aside, but they were amassing in huge numbers, which made them a threat. The author explained in great detail (over, and over, and over, etc.) why they were amassing in such numbers and why that made them a threat. (Because they are attracted to noise and apparently living humans, simply by being alive, are noisy. They are also attracted to fire, apparently, which you'd think might help cull their numbers a bit, but I digress.)

I have this problem where I'm not really all that bad at math. I kept wondering where all the rest of the survivors were. If "over 98%" of the population was killed, that leaves somewhere between one and two percent of the population alive somewhere. Last time I checked, there were around 60 million people in Great Britain, not counting foreign students, tourists, migrant workers and the like. That means between 600,000 to 1,200,000 people would have survived. If almost a million people were scattered around the island, presumably at least some of the bodies would be attracted to each of them as well, because being alive is noisy.

After "over 98%" of the population dropped dead, "about 1/3" of them got up again and started shambling. That means there were about 20 million bodies wandering around, give or take. We are told that some of them were trapped in buildings or cars, some of them wandered off cliffs or into rivers or the ocean, some of them undoubtedly would have burned up in some of the numerous building fires. The three survivors ran over some of them with their cars in book one, and many more were run over by military vehicles and cars in this book. Also, many bodies are crushed and mutilated by the press of bodies behind them all trying to squeeze into the same place. Oh yeah, and they tear each other apart occasionally. Not to mention the "thousands" that were lured into a burning building by Donna, which was the only sensible thing anyone did in the story so far.

Presumably the bodies are not capable of reproducing in their quasi-dead state. Survivors do not even turn into roaming bodies if they are bitten (in fact, the bodies do not seem to bite. They simply try to grab you to death.) Also presumably, the other hundreds of thousands of survivors around the island would also be running them over with cars and whatnot. The numbers would have to be constantly dropping.

So, getting rid of them would be tedious to be sure, messy absolutely, but not really scary.

Obviously, I do not recommend this book. It made my head hurt.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good linage - will get you to smoothly move on to the trilogy's next book Dec 11 2007
By T-Rexx - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is the sequel to David Moody's excellent, deliberately slow-paced Autumn novel which set the stage for his trilogy.

Moody has us follow the patch of several groups of survivors in modern-day England after the outbreak of a terrifyingly fast virus that killed billions of people in seconds, without anybody knowing its origin or its purpose. The group of "countryside" survivors that we got to know in Autumn is featured in this sequel again. It gets back to the City it originally fled from and gets to merge with another group of survivors that got trapped in a university somewhere in the City -hence the book's name.

Moody is keeps delivering a number of messages to the reader in his book, just as he did in the first, and will be doing in the third (Autumn, Purification).

First, the countryside is no ideal place to hide and enhance the chances of survival when faced with a mutating enemy that relies primarily on sound detection, and gets increasingly "articulated". Out there in the open, while silence may be soothing, it may also become the deadliest betrayer too as any sound will act as magnet to those stench-generating masses.

Second, the Army is shown in its full "splendor", ie a mixture of immature conditioning in the face of unplanned threats, and power -when used and organized to take benefit of its very conditioning. Unlike in many other zombie books, the army is not depicted as a "yet-another-enemy-from-within" party. It features good as well as hopeless guys too, just like in the outside. The survivors get to benefit from the army without giving them anything in return, as we would have anticipated normally.

Third, the most intellectually "enlightened" characters of the bunch have no clue about what's happened to the world. Reciprocally, the army's might is barely sufficient to inflict any kind of substantial damage to their "total enemy", the rotting crowd. In other words, neither sheer intelligence nor brute force is a real asset in ensuring self-preservation. What we see clearly in Moody's depiction is the intrinsic value of constant adaptation. Those who can't adapt, don't make it alive.

Pretty good messages I thought. Sounds good to you too? Then read on.

Another finesse of Moody's work is the way the sick bodies evolve. In the first book, they were dumb, inarticulated, helpless, but moving towards the end to the beginning of a rational thought process translating into coordinated actions (banging on the walls, moving to a specific location. Aggressiveness was also starting to show.

In Autumn, the City, aggressiveness becomes the driving factor behind the rotten crowd's actions, making it each day more dangerous and difficult for the survivors to stay alive. This adds another, very effective layer of anxiousness, as the survivors cave in in makeshift shelters for extended periods of times without necessarily being aware of the extent of the dead bodies' mutation outside. That makes for interesting encounters when they finally all meet together again.

But still, the author still has not used the name "Zombie" a single time in this second book, making the pathetic living-deads not so evil after all. And we still don't know what caused this mayhem in the first place, will we ever find out? People we get attached too just die of stupid death (car accidents etc.), so who's going to be the next one? Also, what the hell are the living-deads doing when they get onto living survivors? Do they eat them? Do they just kill them as the result of hate, jealousy, something else? Will we, here again, know at all in the end? All of these very effective narrative and plot techniques are very good at keeping the reader glued to the book, wishing for the end (of the book!) not to come too fast.

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