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This review is from: The Undead Day Fourteen (Kindle Edition)
The weather finally breaks in 14, along with any notion for the readers that only the good and the strong survive. Day 14 contains some truly horrific acts and some utterly reprehensible characters. Sustained threat and deeply unsavoury human evil makes this, at times an uncomfortable but sadly realistic read. The greatest battles to come in this story world will not just be with zombies but with fellow survivors whose vision of a new world order is startlingly different from Howie's own.
I love this instalment in the Undead Saga. Proving again that this serial drama has more legs than a horde of undead, RR Haywood walks off with yet another cult hit. How does he keep doing it? I don't know but I'm so glad he does. This is now, without question, my favourite series. In recent months I've swerved Lee Child and Joe Hill, both firm favourites with new releases and chosen to read segments of the Undead first- the series is that good.
Without becoming even remotely formulaic, we have a pattern emerging with the tales- we have ongoing, rip snorting engagement with the main storyline but we also have individual story arcs that deepen our understanding, feelings and interest in the individuals that make up the cast of characters. This is firmly Nick's book.
I've found Nick one of the more engaging and interesting of Howie's crew so I was delighted that he got the chance to shine. It speaks to the strength of the writing that every single character is intriguing, fascinating and individual, contributing to the stunning mosaic that forms the backdrop to the action.
The monumental battle at the end of Day 13 which led to separation of our main gang, gives opportunity for individuals to once again speak in their own voices. Nick dominates this narrative with a thrilling adventure all his own. Strong moral purpose, heart-in-mouth set pieces and ample evidence that a soldiers best weapon is his brain makes this a tour de force. I applaud the author for challenging stereotypes with Nick too, proving that intellect and literary prowess are not remotely linked. A dyslexic hero for our times.
I've been thinking long and hard about someone new coming to this series and having that reaction of "Oh my word, there's 14 of them?! How can it be any good?!" I'd refer you to an alternate medium, the kind of storytelling most of us engage with without even thinking of it as such- consider strong, quality TV like Breaking Bad, 24, Sons Of Anarchy. The Undead saga is a new breed of entertainment, like those in book form. Superb set-up; complex characters; amazing writing; some episodic resolutions but an overarching story that briskly and surely carries the action on through the series. And every single one ends with possibilities or cliff-hangers, making the reader long for more.
The quality of writing only gets stronger as the series continues and a rich linguistic playfulness comes to the fore in 14. The quality of story only gets richer with innovation and humour aplenty. The yanking of ephemera front and centre to give innovative action possibilities continues... For example, what on earth happens to safari parks in the zombie apocalypse? You'll find out with more lions, tigers and bears than you can shake a stick (or an axe) at!
This is a sure-fire, cult hit of a series that those of us discovering it now will one day, surely, if there is any justice in this world, be able to say we were there at the start when this is finally optioned for traditional publication, TV or film serialisation and the name of RR Haywood becomes as justly renowned as it should be. Thanks Mr Haywood- another classy, funny, exciting, moving hit. We love you, even if the publishing world doesn't-yet. But as surely as Dave can wield a knife, they will- oh yes they will.