on 15 August 2009
George A Romero is one of my absolute all time favourite authors. Iain McKinnon's imaginably rich tale, not only feels frighteningly realistic, it also puts him on a par with recognised zombie horror authors everywhere.
McKinnon's main characters of Sarah and Nathan are well-executed, benevolent, and pragmatic in their actions and motivations.So much so, that I often found myself rooting for them when things go bad. And boy, do things go bad. But it goes without saying this only adds to the tension of quite a superb novel.
McKinnon has managed to portray a very vivid and very unsettling picture of a world being cruelly entrenched by a zombie apocalypse.
His realistic approach to the zombie genre had me reading this book until the early hours of the morning.
I have never read anything quite like it; atmospheric, turbulent and extremely good. I can only wait in vain to see if another book is published.
A definite must read.
I really need to do something about my addictive personality. It has been almost nine months since I swore of reading another zombie novel. Yet here I find myself with Domain of the Dead read and ready for review.
So what made me go back to one of the most over worked genres? Truthfully it was all down to to the author Iain Mckinnon, who I met whilst being an extra for the Dead Beat trailer. Iain was the writer director, producer for the shoot, he came across as instantly likeable guy with a huge passion for the genre. He managed to push that button in my head, that gives me excuses to do things I really shouldn't. Surely someone with this amount of passion should be able to knock off a decent zombie story?
In DOTD Sarah and Nathan have been living in a fortified warehouse with a few other survivors, whilst the rest of the world has succumbed to the zombie horde. Faced with the the choice of starvation or death by zombie Sarah decides to throw herself of the roof of the warehouse. As she prepares to jump she notices a a helicopter in the distance. The survivors battle their way to the helicopter, and discover that it has come from a research ship, The Ishtar, which has been tasked with finding a solution to the zombie problem. They are taken aboard the ship, only to find that safety is a fragile thing and soon Nathan and Sarah are fighting for their very survival.
So the question is has Iain written a decent zombie novel? In all honesty, yes he did. This is a very tight novel, there are no pages wasted on back story, or the protagonists history. We are thrown head first in to world over run with zombies, that's not to say that he hasn't created fully rounded characters, or a well developed world. The action and tensions builds nicely as the story progresses, in many ways DOTD, reminded me of James Cameron's Aliens, while essentially a horror novel this read more like a Sci Fi novel, with the final chapters reminiscent of the marines battle with the aliens.
The zombies are the classic Romero type, which makes for a nice change. No super fast, dead corpses reanimated by demons zombies here. These are traditional zombies, for traditional zombie fans. Unlike a lot of zombie novels, DOTD goes into the science of what and how the zombie plague is. This is handled very well, it never feels like a big info dump, and doesn't kick you out of the story. This book was a treat to read right up to the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid type ending.
So has this book re-lighted any passion for zombies novels? Probably no,t but it has introduced me to a great new author, whose future novels I will most certainly pick up.
on 14 November 2011
This book was recommended by someone at a halloween party and although not the type of book I would normally read, I thought I would give it a go. I read this in just about one sitting (had to go play football in between) which gives a flavour of how accessible and enjoyable it was. It is a jolly good romp which doesn't let up, easy to relate to the characters and generally a lot of fun. My wife is more into the zombie/vampire/horror genre than I am and she's keen to read it next.
I might not read too many more zombie novels but if the author follows up with a sequel I'll be interested to know what happened with some of the loose ends.
on 13 January 2012
A group of people have been surviving in a warehouse for about three years, and they are nearly out of supplies. Two of them on a rooftop spot a helicopter touching down in their area. Despite being surrounded by hundreds of undead, the warehouse survivors decide to make a run for what might be their last chance of rescue. However, the soldiers who have landed are not there to rescue people, but to collect undead specimens, so they are not prepared to take extra people back with them. Some will have to stay behind.
Unlike a lot of other people, I read Remains of the Dead first, so I felt even worse than the characters on the helicopter, knowing what was going to happen to the soldiers and civilians who were left behind. You see, McKinnon had the brilliant idea to write about the same point in time, but each book is from a different perspective. In Remains, the reader stays with the group left behind. In Domain, the reader flies back with the helicopter group to the military ship that never docks.
The three civilians that are rescued are told that they will have to find jobs or be drafted, and they aren't happy about the limited choices. Professor Cutler and Dr. Robertson are conducting experiments to study the nature of the virus; Cutler thinks he may have found a vaccine, but he doesn't follow proper protocol in his lab, and an outbreak occurs on the ship as a result. The three civilians reprieve from the undead is very short-lived (no pun intended).
