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Home | Books | Book Reviews | Book Review: The Great Alaskan Adventure…with Zombies – Author J. Kevin Burchfield

Book Review: The Great Alaskan Adventure…with Zombies – Author J. Kevin Burchfield

Author J. Kevin Burchfield
Published by CreateSpace
Publication Date: 2010
Format: Black /White – 138 pages
Price: $9.95

There are so many books about zombies out there right now that it is nearly impossible to keep up with all of them. Some feature fast zombies that run like track stars. Some have zombies that slowly shamble along like the ones from Romero’s films. Some of these books are quite great, and some are pretty damn bad. I just finished J. Kevin Burchfield’s novel “The Great Alaskan Adventure…with Zombies” and think that it falls somewhere in the middle. It wasn’t the worst zombie novel I have ever read, but at the same time there wasn’t anything groundbreaking about it either.

The plot is pretty simple and straight forward. It centers on our main character Kevin and his wife Cindy who are at a beer brewing festival in Alaska. Everything is pretty normal until people start turning into zombies (and some even become vampires) and begin attacking everyone else. It turns out that the zombies/vampires were created due to a government created virus that was put into one of the more popular beers at the beer festival. The story follows Kevin, Cindy, their friend Justin, and a couple of other survivors they pick up as they fight off the zombies, vampires, and even the military as they try to escape Alaska and reach a safe place (and here I thought that Sarah Palin was the worst possible thing that could happen to Alaska).

There were some things that I really liked about the book. For one, Burchfield wastes no time getting to the action and it is only a few pages in before the zombies are attacking people and eating their brains. There is really no lack of action at all to speak off throughout the book (until the end which seemed a little anticlimactic to me) and we are treated to a ton of brain munching, people having their throats ripped out and/or their skulls cracked open (I liked that Burchfield had the balls to have the little boy be killed by his zombie mother), and countless zombies being blown away, run over by various vehicles, and beaten with hockey sticks. If you are looking for a zombie novel that doesn’t skim on the action then this is one book you will want to check out.

I liked the characters a lot as well. They came off as realistic (which is good since they are based on the writer and people he knows) and they just seem like a fun group to hang out with. I think that Justin was my favorite because he is the foul-mouthed badass type who gets a rush out of killing the zombies and just has an appetite for destruction in general (I love the bit where he drives the fire truck off the dock into the water. His reasoning for doing so is priceless and cracked me up).

On the other hand, even though there were aspects of “The Great Alaskan Adventure…” that I enjoyed I can’t deny that it has its share of flaws as well. I’ll admit that I liked the straight forward writing style to an extent as it made for a very quick read, but at the same time it seemed a little too simplistic. I’m not saying that Burchfield is a bad writer (because he isn’t); it’s just that I feel his style could use a little polish. I think he may want to try his hand at young adult fiction as I think a younger audience would really enjoy his work. I know that if I had read this book when I was 13 or 14 I would have totally and completely loved it.

I also couldn’t notice that there were a few punctuation and grammatical errors as well. For example, the exclamation point is way overused throughout the novel and there are several parts where there are question marks where they don’t belong. I don’t blame Burchfield for this as the person who edited it should have caught these errors before the book was printed (I don’t mean to sound so damn nitpicky, but I used to be an English teacher and this stuff just bugs the piss out of me when I run across it).

Overall I thought that “The Great Alaskan Adventure…with Zombies” was just OK. There were other things that I liked about it (such as the comedic tone, the fact that Burchfield is great about describing certain places so well that you can actually see it in your mind, and all the cool violence) but there were also some things I really didn’t care for that were hard to overlook as well (was it just me or was the ending kind of a big letdown? I was expecting a huge battle but it just didn’t happen and seemed to end with a whimper). It’s by no means a bad novel, but there are some things about it that could have been done a little better. I would recommend it to younger readers just getting into the genre (just be aware that there is some foul language) or to any zombie fan looking for a quick read.

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