Eloise J. Knapp
I don’t know about you, but I’m really getting tired of genre novels written in the first person. Genre novels, for the most part, work best when the story unfolds via an unaffected third person narrative. The first person narrative is great for getting a sense of character across, but not so great for moving the story along. This is the case here with The Undead Situation.
Behind a strangely chosen cover which makes the book look more like a crime thriller than a zombie apocalypse novel, is a zombie book that tries a bit too hard to be something else.
Main character Cyrus V. Sinclair is something of an acquired taste, and many readers may find him to be a bit too much of an asshole to be particularly sympathetic towards him, however other readers may love that about him. Knapp’s prose is of a high standard, echoing names like Chuck Palahniuk, but it may leave some readers cold.
If you can get past how much of an unlikeable jerk Cyrus is, then you are rewarded with a fine story which explores the darker recesses of the human psyche while also serving as a chronicle of civilization’s descent into chaos and undead cannibalism.
The horror aspect is downplayed, but it’s there. The book is more about character than gore, which is where Knapp wins out, as her characters are the best aspect of the book. However, there is a little feeling of style over substance, and she does commit a huge faux-pas in switching to another character’s POV at one point in the book – a huge no-no. It takes the reader out of the story and shatters the atmosphere that has been built up by the character of Cyrus.
Cyrus is the star of the show, but when your main character in a first-person genre novel is an asshole of a sociopath, then audiences will possibly more alienated than entertained. The final thing that turned me against the book, as a reader, is the inclusion of a tease to a possible sequel spoils the feel of the story. It works much better as a standalone, as further books may stretch the format and concept a little far. Plus, the zombie fiction bubble isn’t far away from bursting. I can see why this book has its fans, but I can’t say I’m one of them.
Book Review: The Undead Situation – Author Eloise J. Knapp