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on 27 November 2010
I have a tendency to give out a lot of 5 star ratings, but when I think about it I've enjoyed every book I've given a 5 star rating (like this one) so why not give it the highest rating possible.

I was fortunate enough to stumble on the first book in J.L.Bourne's series and despite reading a few varied reviews on "Beyond Exile" I thought I'd give it a go. With all sequels I sometimes wonder if it'll be as good as the first, wondering if the new avenues it explores, and the character development and pacing will be as good as the first. So I went into this a bit concerned but after a few pages I knew I had nothing to worry about.

The situations the main characters finds himself in, the new and old characters who come and go as the story progresses are so enjoyable to read about. The setting is great, the pacing is superb, and I could go on all day if you like but I'll stop here.

I've read a number of zombie novels and they all have a slightly different take on things and I really like what J.L.Bourne has done. The way it's written, i.e. diary-style by the main character, is fresh and interesting and boy o boy does it get left on a cliff hanger. I can't wait for the third book to come out and would happily pay good money to read it.

If you're a fan of the zombie genre than don't let this book (and series) pass you buy.

Nice work J.L.!
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on 28 July 2013
Overall it's really quite an enjoyable, easy read but it feel like it hasn't been proofread. Every few pages there are errors like "to" being used instead of "too" or "pear" instead of "pair", "poll" instead of "pole". It occasionally has helpful diagrams - for example showing the layout of his street, but it was thrown in seemingly at random a dozen pages after the description of his street. The diary angle was interesting at first, but it quickly became silly (for example he would apparently be writing an entry mid-crisis) and in places he seemed to get mixed up with what tense he was writing in. At times the diary pretence seemed to be completely dropped.

The story is a fairly typical zombie survival story and most of the characters are pretty 2D and generally rather useless (apart from the main character, who seems to be an idealised version of the author). His trusty sidekick John spends the first half of the book loyally waiting in the car/house/tower while our plucky hero does all the work and comes up with all the plans.

In spite of the above, it's still worth a read for zombie fans looking for a nice way to kill a few hours. For anyone who isn't specifically looking for zombies but fancies some horror or post apocalyptic fiction then there are better books elsewhere.
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on 3 February 2011
I read the first one in this series in about 2 days, I couldn't put it down, so naturally I went for the second one in the series. Which, as mentioned in the other reviews there is a little repetition with the rotting cars on the road etc, but it's still enjoying. It's the end of the book that annoyed me - the reason behind the Zombies, why the virus struck earth. I won't spoil it and tell you what happened, but I felt a little cheated with it. I will read the 3rd one (when it comes out) but only to find out what happens to the characters.
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on 8 October 2011
This volume contains Bournes 2 previous books Day by Day Armageddon and Beyond Exile. Also at the end is a 14 page short story.

Written in a diary format that gradually gets more like a novel as the author needs to cram in more information than you would find in a typical diary.

Very well written, great story and Romero style zombies.
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on 22 April 2011
A zombie book and I loved it, no suprise there!

This for me was a zombie story with a difference. It is a day by day account of a Navy officer from just before the epidermic hits and daily (sometimes more than one entry per day) journal entries. Normally it is all kill kill kill to keep you hooked and get your imagination going but not so with this book.

You follow his very early methods of self preservation and survival to meeting other survivers and bonding and struggling to stay together and survive a world of horror.

The book is at a great pace, riveting and keeps you guessing to what is going to happen next. Everytime he ventures out will he be next to die? I feel I should elaborate more but to be honest it is so good you just need to grab a copy for yourself.

There is also a guarentee of a follow up book so watch this space, 5/5 for me.
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on 1 January 2013
Day by Day Armageddon was the first ever audiobook I listed to, so it will always have a special place in my heart. I was so enthralled I would stand outside in the snow on my breaks at work so I could squeeze in another few minutes of listening. So when I saw it still queued up in my audiobook list, I thought I'd give it another whirl.

Day by Day Armageddon is written in journal style, which can be a pretty tricky medium. There's a lot of insight into the main character, but the other characters tend to suffer as there is little dialogue and as a reader you never really get to know them. Day by Day Armageddon, for the most part, pulls this off pretty well although at times it felt like the other characters were just there for padding (or zombie food?!).

The plot is the old zombie favourite of outbreak, death and destruction, but with the main character being a US Navy officer, there's more than a little weapons, survival and airplane-speak, but it's written in a way that made it both interesting and relevant to a non-militarist like me. This does spill over into the main character as well, as at times his snarky sense of humour made me grin, at others it felt quite cold and detached, but certainly matched the persona of the character well.

Being in journal-style, there's little insight into what has happened to the rest of the world apart from what the MC witnesses, reads or hears himself, but the descriptions made up for the narrow view. One of the characters that he picks up along his travels, Tara, is almost certain to become a love interest in a future book, but her particular survival story really gave me chills - I won't give it away but it's one of the most horrendous ideas I've ever come across in a zombie novel.

The audio version is very well done as Jay Snyder narrates the story perfectly giving me the feeling that the journal was being read to me by the person who wrote it very soon after the actual events.
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on 12 September 2010
After reading the first novel in this series, and thoroughly enjoying it, I was hoping that the sequel would be equally as engaging and enjoyable. I wasn't disappointed.

