This review is of First Wave by JT Sawyer. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Special Forces veteran Travis Combs just wanted to forget his weary years of leading combat missions while taking an extended rafting trip through the Grand Canyon.
As he and his group complete a 22-day trip on the Colorado River, they find the world has unraveled from a deadly pandemic.
Now, he has to show his small band how to live off the land and cross the rugged Arizona desert, while evading blood-drinking zombies, gangs of cartel bikers, and a rogue government agency.
I did not enjoy reading this book. I was really excited to check it out because I love zombies, and post-apocalypse type novels (and movies), but for some reason I just could not get into this story. A team of scientists create a super disease (which ends up creating zombies.) The scientists do this so that they can create a cure for the disease. The people who hired the scientists to create this disease (and cure) come in a start killing the scientists, but one of them gets away with the vaccine. The group releases the disease into the world. The scientist who got away goes into hiding in a wilderness trip run by ex-military man Travis. The wilderness group is out of civilization for 22 days, so when they get back, the world, as they knew it, is gone. The dead are coming back to life, and attacking people, the towns are run by cartels and biker gangs. Everything is chaos. From here, the book is about Travis leading this group of people by teaching them survival skills, including traps, shooting, and how to make a poison. I did not like all the abbreviations that were used in the book instead of using the full terms of things. This probably fit in with Travis’ character being former military, but due to the frequency abbreviated terms were used it didn’t make the story flow for me. Also, I did not like how bikers were these terrible drunken assholes who are just as bad an enemy as the zombies. It seemed too cliché for me. I felt like there were not enough encounters with zombies in this book. The undead really felt like an afterthought to the story. It was more a story of the cartel/biker gangs have control of the cities, and the group has to survive encounters with them or avoid them. I was expected lots of zombie attacks, but that did not happen in this story. I also didn’t like how the book never went back to explain what happened while they were on their river trip. We don’t know almost anything about the outbreak of zombies or the downfall of civilization. They come back almost one month later, and everything is completely changed, but it never really goes into details about this. The characters in the story never felt real to me. They weren’t developed emotionally enough for me to care about what happened to them. This book just could not hold my attention for very long, and I felt myself just trying to get it over with, so that I could read something else. At the end of the book I actually said “Are you fucking kidding me?” out loud, because of how the story just ends. I understand the need for some stories to have cliff-hangers so that you will want to read the sequels, but this just ended to suddenly. Overall I didn’t enjoy this story.
What do you think of this book? Does a zombie story really need a ton of zombies to make it good?