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on 4 January 2014
So often scoffed at by the uninitiated, blogging has become a pivotal way in which we as a society spread our news and views. With the medium now so prominent, it makes sense that, if an apocalypse ever was to dawn, at least some survivors would turn to the blogosphere for some much-needed advice and guidance.

And in Madeleine Roux's novel, Allison Hewitt is Trapped, that is exactly what the eponymous heroine decides to do. The book begins with Allison and a small group of survivors trapped in the backroom of a book store. Roaming the main shop and the dishevelled streets outside are swarms of shuffling undead, each of them as hungry as they are gruesomely described. In the face of such relentless horror, Allison turns to the mysterious SNet, a surviving internet connection, in order to document her group's ordeal and to seek help from other users.

The novel's, written-as-a-blog format certainly makes for a fresh take on the zombie genre, and the comments at the end of Allison's posts from other survivors really add to the appeal, and to the book's ability to draw the reader in. However, the format is far more than a gimmick; giving Allison a way to vent her inner most feelings really adds to the experience, and, interestingly, it even feeds into the plot when other characters realise she's using precious power to run her laptop and to write about them.

Allison herself is an excellent character; determined yet caring, ruthless but saddled with a conscience. The supporting characters are also developed beautifully and are undeniable proof that Allison Hewitt is Trapped is an excellent idea, brilliantly executed.
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With Zombie books all the rage they tend to be either out and out hard-core slay fests or a comedic version set to entertain. Whilst this title by Madeleine does has the qualities of a Romero film, the overall arc of this title is about the survival of the titles female lead as she seeks to help her friends find a safe location to wait out the days that the undead walk the earth. Unlike other titles out there, the undead have a certain lifespan and as such, if no feeding occurs they weaken and die. I like that in a title as it demonstrates that there are some realistic tendencies with this work. Add to that additional blog posts from readers of the blog and you know that it's got all sorts of arty touches that really will strike a nerve with many readers the world over.

Finally, what Madeleine does well is present a story with a great lead, has a decent support cast and clearly demonstrates throughout that she plays for keeps as the events unwind. That said however, my only real problem with the book is that at the beginning you know that what occurs within is looked back upon in hindsight and as such means that during a lot of the story the tales lead is in very little danger until we creep towards the end which is when the tension, to quote Spinal Tap, cranks right up to 11.

It is definitely something new, it has some great prose and when backed with realistic dialogue and an author who will deal in the unpleasant (Bucket Toilet duties) then you know a great deal of thought and planning has gone on before which will make this title definitely one for the Urban Fantasist out there and a title that will threaten as much as engulf the reader's imagination.
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on 3 February 2013
Top notch. Allison Hewitt is trapped in the staff room of a bookshop as the zombie outbreak rages outside. She cant stay there forever. She needs to get to saftey and to find her mum. Character driven frightening and funny I couldnt put it down.
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on 18 November 2011
'Allison Hewitt is Trapped' is just fantastic. I was absorbed after just a couple of chapters and didn't want to put the book down. Allison is a great character, she's spunky and real - a woman I would like to be if the world was overrun with the undead. She's scared of everything going on around her but she's brave, not afraid to fight and put her life on the line for others.

Allison is locked inside the break room because it has the strongest door in the department store, which means They can't get in. There are also surveillance cameras which are used to keep an eye on what's going on in the store, it's a helpful tool to be able to see where the zombies are, especially when you have to do a food run. Allison is not the only one in the break room. There are five other people who she's sharing the small room with and they are all very different, but all very realistic, personalities.

The relationships between the characters is as close to real-life as you would imagine in such a situation, there's no gun-ho stud with a shotgun over his shoulder, instead it's a skinny chinese guy with broken glasses and a baseball bat. It's a store manager and his golf clubs, it's Allison who's weapon of choice is an axe.

The novel is actually the content of Allison's blog, which she updates regularly, and uses to connect with other survivors. And although I was a little skeptical of this format at first, wondering how the flow of the story would be and how the dialogue would work etc, but I needn't have worried. It's brilliantly written and I couldn't stop myself from reading chapter after chapter - it was very addictive reading.

Eventually Allison and her co-survivors have to leave the break room. Lives are lost, friends are killed and she is longing to know if her mother is safe or one of the undead. I really went on Allison's journey with her and felt every emotion of despair, hope, anger, and complete bewilderment of the circumstances.

From the moment I met the characters in the break room until the end of the novel, which sees Allison far from where she began, it really feels like a long pilgrimage. I could feel Allison and the other survivors become weary, harder, jaded, and their actions and decisions reflect all those feelings. Although Allison does some very bad things I understand why and don't judge her for them.

