BETTER DEAD THAN ZED!
Book Links: Goodreads
So I'm back from my thriller kick, and what a story to come back to. Champagne Jackson Kicks Zombie Ass is fifty shades of apocalyptic awesome. There's an almost perfect blend of horror, gore, comedy and action. There's a story that flows at a breakneck speed, a cast of characters that are as diverse as you can get, and a zombie world filled to the brim with intrigue. What works best for this novel is its don't-care attitude. It never pretends to be anything more than it is, doesn't skirt around the word 'zombie' or put too much emphasis on the why or the how, it just plunges into a truly thrilling experience that'll have you begging for more. And I personally hope that there will be.
Champagne Jackson is more than tough, she's a kick-ass lady that takes no crap from anyone.
So when the apocalypse swings round with a boatload of zombies, she's naturally surprised.
But to hell if anyone thinks the world's gonna take her down with it.
Surviving yourself keeps things simple.
So when she meets others, things get complicated.
Much, much, much, more complicated...
The first chapter does a fantastic job of grabbing your attention. By the end of it we're plunged into the apocalypse, and I personally prefer this to when the world is built up beforehand. The book's overall story is also extremely entertaining; the world might have gone down the drain, but old prejudices are hard to throw, and Champagne's city falls under the terror of a gang war. Yeah there's zombies, tons, but the gangs see the apocalypse as a way of taking complete control, and they're all vying to be on top.
But a good job has been done on striking a balance between the war for control and the war on the dead (well, the slightly alive). We get some insight into the why and how, but it's short thankfully and never interrupts the main story. Throughout the early half of the book, we get to see several different characters react to the outbreak, whether they survived or not, and if they did, where they end up. It's all nicely set, plotted and tied together, making for an extremely enjoyable and quick read.
Then we move on to the cast of the book themselves; enter Ms Champagne Jackson, our titular main character. I absolutely adore her. She's feisty and tough beyond comprehension, and the very first chapter does a stellar job of filling in her background without ever feeling like it's too much to handle all at once. It's a good thing too, because our Champagne is a foul-mouthed hothead, and the history we get firmly plants us on her side. That doesn't mean she's not compassionate. She is, and she proves it on multiple occasions. Treat her right, and she can make the difference between your life and death.
There's also a lot of other colourful people who fit nicely into the world. Mike, Lord Slice, the kids, each and every one of them are filled out, with histories and distinct personalities. Even the bad guys are redeemed in some way to the reader's eyes; everyone has motivation, and it's clear for us to see.
Or read, I guess.
Then again to read we need to see...
This is an honest-to-god must read for those who love their zombie books, or post-apocalyptic books, or those who just bloody love books. It can be dark, light, grey and all possible shades of the three.
But be warned: Champagne Jackson will NOT get bit in the ass.
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