I read a few reviews on amazon.com (yes, the US one) as there seems to be more reviews there than locally in the UK and there were a few mixed reviews. Anyway I took the plunge and now can't wait to read the third in the series.

Some people complained about how the equipment made available to the main character, and the increase in characters was a poor choice in direction for "Beyond Exile" but I wouldn't necessarily agree. Yes I liked the limited number of characters in the first novel, and that he was always counting his bullets, struggling to find the next meal etc, but the same is equally true here. You still feel like the line between survival and death is a fine one. The story just advances down new avenues which are both exciting and suspenseful.

I hope the wait for the following novel is a short one.
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on 23 August 2011
As a Naval Officer and fan of the zombie genre I was eager to check out a novel written by someone with a similar perspective to my own. Its an extremely easy book to read, although I did find it a little short; I started and finished it in one evening. If it had taken more of an investment then 1 night I'm not sure I would be reading the sequel (which I've already started.) The ideas within the story are pretty good, but I found that, with the exception of the last section of the story, I was never on the edge of my seat or fearful for the fate of the characters. Obviously, its hard to make us worried that the protagonist is going to die, he's writing the journal entries after all, but I never got interested enough in any of the supporting characters to care much about them and therefore didn't get invested in any of the challenges that they faced.

Some of the elements of the journal format bugged me as well. Why bother to write the dates in cursive if the rest of the journal is typed? Why is some stuff underlined with pen? Every once in a while the publisher sticks in a photo or coffee cup stain or something, but they never seem relevant to anything that's actual happening in the story. If they wanted to make it look like a real diary it should be full of crazy doodles and "to do" lists and random rambling and such. If its just a reproduction of a diary, published long after it was completed as a sort of memoire, then just type the whole thing and insert "pictures" of the diary when appropriate.

Anyway, given that this is a really quick read I recommend it to people that really love the zombie genre, but I won't be pushing it on any of my friends.
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on 13 August 2010
I first read Day by Day Armageddon so long ago, I think there's been two or three more editions since then (my original copy was the self-published version). It was written in journal format, the main character was a soldier on leave when the outbreak occurs, and the book ended with his group of survivors defending an underground military base from another group of survivors who were more of a threat than the undead. Many readers described the character as "right-wing," and some complained that book was overloaded with heavy military terminology. There were also some black and white "photos" included. The thing is, Bourne is an active-duty officer (which is why this sequel took so long), and I think his character just relfected that. Not to mention the fact that it was suppose to be a personal journal in the first place, but I couldn't figure out when the character had time to snap off some pics while running from zombies.

I'm happy to say there were no cheesy pics included in Beyond Exile. There was still a lot of military terminology, but nothing so complicated that you have to run to the internet to figure out what the charcters are talking about. The entries of the journal are much longer, and more detailed than they were in the first book. In fact, it was a lot less like a journal in general, and more like the personal story of a survivor divided by dates instead of chapters.

The story begins exactly where it left off, after the battle with the other group of survivors. The explosions have attracted the attention of military convoy; while they are searching for the source, some Marines get trapped by a zombie horde, and asked for help over the radio. An extraction group is sent out from the underground base, Hotel 23, and they bring the Marines back with them. Although they go to great lengths to keep the location secret, after the Marines leave, they come back with "friends." In an attempt to avoid another bloody confrontation, the survivors come to a reluctant agreement with the military group. Soon after, the author of the journal finds himself separated from the safety of Hotel 23, after a scouting mission goes horribly wrong. In his efforts to find his way back he meets another survivor, and also discovers a secret militant organization. When he finally finds safe sanctuary again at the end of the book, it's quickly yanked out from under him.

It's extremely difficult to write anything about this sequel without giving away major spoilers, but I will add that the zombies are being affected by the nukes dropped in the first book, and it's not just radiation poisoning that the survivors have to worry about now. Beyond Exile was one of the very few zombie novels that frightened me at all. The direction Bourne is taking with his zombies is an epic nightmare.

I recommend reading the first book, just for the background on the characters, but don't expect the sequel to be much like it. I sncerely hope that Bourne can get out the third installment more quickly this time.
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on 27 November 2010
There have been alot of zombie books/movies over the last couple of years and many just fade from memory almost instantly. The Day by Day series is right up there with 'World War Z'as the most compelling and memorable. Both written in short punchy styles but for difference reasons (Day by Day is the journal entries of a single man while World War Z is the varying accounts of numerous figures which together tell the story).

Having occupied the saftey of a missile launch silo by the end of the first book Beyond Exile picks up the story. The group are now in touch with the remnants of the US military command and have also been contacted by a mysterious group with access to previously unseen high tech and automated weaponry who seem intent on wiping out the remaining military command. Radiated 'evolving' zombies and a some credible speculation on the cause of the contagion set the story up well for the third installment. The story in entirely based in USA at present but this is simply because the collapse of almost all infrastructure and the first person nature of the story make insights into whats happening in the rest of the world impossible. Something the next book may well address in part.

While the style makes the book easy to pick up where you left off it's very, very hard to put down.

By the way 'Fido' is one of the quirkiest, interesting and inventive twists on the zombie genre you're ever likely to see, and look out for Billy Connolly in it. Brilliant movie.
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