When I heard about Red Hill, Jamie McGuire’s newest release (Pub date October 1, 2013), I immediately started stalking my ARC outlets because I knew I had to be one of the first to read the book and spread word about my thoughts (that in and of itself is always a little intimidating though because if I end up not loving the book, it is a hard fall)!
The second I saw it offered on Edelweiss’s site, I requested it and was approved. I, of course, started reading it immediately and let me tell you this. My heart started pumping madly within chapter 1 and it never slowed down.
McGuire takes the premise of the zombie apocalypse and shakes it up a little. Of course, at this point in time, zombie tales have been done a lot and they are currently one of the most popular monster tales out there. Zombies have been a popular way to go for a very long time (thinking back to my Night of the Living Dead days). McGuire doesn't ignore all of that; she uses it instead. Many times the characters use the knowledge they've obtained from these past movies and books to make the non-stereotypical choice which I found extremely refreshing. Because at this day in age, one can’t write zombies and pretend that the entire world doesn't know all the commonalities, and sometimes even horror aficionados get tired of a character’s willingness to stand with their back right in front of a window even though we all know something is going to break through and grab them!!!
One thing that will grab readers whether they like zombies or not, whether they like romance or not is that it is just a good novel. Yes, it is about zombies (there’s a very humorous discussion about what to call them though). Yes, it is a love story of sorts. However, more than that, there are other important themes as well. Characters making choices in a chaotic turn of events – learning how to live in a world that is racing toward an ugly, gruesome end. What’s important if today is the only day left – for everyone? Can love still survive, maybe even thrive? Are relationships (platonic and romantic) easier or more difficult and just where in the spectrum of survival do they stand?
The story is revealed via several different characters’ points of view (POV). This method is very effective for the tale as readers will see this new world from a mother’s POV as she attempts to be reunited with her children. A father’s POV as he attempts to help his daughter navigate the ugliness and brutality of what she is seeing first hand. A college student’s POV as she tries to get to her father at his ranch. She has three others with her too – her long-time best friend turned boyfriend along with her sister and her boyfriend. All three offer very different perspectives on both the current world and also their past worlds and what has lead them to this place in their lives – with or without flesh eating, reanimated corpses.
Through these three characters readers will be immersed in a crazy, gruesome world. They’ll meet many characters and not all of them are good (even the non-dead ones; yep, McGuire addresses the fact that in a post-apocalyptic world, regardless of catalyst, there are other horrors one must survive as human nature tends to reveal some of its inherent evilness when chaos ensues).
To sum it all up, this is a really great novel to read. It was fun, gruesome (without making those who don’t generally love zombie tales gag), sad (I had one huge bawlfest – it just hit me and I was so heartbroken), funny (these characters don’t lose their sense of humor), thought provoking, and exciting (my heart still hasn't slowed down – I’m seriously trying to calm down my erratic beating heart while writing this review and I finished last night)!
I was provided an ARC copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.
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