Top critical review
I wanted more of an action-packed zombie-infested Dead Island world
on 8 April 2013
I thought I'd give this book a shot as I'm hugely enjoying the Dead Island game (apart from a glitch where it crashed and lost all my accumulated equipment, weapons, and money!). The story introduces the characters from the game with a little background info to build their worlds up ~ it actually uses the first three chapters to reach the point where you begin gameplay ~ and then it follows them through the narrative with references to recognisable parts of the game.
Unfortunately I feel that it neither adheres faithfully to the 'reality' of the game world, nor steps away enough to create a strong credible novel in its own right. As a game fan I was disappointed that most familiar places have changed in the transfer from game to book. For example the hotel is now right by a main shopping street, the stone-built church is now a dilapidated wooden structure, the geography is completely different, main characters have disappeared, and key game experiences have changed. I don't see why someone would defamiliarise the world like this when the setting is so key to feel of the game world. For me it felt like it was written by someone with a hint of experience of this game world but had nothing of any real depth, and it skims through the game scenario touching just enough to be an 'official' Dead Island tie-in novel. It does give some more depth to the characters, which is interesting, but there doesn't seem to be enough substance to the narrative or storyline. There's plenty of gore, as there is in the game, but not really a whole lot of zombies, and I felt that it lacked a real in-depth experience and certainly the feeling of suspense that Dead Island gameplay gives so generously.
I'm currently on chapter 19 of 24, and heading rapidly towards the end. I've gotten just past the point that I've reached in the game (or re-reached, after the annoying bug crashed and lost my saved level). I'm now not sure whether to read on for the sake of completing the book, and perhaps spoil the game in the process, or put it to one side and play on.
I bought this book hoping to extend my experience of the Dead Island world, which I think is amazing, but for me the book has so much less in it that I'd rather just fire up the xbox and explore new areas of the game as I feel that I'd get more out of it. At least I'd encounter plenty of zombies, and discover things I didn't know were on the island rather than simply ticking the boxes of storyline.
Overall I really wanted to like this book a lot after raving so much about the game, but I'm afraid that it just didn't do that much for me.