Published September 25th, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Synopsis: She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.
Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.
Her father was right. The monsters are real….
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….
I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I’d tell my sister no.
I’d never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I’d zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I’d hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I’d tell them I love them.
I wish… Yeah, I wish.
I have long heard wonderful things about Gena Showalter, and so many people raved about her journey into YA. I was interested in the title and the little “Off with their heads” on the cover. But the synopsis is rather vague about exactly what this book is. You vaguely get something about the undead, a bad boy, and losing her family. I started to see some mixed reviews and got a little nervous about just what I was getting into. I had hoped for great things with this book, and I was disappointed.
The first 200 pages of this book were completely mind boggling to me. I was expected Alice in Wonderland retold with zombie greatness! And yet the first half of this book was cliche, stereotypical, and over used YA romance. You have Alice, who is blond haired, blue eyed, a good student, sweet to just about everybody, and thinks that she is completely average and mediocre at everything. Yet somehow in being totally “average” she attracts the attention of the entire school AND the two hottest boys in said school. Now hold on, this is all sounding terribly familiar. Oh yes, I’ve read this in about 30 other YA novels recently! Then you have Cole, or as I like to call him the controlling *******. Gotta censor that if I want to put this on Amazon. He scowls at Alice every chance he gets, snaps his teeth at her (seriously), and tries to control her in every way. At one point he demands that she get into his car and give him her phone number. Um most normal people would have said, “No pal, I don’t know you. You might be planning on raping and killing me. Back off or it’s a restraining order for you.” But no, Alice fawns at him like he’s the best thing that ever appeared on earth.
This book is also the absolute top of the mountain with the insta-love crap. Alice has visions of getting it on with Cole when she looks at him! I wish I was joking, but I’m not! Also throw in another love interest to create an unnecessary love triangle that was really never mentioned after the first 200 pages. The first half of this book was devoted exclusively to this horribly cliche romance angle. Oh and one last note, if you have “violet eyes”, you may want to see a doctor. I found myself screaming at this book, stop with this lovey dovey garbage and show me some zombies!!
I almost wish I hadn’t begged for zombies so much once I actually got them. Now, let me be clear, I have nothing against reinventing and reimagining monsters that we are all familiar with. But in order to be successful at doing so, you must have two things. 1. You have to have a good story to back up your new and improved monsters. 2. You have to explain the new rules of your monsters enough so that people understand. This book had neither. The only story to back up these monsters was a godawful romance. And it explained things plenty in typical info dump fashion. But then other things were mentioned specifically and repeatedly only to never be mentioned again. These zombies are not really even zombies either. I kept thinking, okay so they’re like ghosts. No, maybe vampires. Ghost vampires! No, these are not zombies, that is one thing I know for sure.
What switched this to two stars for me, instead of one, was the last half of the book. For the most part we abandoned the stupid romance that we started with and got down to the meat of the story. I wasn’t too fond of the twist in the plot, mostly because there was absolutely no hints or clues to it and that was frustrating. If there’s going to be a twist, at least let me be able to look back and think “oh yeah, I should have seen that coming”. But I couldn’t do that because it came totally out of left field. If it had been hinted more it would have been amazing. Some of the information at the end and a few of the fight scenes were also pretty interesting.
I can’t rate this book a one star because I can see that there is promise there and that some people will really love it (as evidenced by the very mixed reviews). I had hoped that I would love it since it seemed to be exactly my cup of tea. But alas it was just not good and I didn’t like it really at all. I liked a few things at the end but it wasn’t enough to salvage my dislike of the majority of it.