After having read the two books, I hope that McKinnon writes a third, since both Remains and Domain have some serious loose ends to tie up.
on 23 November 2011
I had been looking to read this book for ages, so I finally gave in and took the plunge. I'm glad I did. The book starts with a desperate group of survivors hiding in a warehouse, surrounded by the rotting dead, in some unknown city. Sarah, the female lead, is about to kill herself when something stops her - I'll stop there! From start to finish this a unapologetic, balls-to-the-wall zombie story that thinks nothing of killing off characters just as you start getting to know them - you really have no idea who will survive. These are old-school zombies, shambling, cannibalistic undead that only possess the urge to feed on human flesh. It reminded me of an Eighties' horror film, and I kept thinking of George Romero's Day of the Dead whilst reading this. Not a bad thing at all as I've always thought it's the best of Romero's movies. In fact, I wish Romero had made a film out of this instead of 'Diary' or 'Survival of the Dead'.
There's a bleak, despondent atmosphere throughout, even during the scenes of relative peace. You can feel something terrible approaching on each page. That itself is an achievement, and it's masterfully done. There's plenty of action, gore and violence, which is not to say the story's not intelligent - this isn't a 'dumb' horror story, not in the least; the scientific theories exchanged between some of the characters about the origin of the undead virus make for fascinating reading.
Aside from that, I would have liked a little more backstory about Sarah, Nathan, Bates and Angel, but there's still enough substance to the characters that you care about them.
Can't wait to read the sequel!
on 9 September 2010
I brought Domain of the Dead in a batch of UK-based Zombie/Post-apocalyptic novel purchases, mainly after it sat in my 'maybe' list for so long that curiosity won me over in the end. I had read the other reviews and was always tempted, but feared that I had overdosed on US-centric ZPAW action with J.L.Bourne's DBDA series and Z. A. Recht's Morningstar Saga - assuming that it would deliver the same stuff.
To be honest, it does (to a degree) give you what you expect - but after reading so many different incarnations, and 're-inventions' of the genre - I actually found a return to the good 'ole zombie story cathartic, or maybe it just reminded me of what I liked about it all in the first place?
Domain of the Dead delivers what other people have said previously in reviews, and I really enjoyed reading the story (1st sub-24 hour book in a while). I really do hope that the author finds enough inspiration to write a sequel, and that, despite the temptation, it remains true to the genre that is constantly being blurred. A refreshing retrospective that I would highly recommend to all fans, or newcomers alike.
on 31 October 2010
This is such a fast in your face read, I read it cover to cover in one sitting, its fast paced but not so much that you cannot keep up, the characters are believable and the prose is written in such a way that you can imagine life for each of them, something sadly lacking from other zombie type novels, the writer has not just concentrated on the horror but also on the person and their own private nightmares....
I too would have liked a longer read, probably because I'm a fast reader, but it had the hairs on the back of my neck going, made me want to rip through the pages and I cannot wait for the next instalment, reliably informed should be next year....
Lets hope there are more UK writers out there, this book is such a refreshing change from the splatterfest, guts cringeing (whilst good), bit of plot always helps....type of the genre.....
The sleeve is wonderful, art effects brilliant, you are really getting a quality novel here, crafted to perfection....
Fantastic book, 10/10,
on 7 February 2012
This book starts off a few years after the outbreak, a group of survivors have barricaded themselves in a warehouse but are running out of food. After seeing a helicopter landing at a distance they decide to make a run for it and try reach it, they are then taken to a ship and as you can guess before you know there is an outbreak.
I would say that this was almost 5 stars from me however only reason why it is not is the long never ending chemistry/biology or whatever lesson in the middle of the book. There was just no need for that... I actually had to skip it in the end as it was driving me insane.
All in all I would recommend this book though it had suspense which I liked as you just know something is going to happen but don't know when and how. It also ended with a cliffhanger, so I'm expecting this to be resolved in the second part (which i read is actually about the second group that was left behind).
on 10 May 2009
The plot was very good but the characters were a bit thin. I prefer a book that makes me want to get to the end of it, not a book that I feel is trying to get me to the end of it. The main grievance I have with this book is how badly edited it was. I even got a pen to mark out where new paragraphs and chapters should have begun. I had to reread paragraphs because they didn't make sense; because of lack of new paragraphs/chapters the different scenes bled into one another. Silly typos such as of/off and there/their got to me also. A shame really because the story had some fresh twists and clever ideas. Worth reading for the zombie fan but don't expect anything as good as Z.A Recht
on 23 July 2010
I know when I look for a zombie books I want it to be Romero friendly. That's no wizards, ghosts, aliens, superheroes etc. This one passes on that and is 100% Romero friendly.
I have the earlier edition of this book which has some really cringable spelling errors in it. I trust that's been sorted in this edition as they were only minor errors like to/too/two and off/of but they just kept happening over and over again.
The story is good but there's lots of room for a 2nd book of what happened to the other party that were left behind at the start of the book. And then a 3rd book of both lots of survivors together again. Otherwise without more books I would say the ending was a bit open ended.