Life can be a gamble. In fact, life is full of gambles. Every decision we make has direct consequences, whether they are obvious or not. David Moody took a massive gamble when he unleashed his zombie novel Autumn on the internet for FREE. The gamble paid off and more than half a million downloads, a handful of sequels and movie deals later, Moody has the kind of acclaim that many authors can only dream of.
With that kind of hype, I was wary about reading Autumn but from the opening page, Moody had my attention. There's no gentle preamble to ease you in and introduce the characters going about their previously mundane lives; Autumn drops you in at zero hour of an unexplained outbreak.
I don't recall the word "zombie" being used within the book at all and although Autumn is described as "the hit zombie novel" on the front cover, I would suggest that Moody's undead, so far, are a little different to the zombie of modern pop culture. However, there is no doubt that in Autumn, the dead have risen...
Interestingly, I found that the absence of the word "zombie" or the fact that clearly none of the characters had ever seen a Romero flick concerning. The world created by Moody in Autumn is incredibly believable, with very ordinary people who are subjected to extraordinary and horrific circumstances at the centre of proceedings.
The language employed by the author on the whole, is straightforward yet incredibly illustrative. I could picture every event and location narrated within the book. It is with the depiction of the undead that I would suggest that Moody comes into his own. Where many authors would simply rely on the use of the word "zombie" or the term "walking dead" to illustrate their point, Moody employs graphic descriptions of decaying flesh, diseased corpses; and as the novel advances, the state of putrefaction of the undead progresses also.
Those readers looking for a mindless action horror novel will be left disappointed by Autumn. Although the book has more than its fair share of imminent peril and impending doom for the central characters, Moody is in no rush to tell his story and for that, I am grateful. With Autumn, Moody has created a compelling, character driven zombie tale and although the undead are very much omni-present, the book very much focuses on the actions and consequences thereof for the individuals at the heart of the story and how they deal with the situation in which they find themselves. Moreover, Moody deals admirably with the various emotions that people in such an extreme situation would invariably be going through, principally: fear, despair and grief at the loss of their former life and all of their loved ones.
I would suggest to you that Autumn's power lies with its characters and the very real situation they find themselves in. There are no ex-special forces commandos among the survivors, no treasure trove of weapons to be found to aid their cause. These are ordinary people in a horrific situation, dealing with it as best they can, with varying degrees of success.
At under 300 pages and very well-written, it will take you no time at all to consume Autumn which starts strong and finishes powerfully; and its not a book that you're likely to forget and I for one cannot wait to see what the rest of the Autumn series has in store.
I was up most of last night finishing this book - couldn't put it down - hence my zombie-like performance in work today. The book is set in the UK and centres on three main characters after a mysterious and devastating episode renders the majority of the population dead - or kind of dead. The pace of the narrative echoes the transformations of the undead and ends in a thrilling climax.
If you can accept the concept of the walking dead then the tale is quite realistic i.e. problems securing a hideout, sourcing food and other essentials and problems too dealing with the hysteria of other survivors. I really enjoyed this book, liked that it was set in the UK with British characters and I couldn't put it down. I would have given it five stars had I not predicted the final outcome but it didn't detract from a very exciting tale .
This Ministry of Zombie's review is based on a copy of Autumn bought from the Horror in East Event in Lowestoft UK in November 2013.
The zombie novel Autumn has been around for a few years now and indeed been through a few different versions including free online. Now with publisher Gollanz - I thought it was time I formally reviewed what is widely regarded as one of the best UK zombie novels out there.
Firstly, I think the book would be better described as a survival novel rather than a zombie one. Sure, there are thousands of the walking dead in it but the action focuses on the desperate struggle to survive in the aftermath of a devastating plague.
Secondly, I don't want to include any spoilers in this review but the zombie action takes time to develop for reasons you'll find out in the story. This is not slasher fiction. This is a serious novel which happens to have zombies in it.
Moody's style is straight-forward and clear - his dialogue crisp and accurate. He lures you in with the tale of bunch of survivors and before you know it, you've holding out with a small group of them in an isolated farmhouse. One of Moody's strengths is that he never tries to do too much in a book, you're carried along with the story - there are shocks and twists for sure but you're never confused and that's refreshing these days when so many writers over-cook things.
Autumn is above all a character-driven story, it's a survival story set in a world of the dead. The UK setting is perfect for those of us based here but won't stop international readers enjoying it. If you are looking for an epic zombie novel which forms part of a sweeping story arc then Autumn is where you should be start. You can be sure that the rest of the series is complete & ready for you. I'm moving onto the follow up next.
Saying any one book is the `best zombie novel' is always going to be subjective. But for me, I like a clear style, relevant action and a pervasive foreboding in my horror books - Autumn delivers this and so for me it is the best zombie novel out there.
