5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: City of the Dead (Mass Market Paperback)
What's fast becoming a habit with me - I seem to pick up books that are either part of a series or a sequel and not realize it until it's too late. I've looked all over the cover, the back cover, the inside pages - pretty much anywhere and everywhere the book could possibly tell the reader that this is a direct sequel to THE RISING - but it's not there. But does that matter? In the case of CITY OF THE DEAD - it turns out to be something of a plus when it comes to reading it. All the build up, backstory, break down and plotting of the first book is all in the past by the time the first few pages fly by (although some backstory, problems and unresolved issues do crop up in later chapters) leaving the reader with just "the payoff" - an outright battle between the teeming masses of the dead and the remaining few of the living.
The largest plot point from the previous book - THE QUEST TO FIND DANNY - by his father Jim is resolved early on, from that point on Danny becomes dead weight. He's just along for the ride now and adds nothing to the story - in fact, it must be a bit of a dissapointment for Danny to turn out to be nothing more than just a kid. Having not read THE RISING - I'm sure much of the book was eaten up by the quest of Jim to get to his son at all costs. To have him just be part of the background then is a waste. I kept thinking that had Danny been older, been able to handle a weapon (although he does wield a baseball bat very well), or had some kind of story of his own he might have helped to move the story along a different track. As it is, this is a very linear story filled with often brutal violence and gore that we've all come to expect (and even to love). Some novel twists abound in the book and you get what you pay for - Action! Action! Action!
But in-between all the action(!) there's still something of a story to tell and for the most part it falls flat. Pretty much everyone is made from the same gore stained and torn cloth laid out by Romero's DEAD series. We are given a central zombie here to "boo and hiss" at by the way of OB - and he chews up the pages pretty much the same way he does people - he's over the top, too borad, boastful, loud and self assured (he's almost a Bond Villain) - nothing we haven't seen before in these kinds of books (or movies), but OB does stand out from others that have come before him (such as FLAGG from King's THE STAND) by doing one thing and doing one thing very well. While most Zombie Lords or Elder Gods would waste their time (and yours) talking you to death - OB manages to not only talk you to death, but takes action as well. He acts, reacts, moves, organizes and actually achieves his goals. The book ends on a serious down note here people - but at the same time a kind of high as well since we do have a clear cut victory. Great work there - unexpected, and much appreciated on this end.
In the end there are some great moments here (some lifted directly from DAWN OF THE DEAD - you'll know it when it happens - and a tone and feel found in John Skipp and Craig Spector's works - there is a THE BRIDGE vibe going on by the end of the book. I think there is also an homage to a short story by King called HOME DELIVERY as well), and if you're a fan of zombies, action(!), gore and dark endings - then CITY OF THE DEAD has a room ready and waiting for you.