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4.3 out of 5 stars
Beyond Exile: Day by Day Armaggedon
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2010
The sequel to Day by Day Armaggedon starts off pretty much right where the last book ended and is told in a similar style to the first book, the story being narrated through a series of journal entries as the main character try's to survive um.. day by day.

If you like the first book you'll like this.
If you haven't read the first book read it before you read this.

Another reviewer mentioned they didn't like the American flag wavery of the book and didn't like the context in which other nations were mentioned (aka everyone but Americans are stupid and suck at killing zombies), I didn't find the book to be like this at all, I personally hate books that read like propaganda and I would have stopped reading it if this was the case, the only thing mentioned that might irk some people was that Britain got pwned by the zombie hordes as the citizens didn't have a right to bear arms... this isn't really offensive, lets face it it would probably happen (and yes I am British, I'd imagine there's only so many zombies you can kill with a frying pan before being overrun).

All in all a great read, the format makes it easy to put down and pick up again and it ends on an excellent cliffhanger that makes me wish J.L. Bourne would get his finger out and finish the third one.

Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2010
I have a tendency to give out a lot of 5 star ratings, but when I think about it I've enjoyed every book I've given a 5 star rating (like this one) so why not give it the highest rating possible.

I was fortunate enough to stumble on the first book in J.L.Bourne's series and despite reading a few varied reviews on "Beyond Exile" I thought I'd give it a go. With all sequels I sometimes wonder if it'll be as good as the first, wondering if the new avenues it explores, and the character development and pacing will be as good as the first. So I went into this a bit concerned but after a few pages I knew I had nothing to worry about.

The situations the main characters finds himself in, the new and old characters who come and go as the story progresses are so enjoyable to read about. The setting is great, the pacing is superb, and I could go on all day if you like but I'll stop here.

I've read a number of zombie novels and they all have a slightly different take on things and I really like what J.L.Bourne has done. The way it's written, i.e. diary-style by the main character, is fresh and interesting and boy o boy does it get left on a cliff hanger. I can't wait for the third book to come out and would happily pay good money to read it.

If you're a fan of the zombie genre than don't let this book (and series) pass you buy.

Nice work J.L.!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2011
I read the first one in this series in about 2 days, I couldn't put it down, so naturally I went for the second one in the series. Which, as mentioned in the other reviews there is a little repetition with the rotting cars on the road etc, but it's still enjoying. It's the end of the book that annoyed me - the reason behind the Zombies, why the virus struck earth. I won't spoil it and tell you what happened, but I felt a little cheated with it. I will read the 3rd one (when it comes out) but only to find out what happens to the characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2010
After reading the first novel in this series, and thoroughly enjoying it, I was hoping that the sequel would be equally as engaging and enjoyable. I wasn't disappointed.

I read a few reviews on amazon.com (yes, the US one) as there seems to be more reviews there than locally in the UK and there were a few mixed reviews. Anyway I took the plunge and now can't wait to read the third in the series.

Some people complained about how the equipment made available to the main character, and the increase in characters was a poor choice in direction for "Beyond Exile" but I wouldn't necessarily agree. Yes I liked the limited number of characters in the first novel, and that he was always counting his bullets, struggling to find the next meal etc, but the same is equally true here. You still feel like the line between survival and death is a fine one. The story just advances down new avenues which are both exciting and suspenseful.

