Blurb: FORGET EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT ZOMBIES.
In under 10 minutes, 99.9% of the world’s population will be dead… or changed.
Conversion is instant. Headshots just make them angry. And they’re getting smarter.
Ken Strickland has made it through the first moments. But his family is still out there.
Can he survive? Can he find them? Or will he become one more of the creatures that now rule our world?
Review: Full disclosure – I received a free kindle edition copy of The Colony: Genesis from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I think most fans of horror would agree that books about the zombie apocalypse are far from rare. Less charitable individuals might suggest the market has actually been inundated with too many zombies handing out the smackdown during too many end of the world scenarios. The worst part about this proliferation of zombie novels is that they pretty much follow the same tried and tested formula: Zombies rise up, a bunch of characters band together to survive, utilising head-shots and destruction of the brain to fight back, even as most of them are picked off one by one – either by the zombies or other, nasty survivors who turn out to be just as deadly – until the ultimate bad-asses fight their way clear, or, in some cases, are eventually overwhelmed themselves. Cue the sad funeral dirge music.
Well forget the tried and tested formula here. With The Colony: Genesis, Michaelbrent Collings has crafted a unique version of a zombie apocalypse – one in which the zombies aren’t destroyed by head wounds, insects are in some way also affected and there’s no slow proliferation of the virus across the world. Instead, the entire world falls in minutes.
These distinguishing features alone would be enough to get me reading, but Collings first part of a short novel series (this part being longer than a novella but too short to qualify as a novel on its own) hammers along at a frenetic pace that, quite literally, never lets up. The main character is Ken, a high school teacher, who is in the middle of a class when the apocalypse begins. The reader then follows Ken as more through luck than good measure he manages to survive the initial turning of half his class and decides to strike out in search of his wife and children in the middle of the city.
It’s breath taking stuff. No sooner has Ken survived one life-threatening scenario than the next threat makes itself known. The very short chapter lengths are suited to this type of action-fueled narrative, and virtually every one of them ends with some kind of cliffhanger that demands the reader flip the page and read just one more…
Simply put, it works brilliantly. Collings prose is lean and tight, with very little padding to be found. His dialogue is mostly realistic and his characters’ reactions generally resonate well. Gore is present without being over the top. My complaints are minor – as the assumption is that explanations for everything hinted at is forthcoming in the latter books – but a critical scene that takes place within and around the outskirts of a toppled skyscraper was hard for me to picture, suggesting perhaps too much fat had been trimmed from the descriptions of the environment.
Overall, this is a quality, fast-paced read that promises a great deal. If the latter novels in The Colony series deliver, I reserve the right to return and bump up my initial rating. (Blame Collings’ wife for this. His afterword explains it was at her insistence that he release this as five short novels rather than one massive tome.)
So for now it’s 4 Waves of Running Zombies for The Colony: Genesis. Any fan of zombies or apocalyptic horror is recommended to seek and devour this one.