There is love between certain characters, including Allison but it's written with sensitivity. It's understated romance - there are no sexual scenes and hardly any kissing, it's all shown through Allison's words on her blog and it's believable, tender and heartwarming. There's a lot of heart to this book and I enjoyed it immensely.


'Allison Hewitt is Trapped' is an emotional rollar coaster and the ending was so perfectly bittersweet it brought tears to my eyes. It's a fast-paced read with believable characters and convincing story that will move you and because of this you want Allison, and the other characters, to succeed and survive. This is no ordinary zombie novel. It's fresh and original and I just loved it.

This book is a must read for fans of horror, urban fantasy and zombie fiction. It's a story that stayed with me for many days after I'd finished it, and a book like that stays on my shelf forever.

I gave this book 9/10 on[...]
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VINE VOICEon 3 February 2012

Okay, apparently I needed 19 more words for this review before it would be published. So, I repeat. Wow!

There. 20 words. That's all you really need to know. You should be hitting the Add to Cart/Buy with 1 click button already, but if not maybe I'll continue.

As a reader, it's very easy to stick to the same authors. You read a book, you enjoy a book, you get a new book by the same person - but where's the fun in that really? At some point, someone has to try the new authors out. So that's what I've been doing for a while now; scrolling through the recommendation pages on here (and also at librarything) for similar reads. I've found some pretty amazing stuff by people I wouldn't normally look at.

This book was recommended based on the absolutely amazing Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy 1) by Mira Grant. if you've not read that series, you should. It took only a couple of paragraphs of the sample of this book for me to know that it would be a hit. A full price book, from a new author - it's a gamble in a world where so much rubbish exists.

I read this in 3 days. I couldn't put it down. I'm just about to buy the sequel: Sadie Walker is Stranded (Zombie Novel 2), and I hope there will be more after that.

This book is written in a very similar style to Mira Grant's series, which is great as I'm really struggling to be patient waiting for the third in that series to be released.

The characters are likeable. They draw you in quickly and quietly and before you know it you don't want to see anything bad happen to them. There are twists and turns aplenty, and lots of blood.

The only thing I didn't notice, which you expect to see on all blog posts - is someone commenting "First". Without that, it just didn't seem convincing :)

I cannot recommend this book enough. I tried to give it to you in one word. I then tried 20 words. I've now written my own book length review. If you are still here, why? Go now, buy the book, read the book, enjoy the book.
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on 24 October 2013
Could also be called "child misses mother, learns to love axe".

This is an attempt to show the human side to the mass devastation that would be a zombie invasion - it's about coming to terms with grief and adapting ones self to an entirely new world. Relationships are fleeting and, given the circumstances, bonds are formed quickly.

I didn't really enjoy this book, mainly because I had a strong dislike for the main character. I found that she lacked depth, was something of a cliche, and I couldn't buy into her story. The people around her were more interesting, yet even the ones that she spent a greater amount of time with felt under developed. To this end I can only say that it's bad when one of the more fleshed out characters is a dog.

The blog post format also didn't work for me, not because she strayed from a traditional blog format, but because every chapter ended with stupid, gushing comments (Isaac especially wound me up). Perhaps the story was also undermined for me by the very premise of a blog - the world as we know it has ended... Thank God the internet still works. Yeah.

I can't say that the book didn't engage me, I can say it left me disappointed. It felt like a good idea had been rushed.
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on 29 April 2015
I keep saying that I don't like zombies and yet I keep coming back to zombie books. I may need to examine my opinion more closely. In any case this deserves a solid four stars for being a perfectly balanced and well paced survival story. I don't think you can call it a romp in any sense of the word because the stakes are just too high but I enjoyed this with the same excitement and feel-good factor as a family film. ( possibly that says more about me...) Allison kicks ass but is very low key about how awesome she is, so much so that it's only when a character later lists her deeds that you realise that yeah this girl rocks and is not a pathetic, beaten down victim but a survivor in the true sense of the word.

She's also flawed and vulnerable and makes mistakes. Who wouldn't in that situation? Despite one or two acts that many would find inexcusable, I found myself thinking 'I'd have killed them cleanly but I get why she did that'. Best of all she doesn't lose her compassion and courage through it all, just finds better ways to direct them.

