24 December 2011

Stained (Zombie I Am) by Mike Mauthor

Stained (Zombie I Am)Stained by Mike Mauthor

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

From Goodreads
A swift outbreak changed Lin Matthew's world forever.
A mysterious new student enrolled in Beaver High.
And a popular television show brought betrayal hence endangering Lin and his friends' life.

Stained is a different take of a zombie tale like no other.

Stained (Zombie I Am) was introduced to me by a member of Goodreads, who had seen my review for Amanda Hocking's book, Hollowland. (You can go check it out, if you'd like. I'll wait here.) I don't often follow recommendations for zombie stories but, for someone to recommend it after reading my review, it sounded promising. I read the excerpt available on Amazon.ca and also discovered the price of the eBook being $0.99. I don't own a Kindle, but I was able to download the PC version for free. That pretty much settled it right there. That, and one really can never go wrong with a ninety-nine cent book. Ever.

The beginning chapters are interesting, and I could already tell there would be a little something different about this novel. It didn't seem like the usual post-apocalyptic zombie story. The writing style was quite different too, so that drew me in as well.

Within a few pages I began noticing more and more sentences with odd phrasing, lack of proper punctuation, wrong words, or simply a plain lack of some solid editing. I have seen this come up on other novels and I don't always mention it. It really only concerns me when it is occurring very often - even within the first few pages, or chapters, like this one. Oddly places commas didn't help much, and I just can't help but wish there was more editing or proof-reading done. It would improve the story so, so much. And I don't mean to nitpick, but I do want to share a few quotes, directly from the book, to show what I mean.
"Then the next thing he knew was that he was in a hospital, a year had passed. A year he can’t bring back. Throughout those years he was a monster, a flesh-eating monster."
“you’re driving my patient.” --[bus driver, telling Lin to hurry and sit down.]
"Lin marched through the hallway, heading toward his locker. He made it to the end of the main hallway and took a right turn. After passing about twentieth red lockets he finally spotted his."
"“I was taken Cujo for a walk,” Pete said, dropping his spoon at this half empty tray, “my dog, Jelly Beans, a Saint Bernard, broke off his leash, barking at something at the bushes. He galloped into the bushes. I—being native—went after it and Jelly Beans popped out of the bushes."  --[talking of zombie-bite stories.]

There are so many more than this, but I just can't list them all. The thing is, if I am noticing this on my first read, how was it not picked up by anyone else? Why did the author publish this? This is a Young Adult novel, though I would list it as "Teen" for both style and content, but that doesn't mean it's okay to publish work that's unfinished. To me, and I am certain this is true for others as well, it gives the work an amateurish-feel and I am less inclined to take the work seriously.

After the initial introductory chapters, once the zombie-illness-aftermath is established, the story takes a very different turn than I expected. From the beginning I knew it would be a different type of zombie story, but what I expected was more... along the lines of Lin, the main character, dealing with how the world treats him, how things changed, and so on. What we get after that, instead, feels like more of a High School Drama following the lives of Lin and company. It has the same feeling as the Jock versus Nerds, Rich/Poor, or Prince/Commoner stories, where the "infected" get shunned by the "normal" people.

We do have the zombie-issue as a base, but it doesn't seem to be the focus - and I really wish there was more of it explored,  fleshed out. For me, being out of school for a number of years now, I found myself quite bored with the talk of cliques, who the cool kids are and what they're up to. I wasn't even interested in it when I was in school!

Oh, and remember when I said that one really can never go wrong with a ninety-nine cent book? Well.. this book just isn't worth that much. It's not even finished. Give it a thorough proof-read, fix the spelling, tense, and punctuation errors and then, only then, will I say it's worthwhile.

I cannot see beyond a lot of the issues I have with it and just can't continue reading this. Calling it Quits. Clearly, I am not the Target Audience. There is nothing here for me.


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