Autumn – David Moody

Why am I hooked? It’s awful, but…

Update 2020: On rereading my review of Autumn, below, I realize it was pretty damning . But since writing it, I have to admit I’ve read everything I could find by David Moody. Because his books are just really, really readable and gripping, despite their faults. They grow on you.

Also, I like zombie books set in Britain, which are not full of gun porn like some of the US-based zombie novels.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

“A bastard hybrid of War of the Worlds and Night of the Living DeadAutumn chronicles the struggle of a small group of survivors forced to contend with a world torn apart by a deadly disease. After 99% of the population of the planet is killed in less than 24 hours, for the very few who have managed to stay alive, things are about to get much worse. Animated by “phase two” of some unknown contagion, the dead begin to rise. At first slow, blind, dumb and lumbering, quickly the bodies regain their most basic senses and abilities… sight, hearing, locomotion… As well as the instinct toward aggression and violence. Held back only by the restraints of their rapidly decomposing flesh, the dead seem to have only one single goal – to lumber forth and destroy the sole remaining attraction in the silent, lifeless world: those who have survived the plague, who now find themselves outnumbered 1,000,000 to 1…

So yes, we’re talking zombie novels.

Now I’m an avid reader of indie novels. I love that the internet has given authors an opportunity to bypass mainstream publishers and offer their works to the public. There’s a rawness and unspoilt energy to some of these books. And it’s exciting to discover new talent and to play a small part in promoting them and propelling them to mainstream success. I’m thinking of the marvellous Hugh Howey’s Silo series, for example.

That said, I do think that these authors should at least attempt some basic editing. Every writer must have at least one friend who is good at spelling and punctuation and might be willing to help them out (I’m an editor myself so I know it’s no light undertaking to edit a book, but I’m talking r-e-a-l-l-y basic stuff here.)

Autumn (like the second book in the series) is one of the most poorly-written books I’ve read. The spelling mistakes irritated me most: “inquizitive”, “could not bare to look…”. Words are misused. And oh god, the overuse of adjectives! The characters are one dimensional and so similar I had to keep checking who was who because I couldn’t distinguish them in my mind. For example, where in most novels there will be a range of characters with different traits, in this they are all indecisive and cowardly. They all want to hide away and be alone and not talk. The emotional level is teenage.

But… I’ve been staying up late each night finding it hard to put down (I’m on book three now). Which is odd. It is slow, boring, people spend hours not doing anything, nobody stands out as the hero, yet I stick with it.

I think it is only because I am such a fan of zombies that I want to discover all the variations on the theme that are out there – and this one is different enough to be interesting. So, if you’re a diehard zombie fan, you might want to add it to your collection. If you’re new to zombies, there are way better books out there. Check out Rhiannon Frater’s As the World Dies trilogy and – of course – World War Z.

Find Autumn on Amazon and at other bookstores.

You might also like: Dead South – David Brinson.

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