I hope the wait for the following novel is a short one.
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on 13 December 2011
First book was simple, straightforward and riveting. Page turning at its best. The second one however started to get stuck somewhere along the crowded highways of the apocalypse. The first half I enjoyed immensely, the second half I began to think was just one long repeating description of survival. Mystery elements were introduced, radiated super zombies, a new character and a shadowy rogue corporation. But for me these just didn't keep to the true nature of the original book. Super weapons and over elaborate descriptions of arms and ordnance take the place of plain and simple human endeavour; courage and spirit against insurmountable odds. Which is a shame. Our hero keeps a journal, barely gets more than three hours sleep a night and yet still insists on laboriously writing down the details of hotwiring a car etc. You just wouldn't write that stuff, you'd keep it much more personal. I know he refers to the journal during his debriefing but surely the salient information is all that is needed. Cleaning an AK47? Who's going to care? Unless the hero has OCD of course. I think the pitfalls of the journal are laid more bare in this book. Story-wise we know he survives because he is talking about incidents that have just happened. It takes away from the suspense of his ongoing survival. There's only so many times he can be saved in the nick of time. But it's a page turner as well so somehow or other it works. BUT. And the BUT is a BIGGIE. That ending. Oh dear. No. Please. Anything but that. I can see the next novel already....... Why did the author do that? He didn't need it, he really, really didn't need to take it in that direction.
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on 29 August 2011
Contrary to some other reviewers I actually preferred Beyond Exile to the first book. I thought that the author did a better job of building tension then in the first novel, I thought that the supporting characters were more fleshed out and the military aspects were completely accurate (not counting some of the more sci-fi stuff, of course). Also, not that I'm implying that this novel is as well written, but the middle section reminded my allot of "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.

I'm still only giving the book three stars for a couple of reasons. I feel that this book could have easily been split into two separate novels and they both would have been better for it. The first quarter of the story raises allot of issues that could have sustained the entire novel (what happened to the bad guys from the end of the 1st book, what happens when you force civilians into close quarters with military when resources are scarce, how do you make rules "based on the US constitution" in a wasteland), but then the book takes a sharp left turn and none of the original issues ever get brought up again.

Also, I still have some issues with the journal format. The entries all read like the protagonist is writing a series of e-mails to his commanding officer rather then a personal diary designed to keep him sane in a post apocalyptic wasteland. He has significant personal and emotional developments that get about 2 lines, meanwhile we get pages and pages describing his car hot-wiring procedures.

I will say that I like some of things that the author's doing with the Zombies, and that I will buy the final book when it comes out.
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on 27 November 2010
There have been alot of zombie books/movies over the last couple of years and many just fade from memory almost instantly. The Day by Day series is right up there with 'World War Z'as the most compelling and memorable. Both written in short punchy styles but for difference reasons (Day by Day is the journal entries of a single man while World War Z is the varying accounts of numerous figures which together tell the story).

Having occupied the saftey of a missile launch silo by the end of the first book Beyond Exile picks up the story. The group are now in touch with the remnants of the US military command and have also been contacted by a mysterious group with access to previously unseen high tech and automated weaponry who seem intent on wiping out the remaining military command. Radiated 'evolving' zombies and a some credible speculation on the cause of the contagion set the story up well for the third installment. The story in entirely based in USA at present but this is simply because the collapse of almost all infrastructure and the first person nature of the story make insights into whats happening in the rest of the world impossible. Something the next book may well address in part.

While the style makes the book easy to pick up where you left off it's very, very hard to put down.

By the way 'Fido' is one of the quirkiest, interesting and inventive twists on the zombie genre you're ever likely to see, and look out for Billy Connolly in it. Brilliant movie.
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on 10 September 2010
This book picks up directly after the first book. I made the wise decision to buy both at once, so no let up in the undead action for me(he he). I loved the first book in this series so expectations were high so i can possibly blame my let down on that. As a zombie novel it starts out well but it has lost the original "fear" that i loved so much. The first book almost transported you into the narrators world, the best way i can describe this is "hunted rabbit".
This tale see's the inclusion of Marine Units,Naval Units and a secretive high tech omnipotent unit. It takes away the tension, with the first tale i was turning pages desperate to find out what would happen next,this time i was just curious to see what piece of luck the narrator would have next. Now don't get me wrong here i did enjoy this story its just this could have been an absolute cracker of a novel as the groundwork had been done in the first book and i was hooked just waiting for the next installment. One thing that bothered me on a personel level was the glib way casulties were just counted off, if the main character is supposed to be military the loss of his men would affect him more. This is i think the crux of what i feel is wrong with BEYOND EXILE it is not as personel as DBDA. I really hope the third installment gets back to what made the original great. I would however still recomend this book as an important link to the last book and i truely hope the author avoids the sci-fi route he seems to be taking.
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The sequel to DAY BY DAY ARMAGEDDON picks up right where the first novel left off, with the unnamed narrator and his fellow survivors in Hotel 23 (an abandoned Texan nuclear missile base) cleaning up after successfully repelling an attack by a gang of survivors intent on taking over from them. With the zombie plague still virulent, the narrator and his friends forage ever wider for day-to-day essentials both for themselves and for the additional survivors they rescue.

