Double Dead by Chuck Wendig: review.

Double Dead (Double Dead, #1)Double Dead by Chuck Wendig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The premise of this book is so cool that after reading it any Fantasy Author will say “Why didn’t I think of that?!” Or maybe it’s just me.

Coburn the Vampire wakes up post apocalypse in a world overrun by zombies. To a hungry Vampire, humans have gone from a fast food level of availability to foraging in the desert in July levels. They are very hard to come by and when he does find them he has to fight the zombies for them. If that isn’t an awesome concept, I don’t know what is.

In order to survive he forges a fragile alliance with a group of people who promise to offer him some of their blood in exchange for his help in fighting the zombies while they try to find a safe place to stay. They, of course, run into a lot of undesirable characters and compromising situations during their journey but Coburn helps them through it all as his humanity slowly overcomes his baser side.

The story is one we’ve all seen before in the post apocalypse spectrum. The world is full of danger; good people turn bad due to circumstance and commit terrible atrocities in the name of survival, but it’s done well and is convincing.

In many ways this book reminded me of Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ in its harshness, imagination and emotion. I have said this before but I’ll say it again: Chuck Wending is this generation’s Stephen King. He writes with grit and doesn’t spare any punches, only his is a more millennial style. He is more concise in the creation of his universes, but no less rich, and the work never suffers. He just knows that readers today want to get there faster.

I don’t mind that. If I’m being perfectly honest I’ve yet to see anyone reach King’s levels of character development or world building and neither would I want to; King is King and Wendig is Wendig. I make the comparison simply as a way of highlighting his skill level.

Double Dead is part of a series of Coburn the Vampire books so I was left with a few questions about how he came to be and why some characters exhibited certain abilities. I was also slightly irked by the fact that he’s virtually indestructible, but his weaknesses fill that void. In all I would have like a little more background on Coburn but no doubt that’s to come later.

Great crossover of the Zombie and Vampire genres.

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Review of Kokoro by Natsume Soseki

KokoroKokoro by Natsume Sōseki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kokoro is a slow book and the first half is hard to get into. It deals with a young man and his admiration of an older scholarly gentleman whom he wishes to make part of his life. Sensei, the older man, is awkward and aloof and is hard to get to know. His only constant is the monthly visits to the grave of a friend from his youth, a part of his life which is clearly a source of pain.

During the second half of the book the protagonist must return home to his parents after his father falls ill and there he receives a letter from Sensei telling him everything he’s been dying to know about his youth.

This book is highly acclaimed and has even been called a masterpiece, at which I wondered even after I was more than half way through. I was tempted to put it down on several occasions, but despite its slowness, it flowed well enough to keep me going. This, coupled with the acclaim, was the reason I didn’t abandon it.

I’m very glad I did keep going because it all comes together at the end. It is a masterpiece of Japanese societal subtlety, culture and mindset and is built with the litotis and balance that the Japanese do so well. It should be read with a Zen frame of mind when action isn’t high on your plot agenda.

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