Warner is the sole survivor of a deathscape dominated by hordes of the undead. Years of isolation and lack of any human contact has driven him to the brink of insanity. Plagued with vivid hallucinations and shocking nightmares, he scours the deadlands for any signs of life. While discovering a temporary cure for his creeping mental illness, Warner is attacked and infected with the deadly disease. Switching between man and beast, he must decide on risking a desperate cure or attempting a suicidal quest to rescue a group of stranded survivors. Worse, these survivors may only be a figment of his crumbling sanity.
After typing-up my last zombie book review, I was in no mood to read further into the genre, but with Halloween around the bend, I knew that readers would be in search of the next undead thriller. I had three choices, all looked interesting cover-wise, but the only one whose blurb spoke to me was Drake Vaughn's The Zombie Generation - a genre-bending psychological, post-apocalyptic horror novel where you never know the difference between reality and hallucination. The plot-line is anything but stale, Warner's mental state paired with his worsening living situation, (no spoilers!), intrigue and shock readers from the beginning. His vivid hallucinations and chaotic inner dialogue are gritty and unnerving, often blurring the fine line between sanity and lunacy - for both Warner and the readers. I never knew what to believe about Warner's current Earth; was there a true "bugger" (zombie) situation? Or was the entire scenario within his mind? Was he truly the last man on Earth? I found it fascinating that Drake Vaughn managed to craft Warner's character so meticulously - he has a very well-developed and multi-layered personality that is unusual and unique. I enjoyed getting to know his character, even though it was difficult to relate to him at some points. He felt very "real", and I was genuinely invested in his well-being throughout the novel. I can attribute this to the author's ability to create a story for the character, a difficult task to be sure. Drake Vaughn's writing style is very descriptive, his characters, (buggers included), play their role well and are as integral to the story as brains are to zombies. The action scenes definitely had my heart racing, but some of them were slightly over-done; more superhero-esque than believable. When the action was full-throttle the pace was excellent, but there were a few instances, during the bugger attacks and some of the calmer moments, where the events were repetitive and the flow seemed to stumble. The buggers also took some getting used to - forget zombies of the past, these undead hordes are comprised of trash-eating, obese, alcoholic nymphomaniacs who sleep in huge rotting piles of the undead. They also speak... well, sort of; another reason why I could not really associate these buggers with zombies until much later in the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed the comedic inferences and haunting mental pictures that the text brought to mind. Overall, I loved Vaughn's unconventional take on the "zombie" apocalypse, and was left craving more! If current zombie novels were this "out-of-the-box" I wouldn't be so bored with them! Recommended to readers interested in a psychological thrill-ride complete with blood, gore, action, drama, kick ass character(s), and a biting wit.
Rating: On the Run (4.5/5)
*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
About the Author:
As a genre fiction writer, Drake focuses on offbeat thrillers and horror with a psychological bent. By bending traditional genres in unique ways, he transforms simple stories into his own crinkled vision. His tales appear deceptively simple, but turn into a wild ride into darkness. He lives in California with his wife and a black cat named Shadow.