When Hotel 23 makes contact with a group of Marines and the narrator is forced to return to his role as a military officer. However when a mission goes wrong, he finds himself hundreds of kilometres from his friends with thousands of zombies standing in his way. His journal entries detail his attempts to survive and the unexpected allies he meets along the way.

I hadn't read DAY BY DAY ARMAGEDDON, but an author's note summarises the events, making it easy to catch up. Although the plot is simple - essentially a survival journey - Bourne's own military background gives it a great deal of credibility, particularly the detail on weaponry and military protocol. A scene set on a naval carrier is particularly well done, as is the description of a zombie swarm (consisting of hundreds of thousands of dead). If there's a criticism it's that Bourne veers between over-explaining military terminology and not explaining it at all, which makes the story-telling uneven at times.

The journal format suits the stark, pared down prose style. The narrator is not an emotional man (which means this isn't a book for those wanting an examination of the emotions of survival) and he glosses over the more intimate moments with regard to his burgeoning relationship with Tara. His intellectual insights on what is happening though are interesting, particularly when he considers his current life against his former `normal' one.

There are some nice graphic touches within the book, with blood spatters on those journal pages that follow particularly tense situations and different text formats used to draw out different events.

The book ends with a promise that the final volume of this trilogy will move the action to China and the source of the zombie plague. Based on the absorbing events in this book, I will definitely be looking to pick up a copy.
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I first read Day by Day Armageddon so long ago, I think there's been two or three more editions since then (my original copy was the self-published version). It was written in journal format, the main character was a soldier on leave when the outbreak occurs, and the book ended with his group of survivors defending an underground military base from another group of survivors who were more of a threat than the undead. Many readers described the character as "right-wing," and some complained that book was overloaded with heavy military terminology. There were also some black and white "photos" included. The thing is, Bourne is an active-duty officer (which is why this sequel took so long), and I think his character just relfected that. Not to mention the fact that it was suppose to be a personal journal in the first place, but I couldn't figure out when the character had time to snap off some pics while running from zombies.

I'm happy to say there were no cheesy pics included in Beyond Exile. There was still a lot of military terminology, but nothing so complicated that you have to run to the internet to figure out what the charcters are talking about. The entries of the journal are much longer, and more detailed than they were in the first book. In fact, it was a lot less like a journal in general, and more like the personal story of a survivor divided by dates instead of chapters.

The story begins exactly where it left off, after the battle with the other group of survivors. The explosions have attracted the attention of military convoy; while they are searching for the source, some Marines get trapped by a zombie horde, and asked for help over the radio. An extraction group is sent out from the underground base, Hotel 23, and they bring the Marines back with them. Although they go to great lengths to keep the location secret, after the Marines leave, they come back with "friends." In an attempt to avoid another bloody confrontation, the survivors come to a reluctant agreement with the military group. Soon after, the author of the journal finds himself separated from the safety of Hotel 23, after a scouting mission goes horribly wrong. In his efforts to find his way back he meets another survivor, and also discovers a secret militant organization. When he finally finds safe sanctuary again at the end of the book, it's quickly yanked out from under him.

It's extremely difficult to write anything about this sequel without giving away major spoilers, but I will add that the zombies are being affected by the nukes dropped in the first book, and it's not just radiation poisoning that the survivors have to worry about now. Beyond Exile was one of the very few zombie novels that frightened me at all. The direction Bourne is taking with his zombies is an epic nightmare.

I recommend reading the first book, just for the background on the characters, but don't expect the sequel to be much like it. I sncerely hope that Bourne can get out the third installment more quickly this time.
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