Hollowland by Amanda Hocking
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
"This is the way the world ends - not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door."
Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way - not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies.
The last book by Amanda Hocking that I read was... not as enjoyable as I would like. Zombies and Horror are not my usual reads but the description caught my attention and seemed interesting enough. It was not until I was a few pages in that I checked who the author was. Oh. Well, her work deserves another chance, I suppose. I shouldn't judge all of what she does on one book, after all... (Plus, I have been hearing Good Things about Amanda Hocking, so perhaps there is just something I missed before.) And then I come across missing words, misspelled words, and odd punctuation within the first 10 pages. This is not a good starting point.
The characters are a little odd, to say the least. Lazlo follows Remy around like a lost little puppy, despite Remy treating him terribly at certain times. Remy, meanwhile, seems a stronger character in the beginning, but that seems to lessen as the story progresses - not that she is wimpy (she is the one in charge, for some reason) but there is something lost. As if her actions don't need justification - no one really speaks against her, or hold their ground with her for long. Also, the supporting characters aren't given much of a background. They have names and vague descriptions, but we aren't really shown much in depth of who they are. It's like Remy doesn't care to think of them, so they don't matter to the story at all. Is she that unobservant?
At one point, a Big Deal is made out of the car running out of gas - the driver is blamed and takes responsibility for it. And repeatedly mentions taking the blame for it. I found this... odd. In the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse, where fuel is hard to come by and stations are few-and-far-between, how is anyone at fault for a vehicle -an SUV for that matter- running out of gas? Does no one have a back-bone in this book? Did the virus deteriorate that, too?
I am able to take in that there is a virus that creates zombies - that's no problem. The unbelievability in the story comes from the characters themselves, and their reactions to the situations. It has, at times, more of an "I am doing this because the plot says I should" instead of "I am doing this according to how my experiences tell me to react." And there really isn't a big sense of character development at all.
There was also some.. pronoun confusion in Hollowland as well. There is a male character referred to as her at one point, and that all goes back to editing and proof-reading. (I doubt it was intentional, given how it was used.) This kind of thing really bugs me, and I doubt this will be the last time I mention it. Unfortunately.
I liked the sample available on Smashwords enough to purchase the book, but it definitely got worse from that point on. Amanda Hocking is a popular author and has many fans, so there's something there for others. I guess. Samples of her books (around 20-25% of the book) are available to read online before purchase. I'd say it's best to check those out first, along with other reader reviews, to see if any of the stories are for you. The next book in this series should be out October 2011, according to Goodreads, but I don't think I'll be picking up that one. Hollowland was a little too, well, hollow, for me. Amongst other things.
Suggestions for awesome (read: anything is better than this.) post-apocalyptic novel would be greatly appreciated. Bonus points if it's an e-book that I can check out a bit of before-hand.
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