- Paperback: 210 pages
- Publisher: Ragnarok Publications (1 Oct. 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1941987702
- ISBN-13: 978-1941987704
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,728,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Last Days of Salton Academy Paperback – 1 Oct 2016
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About the Author
Jennifer Brozek is a Hugo Award-nominated editor and an award-winning author. Winner of the Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication, Jennifer has edited fifteen anthologies with more on the way, including the acclaimed Chicks Dig Gaming and Shattered Shields anthologies. Author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, Industry Talk, the Karen Wilson Chronicles, and the Melissa Allen series, she has more than sixty published short stories, and is the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.
Top customer reviews
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I love a good end-of-the-world story. Some may regard post-apocalyptic fiction as tired and overdone, but I’m endlessly fascinated; it’s a subgenre rife with possibilities, wide open for new takes on old ideas. And I don’t even mind the occasional z-word.
‘The Last Days of Salton Academy’ by Bram Stoker-nominated author Jennifer Brozek starts out with an interesting premise: a prep school, put into lockdown in the days following ‘the Outbreak’ – a virus which causes zombiefication in those it infects. A handful of students and faculty remain alive and well, kept safe by the Academy walls, and sustained on a fast-depleting stash of supplies. It starts well: the perspective cycles through a cast of varied and (mostly) interesting characters, setting up – among other things - the first rumblings of a rebellion. A group of students unhappy with what they view as ham-fisted leadership at the hands of Principal Swenson decide to take matters into their own hands. Quite literally.
From here, the story dives into a Lord of the Flies-esque world of distrust and paranoia. Factions are forming, and the previously cohesive micro-society begins to break down – especially when a group of students are sent outside the walls to scavenge. At this point, a very strange plot decision is made, involving a student whose storyline had previously struck me as unusual and interesting – a boy crippled by rheumatoid arthritis, whose medication is about to run out. The plot twist comes entirely out of left field, and left me scratching my head. The story then proceeds down a rabbit hole of seemingly random violence, murders which make less and less sense as matters spiral out of hand, and the trigger-happy dispatch of characters who were just becoming interesting. It’s reminiscent of the Point Horror books I used to read as a young adult – and of course, as a 30 year old (albeit a 30 year old who enjoys YA fiction), I remind myself that I am not the target audience for this story. It may be that for another reader, the high drama and unrelenting tension of the book’s latter half might make up for the increasingly incoherent plot.
‘The Last Days of Salton Academy’ has bright moments, and a great deal of potential, some of which is snuffed out before it ever gets a chance to shine. However, the ‘Walking Dead’ style slaughter and teen slasher movie paranoia may hold enough appeal for some readers that the little details are rendered essentially unimportant.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In any sort of zombie apocalypse, there would be countless little enclaves, spots of at least temporary safety. Most of these would eventually collapse. In "The Last Days of Salton Academy," Jennifer Brozek shows us quite credibly how that could happen. The answer is less about zombies than it is about human frailty. Ultimately, it is good intentions ruthlessly applied that start the dominos falling and lead to the collapse of the titular school.
If you'll forgive minor spoilers, read on. The headmaster is in denial about the severity of the situation and doesn't lead at all. This leads to fear and uncertainty throughout the academy. Two students (two of just three non-white students remaining at the school) are worried that as things become more dire, they'll be ostracized by the others due to their race. To hedge their bets, they begin stealing food from the Commons pantry. This leads to a student leader realizing that they don't have enough food to make it through the winter, and he recruits others to take drastic measures to ensure that they have only as many mouths on hand as can be fed.
From here, each step further into the abyss is arrived at logically by the parties involved. There are no Negans here. No Terminus cannibals or Woodbury Governors. It's not so much malevolence that is the problem: it's hubris, inattention, misinterpretation, lack of discipline, and ruthless utilitarianism that are the culprits. Only one person can be rightly described as a villain (a serial rapist professor). Even Jeff, the student who initiates the plan that ultimately destroys the academy isn't a villain (Brozek accurately describes him as an antagonist rather than a bad guy). Rather, he makes the decisions he makes out of a desire to save as many people as he can.
The characters and motives are generally credible, and when characters make fatal mistakes, they're mistakes that are quite believable given that they're teenagers rather than trained infantrymen (failure to properly clear a house outside the walls has tragic consequences, for example, as does failure to check one person for hidden wounds).
In short, I highly recommend this novel.
The basics: after a zombie outbreak, kids and adults get trapped in a private school.
It doesn't really focus on the zombies, which is refreshing because I am honestly sick of zombies. Instead it focuses on the kids and how they survive, or don't. I liked it a lot.
As a YA novel it's problematic. There's more sex than you would expect. There's a male teacher that preys on the girls. Also, a conversation between two adults that discuss graphically sec toys, namely anal beads and what have you. That's a first for my in YA.
This quick novella is absolutely BRUTAL with its characters, as any good Zombie Apocalypse story should be. It does not follow "Zombie story" conventions, all the rules for who lives and who dies are right out the window. (And good riddance!) I can't say anything more without spoilers, so I'll just say that this is a quick read. Good for a short flight, or drive.