Thursday, October 19, 2017
I recently read a book called Hell on Earth by Tony Urban. It is a science fiction thriller and is the first book of a three part ongoing series (the fourth book is supposed to be released late fall of this year). Tony Urban is mainly a Horror genre writer and he does his job very well. He is always sure to describe the reanimated corpses in great detail, always giving them some form of grotesque injury. Before his current career as a writer, he worked in the film industry. He often travels thousands of miles to visit haunted sites, and loves paranormal and just odd things in general. I read this book because I was looking for a scary short story to read. But the moment I came across this dystopian plot I couldn’t resist downloading it and taking a peak. And within seconds I was on the edge of my seat, with a cliffhanger coming with the first chapter, before the book leaps to a whole other time, before leaping to a new character. It was insanely captivating and fun, despite it’s bloody demeanor. It was addicting growing close to characters watching them grow close to friends and escape impossible situations through wit, weapons, and explosives (lots of explosives). You watch their fate play out and you know you can do nothing but pray that they survive.
The book perfectly illustrated a zombie apocalypse with detailed gore and heavy internal character moral dilemma (if you cannot tolerate carnage, do not read this book). You can never grow too attached to the twelve main characters in this series, because before you know it your favorite character is cut loose from the plot, usually through a bloody death, occasionally heroic, sometimes through betrayal. There are romantic struggles and moral ones too. Nobody knows the origin of the virus, or if it was an act of biological terrorism or an act of God, but it soon decimates the population. The book itself says that the population of america was 300 million before the virus, but was quickly destroyed and only 5000 remained. That means from a week of the first outbreak, only one in every sixty thousand is still alive. You had a 0.0016666666% chance of surviving for a week. You have a better chance of getting struck by lighting 20 times before you survive this apocalypse for a week. FOR JUST ONE WEEK! BEst of all, the characters aren’t perfect. In fact they are far from it. But Mr.Urban did that on purpose. He knew that instead of a perfect main character, a cast of a hermit farmer, the daughter of a drug addict, the daughter of an abusive father, a rich man, the son of a US senator, a poor man, a rich man, a slacker, the religious father of an autistic son, two soldiers, and a man who collects guns like an eight year old collects baseball cards. It puts imperfect characters in impossible situations that require mental and physical strength, and not everyone can survive.
The genre of this book is a dystopian horror science fiction thriller, and was very bloody. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this book is not for those who cannot tolerate disembowelment. I noticed how the author focused on these small unimportant details such as individual zombies being deformed and he always provided very graphic descriptions just to mess with the reader, making you want to look over your shoulder out of fear. You could never get comfortable while reading this series whether it was a badly injured undead corpse or a flesh eating child, there was something to upset your sense of safety. It was fantastic. You couldn’t fall asleep without finishing your page, your chapter, or even the book itself. It was captivating in a nightmarish sort of way. Absolutely amazing. If I were the author I would have spent more time focusing on one piece of the plot, rather than treating all characters so perfectly equal. No, we haven’t seen So-and-So in ten chapters but that guy is about to die. Sometimes it felt like he wouldn’t allow himself more than 7 pages with one character, because there were eleven others who needed attention. Even though gradually people meet and interact most of the book is spent solo or in a very small short lived team. Of course this issue gradually gets better as characters either die or team up, it is quite an annoying quirk of this book.
One of my favorite passages of the book takes place on the first page,“The bodies of over four dozen men and women littered the small grid of streets which made up his hometown. He’d killed them all. After the first few, much of the shock wore off and it was little different than plowing the fields or harvesting the crops. Just another job, albeit a bloody one. It was time to return to the farm. He could finish this messy work tomorrow or the day after that. He had a feeling time didn’t matter much anymore. Still, the day had been long and hot, and he’d worked up quite a thirst. All he had at the farm was prune juice, spoiled milk, and whatever water still remained in the holding tank. Wim felt it best to gather a few supplies before heading home, and Bender’s store was the only choice in town. He knew Old Man Bender wouldn’t mind if he raided his little market. He knew Old Man Bender wouldn’t mind because he’d put a bullet through his liver-spotted bald head three hours ago. Or was it four?” (Page 1). This passage shows so much about our character. Keep in mind that this takes place only days after the outbreak. He was completely desensitized in a matter of days, killing people he previously knew, leaviing their bodies to rot. Not only that, but it is said he is running out of resourses, and he refers to his killing as just another job, and says that after the first few, it became easy to kill. He has no problem stealing, and he knows how lucky he is to be immune to the airborne strand of this virus. He is willing to survive at virtually any cost. I would rate this book 8/10. Absolutely fantastic and would recommend to virtually anybody.