Monday, July 15, 2013

Sharing a Sense of Desolation with Travis Simmons (#bookreview #giveaway)

While it wasn't necessarily a bad book, there were so many little issues with Desolation that I really had trouble enjoying it.

On the plus side, Travis Simmons has definitely done something interesting with zombies here, adding a little fresh blood and brains to a genre that's become very tapped out. Rather than limit himself to a choice between the classic shuffling zombie and the contemporary speedy one, he incorporates both into his story, and then adds a third flavor in the infernals - basically zombies with brains. Not content to stop there, he also adds an even darker element, with human necromancers who have the power to create and control the zombies. It definitely makes for a very dark, exciting read, but he needs more space to fully explore the concepts.

Unfortunately, this is a book that's in dire need of an editor. While I generally don't like to focus on that element in my reviews, when it becomes a distraction - as it did here - I have to call it out. Little things like the proper use of its/it's and there/their/they're are one thing. They're annoyances, but you can train your mind to skip by them. Wrong or missing punctuation is another thing entirely, however, and there were passages - particularly following a line of dialogue - where my reading just hit a brick wall of incomprehension. Also, while I know it's difficult to work personal details into a first person narrative, it shouldn't have taken 7 or 8 chapters before Asher is revealed as a guy. Yes, I know it's clear in the synopsis, but when a book has sat on your e-reader for a few months, the value of a synopsis or cover blurb is entirely lost.

As for Asher being a guy, I certainly had no issues with that, and thought gay romance angle was an interesting touch, particularly with his lingering feelings for his now-zombie boyfriend. Their romance was solid, and I think Asher's grief was very well portrayed. In addition, I really liked how Simmons continued to play with the romance angle, right up to the climax of their final zombie confrontation. My problem with Asher was not his sexuality, but his personality and his perfection. He's a little too much of the perfect hero, more a pulp adventure novel cliché than somebody fit to lead a post-apocalyptic horror novel.

Ultimately, this felt like a young adult novel that was deliberately sexed-up and bloodied-up to appeal to a wider audience. It certainly has potential, and I think Simmons can do some really exciting things with the material, but this first volume is just a bit too rough and unpolished for my tastes.

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Writers Workshop Blog Tour

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About the Author

I have been writing since I was 14. I began writing a book called "The Calling of the Two" and while writing that on and off I started uncovering another idea.

"Yes, this is all well and good, but what about before? What happened in the world before these characters came into it?" I always knew there was a "before" and as I started wondering about it I got ideas. At first they were little ideas but as I discovered the names for my characters a whole story about them emerged.

I started working on The Revenant Wyrd Saga several years back and I am very happy I did because hearing and documenting Jovian and Angelica's story has been one wild ride.

I live in a remote part of upstate New York and honestly just hoofing around my neck of the woods gives me a ton of inspiration for my novels. I love research, and I love speculating on different ideas and theories.

Website: http://www.travissimmons.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authortravissimmons
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TravisSimmons5
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4342608.Travis_Simmons

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About the Book

Desolation
by Travis Simmons

Asher St Paul thought it was just a typical zombie apocalypse like in the movies, until the necromancers crawled out of the woodwork.

Since the undead have chased the living into hiding, the necromancers are able to roam freely in a new America of their making. Asher is seeking safe harbor. The need for safety is what drove him from his home in Philadelphia Pennsylvania before it was shelled. He has searched from quarantine to quarantine, always finding them overrun with zombies until he hears of The Refuge, a military compound in Binghamton New York.

With his family and lover lain to rest by his own hand, he has nothing left to lose and gives everything he has to reach the safe haven. But questions arise when he reaches The Refuge, mainly, how has he been able to sustain multiple zombie bites and not change? He thinks he has found safety in the military compound turned quarantine, but he was wrong. Even now there is a necromancer trying to make The Refuge
their kingdom of the dead.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for review from Jitterbug PR and from the author
as part of a virtual book tour. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The
opinions I have expressed are my own. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade
Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in
Advertising.”

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