Early one September morning a mystery virus wipes out billions of people in a matter of seconds. There is no warning, and people die instantly. A handful of survivors find themselves in a world where civilisation has come to an abrupt end. As the days pass, something even more disturbing happens. The dead start to get up and walk around, and, as they gradually evolve, they eventually begin to attack the few remaining living. This is intelligent, fast-paced horror, with characters you care about. Inevitable comparisons have been made to George A Romero's classic Living Dead films, but I also found great similarities with John Wyndham's "The Day Of The Triffids", and in one scene where one of the survivors, Michael, has to try and move amongst the walking corpses undetected, "The Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers". The action of the book centres entirely around Carl, Emma and Michael, and we are told virtually nothing about what has happened to the rest of the world, or what has caused this bizarre pandemic, but that doesn't matter, (as I assume we get told more later in the series anyway). And I look forward to reading them.
Although I have never really been a huge fan of the zombie/b movie type of book, I do like to dip into one now and again. The last I read was ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and thought it a really awful read. But when looking through a second hand book store I came across ‘Autumn’ and thought I would give it a try. Looking at the other reviews this seems to be very much a love it or hate it book with many ratings from the extremes of both sides. I suppose that it will depend what you are expecting to get from the read. If you approach it wanting some gritty drama or in depth plot then you will probably be disappointed, but if you are looking for some escapism into a cataclysmic world full of death and gore you will love it.
So what’s it about? A deadly virus has struck the USA (maybe the world) that causes death within a few minutes. The unlucky individual has a very gory end that involves plenty of blood and pain. All across the country there are homes, work places and public areas where people are dropping like flies. Strangely though, there does seem to be the odd few that are immune to the disease. These survivors are spread far and wide and as they wander through the decimated landscape, start to gel together in groups. Whilst trying to decide what their next step should be an odd thing happens, some of the corpses begin to move; at first wandering aimlessly but with each passing day they seem to be getting more self aware and through the sheer numbers pose a threat. A decision needs to be made, do they stay holed up in a potential ‘safe’ house or should they make a break for open country where hopefully the undead will be less in number. But more importantly, what would you do?
Although described as a Zombie novel, this really does the book an injustice; it is as much about survival and the different ways in which people cope with a changing world (and undead walking around every corner). I can’t remember even seeing the word zombie except on the cover, so if you are fed up with the seemingly daft theme of ‘dead people trying to eat the living’ storyline, then Autumn offers something different.
I absolutely loved this book, the speech at times was a little wooden, but the writing was short, sharp and to the point. The atmosphere really does build and actually gets quite creepy at times. I cared what happened to the characters and found myself rooting for them, more than I usually do when reading a book, so much so that I went straight out and ordered the next books in the series.
This is an unusual book. It is really an "End of Civilisation" book with zombies thrown in.
This is not what I expect of a zombie book. There is no gory action. In fact, although the zombies are aggressive, there is no indication that they are even man-eating.
The story concentrates on the plight of a few survivors in a zombie filled world. The story concentrates on the actions of a handful of individuals, dealing mainly with characterisation and the characters need to survive. The zombies are just an additional element that compliates survival more than it would normally.
The story was good and I found it easy to read and in places it was quite exciting. However, it did feel to some extent that the zombies weren't necessary especially as they do not seem to be as strong or ravenous as the typcial man-eating zombie. The lack of gory action, may be a put off for some.
So if you are looking for gory zombie action, you wont get that in this book. But if you are looking for a horror survival novel without gory action that concentrates on characterisation, you may like this.
I really enjoyed the story. It's well paced and intriguing. A definate page turner and I have to say I am glad there are more books in this series, I can't wait to read them.
However, I have to say the constant use of the word words "pitiful" and pathetic drove me insane. The phrase "pitiful/pathetic creatures" must be in this book a hundred times.
There are a list of other words he could have used to describe the zombies in this book yet constantly the same phrase cropped up. In one instance I saw the word "pitiful" used twice, in adjacent sentences. Which is a pet hate of mine when it comes to writing.
I found it funny how the author lacked descriptive skills when it came to the zombies but had no problem in using "big words" that stood out like a sore thumb based on the surrounding lack of expressive terminology. For me, it was an annoyance and did have me sighing outloud in parts but over all....great story! I will be reading the rest of the books. However, I will be filling in my own descriptions next time I see the words "pitiful" or "pathetic" pop up!
David Moody is an etremely talented writer who can take a situation like a "zombie" apocalypse and write a story that is both believable and amazing. I'm a fan of horror and many other genres, and after reading Autumn, David Moody has become one of my favorite authors of all time. I highly recommend this book and its sequels to everyone. The story is gripping, the characters believable and the writing is excellent. Completely un-put-downable.