Review: White Trash Zombie Apocalypse by Diana Rowland

Synopsis (from Goodreads – short and sweet):

Lights, cameras… zombies!

When a zombie movie starts filming in town, things get crazy, and white trash zombie Angel Crawford suspects it’s not just the plot of the movie that’s rotten. With zombies both real and fake roaming the streets, it’s up to Angel to fit all the pieces — and body parts — together to save herself, her town, and quite possibly the human race. Business as usual, right? Oh, and there will be blood. I mean flood.

My impressions:

As you might remember I’ve read the first two books and really enjoyed them (my reviews of the previous parts can be found hereand here).  Of course it’s generally just mind-candy but, hey, I have absolutely nothing against that from time to time as long as it doesn’t feature  too-stupid-to-live characters doing too-stupid-to-endure things. Well, unfortunately I have to admit my enjoyment stopped while reading the third part. Why? I think I expected more from the premise, something, well, apocalytpic, I guess. After finishing that one, though, I got the feeling that the third installment describing the adventures of Angel Crawford, didn’t really go anywhere and nothing important really happened – a perfect example of a weaker ‘filler’ in the middle of a series. We have a bad guy that we never really identify, working on a zombie project we don’t completely understand, and a climactic final scene that doesn’t seem that dire and climatic after all is said and done.

Small wonder: the cool zombie stuff is already out there. If you, like me, read the previous installments you know that completely sentient, intelligent, long-living, regenerating-after-a-snack-or-two zombies have already been established and described thoroughly. The second book had an evil corporation as the bad guy which was fine; however, we’re not really sure who the bad guy in this book is and whether he/she is related to that evil corporation at all. Also, there was pretty much zero humor in this book, which constituted a big chunk of the enjoyment I had with the first two.

Another part of the problem was that I found the pacing at the beginning really slow, and there were some aspects of the plot I could only call cliched and boring. The movie filming, surprise, surprise, didn’t help a lot although I thought at the beginning it was simply a great idea. Well, it proves that great ideas not necessarily translate into great plot devices.

I admit it, Angel is growing as a person and getting her life together – she doesn’t take as much crap as she used to take from anyone and she gets to do some heroic stuff. Still I had that feeling she became a bit tame in the process, I do wonder why. Perhaps Ms. Rowland is just trying to have a zombie Sookie Stackhouse. Angel’s relationship with her dad was the most interesting aspect of the book. I was a little frustrated at her coddling her dad and being the parent in their little dysfunctional family of two but I guess it was realistic since her dad was portrayed as such a loser. Also, I thought it was sweet that he never turned his back on her, not even when he found out she was a zombie. I’m not sure I would have liked the book as much if it hadn’t been for their relationship.

Let me also add that I find it rather annoying that everyone important in Angel’s life is male — her dad, Marcus, Philip, Nick, Derrell, Brian, Nikas, Pietro. The novel passes the Bechdel test but just barely so. Angel needs some female friends or role models… Heather was a nice addition but there were too few scenes with both chicks together. Well, the series is hardly finished so there is some hope, right? Still even the cover I liked less this time…

Final verdict:

I don’t know how many books Rowland is on contract for, but I’d like to think by now we’d get some clue as to why Angel is so special and where Pietro’s guys are getting all these brains. No such luck. I admit it made me start questioning the whole series. White Trash Zombie Apocalypse wasn’t a bad book, not really, but overall it left me disappointed.

If you liked the first two books, go ahead and read this one as well, but be warned: it leaves so many unanswered questions on the table that it didn’t really make me want to read the next one.

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