Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Cuppa and a Book - Fighting to Survive

Time once again for another chat about another book! I just love reading and spreading the word about good books. And the book I`m reviewing today is a good book, but, in my opinion - which isn`t worth enough for a stick of gum - it could have been a great book if not for one point that really detracted from it for me. So let`s cream and sugar and stir and talk about Fighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater.

First off, yes, it is another zombie book. I know, I know, but I write gay zombie comedic romances and like to keep up with the other writers in my genre. I promise, the next review will be about a paranormal romance. I did review the first book in this As the World Dies series, The First Days, and if memory serves it pulled in a respectable four star rating. Sadly, this second book falls a little short of the four star realm.

We still have the two female leads, Jenni and Katie, facing off against a world that has gone to hell in the proverbial hand-basket. The author does a fine job of giving us lots of action and drama, suspense and romance. There is a genuinely harrowing few chapters as our gang of survivors clears out a hotel. Search and rescue teams come and go, bringing back supplies and survivors. Conflicts arise inside the fort among the characters. The characters are faced with a vigilante handing out their own justice, an attempted rape, and then a run in with bandits that have been terrorizing the locals, using the end of the world for an excuse to murder, rape, and pillage. You know, they`re your basic buttheads bandits.

The survival aspect of this book is really nicely done. Character interaction as well as plots and sub-plots move along well and are woven neatly. We get a very interesting look into the rebuilding of a society as elections are held for the first time.

The only complaint I had was that I felt cheated by the fact that Katie was not kept a lesbian. Yes, I know bisexuality is real and I accept those who love both genders. Hey, you`re looking at a woman who pens M/M erotica so there is no bias of any kind here. It just felt it was a little too pat of a way out of a potentially tricky situation for the writer to me. I think Ms. Frater could have done so much more with her lead if she had been brave enough to say she`s a lesbian and find a love for Katie that wasn`t so predictably heterosexual. By the end of this book not only is Katie in love with Travis, the new mayor and all-around best guy of the fort, she is pregnant and all is peachy-fluffy in the fort.

So much could have been addressed if the author had walked a tougher road. Yes, sometimes it is very difficult to make readers accept a gay man or lesbian fighting zombies. But that doesn`t mean you shouldn`t try. Just because they aren`t the typical Tallahassee tough guy hetero does not mean they can`t still carry a book or kick the crap out of zombies. So, yeah, I felt kind of cheated by this sugar and spice traditional relationship just sprouting of the air. So now instead of having a lead that is a little unstable and this kick-ass lesbian, we have two women who are so la-la in love I could barely tolerate the sugar rush. And one is pregnant now. So we went from Thelma & Louise in book one to As the Undead Turns in book two. And that is why I couldn`t give this book anything above a three.

Overall it’s a good book; it just left me wondering what the hell happened and why.

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