This is a book for anyone who likes a strong female lead, a great survival story or is a bit of a zombie fanatic, I already have the next book - hope it's as good.
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on 6 February 2013
Interesting take on the zombie apocalypse genre; a woman, fleeing the invasion, chronicles her adventures through an online blog made possible by emergency army wireless internet. Not the most realistic scenario, but written well nonetheless. The book shows not only the issues of surviving the zombies, but the effects this new world would have on morals, relationships, religious beliefs and social hierarchy. Very entertaining.
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on 22 October 2015
As a blogger, I presume that if the world ended my blog would go bye-bye but Allison Hewitt, the kick ass, axe weilding heroine of this novel shows that not only can you survive a zombie apocalypse you can also maintain your blog presence and get new readers too, awesome!

Seriously though, this is a "bloody" great book, Allison works in a book store and when the dead start kicking off and picking off people, she holes up behind a great big thick door with some of her colleagues.

Nothing tests a work friendship more than being stuck together with limited food and toilet facilities, oh and clashing personalities, thankfully Allison seems to be the most level headed out of her colleagues. She keeps going and she keeps a record on her blog, documenting each day and event, and in the process keeping in touch with fellow survivors.

The comments coming in from fellow survivors paint a bleak picture and the more she reads, the more she realises they can't stay in the bookshop. The story follows Allison and her friends as they try and survive, as they find shelter and provisions, as they try and avoid the zombies all around but of course there are much worse things out there than zombies - other people.

Other people are a bunch of s***s, some are good but a lot are just plain crazy and Allison meets her fair share. To be honest though I think I would be more worried about my ass than my laptop but communication is the key to survival in this story and on each post you not only get a view of what Allison goes through you get to see how others are fairing via her comments.

I forgot to mention she picks up a dog on her travels too which I love and hate because I worry about the dog, will it survive, will it turn in to a zombdog....you get the idea, dogs in any books are a bad idea for me as it will make me flick to the end to make sure the dog is still alive. I mean I have seen Independence Day more times than I would care to admit and I still get tears in my eyes every time that dog jumps from the car with the fire ball behind him....anyway I digress.

This is a great addition to your zombie bookshelf, yes it has the usual blood and gore, but it also has humour, real issues like going to the loo when zombies are about, well written characters with personalities that come to life on the pages and it has a decent story with characters you can actually care about. Well worth a read!
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on 25 March 2012
Fantastic!! Fantastic!! Fantastic!! Fantastic!! Fantastic!!

Man did I love this book. I have to say at first I wasn't sure how I was gonna feel about the blog format but I loved it. It really worked. It didn't affect the flow at all and I liked the little comments posted by people following her blog. That really helped you connect with this being a world wide event.

The story begins with Allison and some of her co-workers being trapped in the break room of the bookstore where they all work. They are running out of food and using the cctv they can see the walking dead around them. Allison is asking for help, but I think even she realises that there is no help coming, if she wants to be saved, she's going to have to do it herself.
I hadn't read any reviews before reading this so as far as I knew the whole story would take place in the break room, thank God it didn't...... Eventually Allison and her friends know they have to leave and decide to make a home for themselves in the appartments above the shop. I sensed this wouldn't be safe and alas it wasn't. Once again they have to leave and try to escape the infected and find safety.

Allison moves from place to place, meeting new people, some trustworthy and some not, making new friends and losing people. This book really doesn't shy away from the reality of a situation like Allisons'. The author is happy to make you fall in love with a character and then despair at their untimely demise. I felt quite sad on a few occasions at the loss of a favourite character. It is quite grim in parts, it sometimes seems like there is nowhere for them to go or too many obsticles in their way but Allison keeps fighting, to save herself and to try to save others. She becomes a true heroine and her fighting spirit almost never seems to wane. She takes all the disappointments, horror, loss and physical pain and battle through, keeping her eye on the prize, finding her Mom and finding safety.

One thing I really liked was this was not just another zombie book. It wasn't just page after page of people being eaten. There was as much danger from other survivors as there was from the undead, people become capable of the most unspeakable evils in their battle to survive. Sometimes it is just people becomming lost, not sure what to do but in other cases it is evil people using the situation to hurt others, rather than help when they can. It is very interesting reading about how people cope, how some aim to build new socities where people can rebuild and be safe and others want to take it all for themselves. There is romance in this book but it is more based on a survivors connection and isn't thrown in there for no reasone, it's written beautifully and believably.

As the book goes on it becomes more intense, the battles become harder, the obsticles bigger and you really wonder what will happen to all these people you have grown to care about. I read the last quater without stopping as I had to know what was going to happen. There were twists and turns, old faces returning, people dying who you really don't want to die. It ends brilliantly, there's no big cheesy happy ending, it ends the way it should and I was very happy with it.

All in all this was an excellent book from an excellent writer, I can't wait to read the follow up book "Sadie Walker is Stranded". If you are fan of the zombie genre then this really is one you can't miss.
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