Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an “Inward Trek.” As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of “infects” shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate “Zombie Rules” almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back.
Serving up a cast of irreverent, slightly twisted characters, an unexpected villain, and an ending you won’t see coming, here is a savvy tale that that’s a delight to read—whether you’re a rabid zombie fan or freshly bitten—and an incisive commentary on the evil that lurks within each of us.
In all honesty, finishing this book was the most difficult thing I’ve done in a long time. Generally, most people probably would have quit while they were ahead, but I always feel that novels deserve to be read all the way through just in case there is a saving grace, and I’ve found those saving graces in a few novels before. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it with this novel. Now, while there is an interesting twist to this zombie apocalypse story near the end, everything leading up to it was so vulgar and difficult to wade through that by the time I got to the twist, I just didn’t care anymore.
My first issue with this novel comes from the formatting itself, and while I know this is no issue of the author’s, and it was an ARC copy, so it shouldn’t exist in the final copies, it made it extremely difficult for me to read. Why? Throughout the first 40% of the novel, sporadic words and phrases were replaced by random letters and numbers, and I honestly couldn’t figure out what they were supposed to say. On occasion, words would be separated by spaces, and while extremely annoying to try to read, I could figure out what the words were fairly quickly, but once random letters and numbers joined the mix, I could figure out the words anymore and I had to overlook that portion of the story. If it had happened once in a blue moon, then it really wouldn’t have bothered me, but the fact that it happened quite often, and sometimes entire words would be missing with just the letter D in their stead… well, that made it too difficult for me to follow the story on the whole.
However, formatting aside, I found the novel itself to be extremely juvenile, but not in a good way, not in the way that I’d give it to my kids to read. Instead, this novel is completely off humor and constantly cracks jokes about tits, masturbating, farts, and erections… things that might cause the reader to crack a sheepish smile the very first time it comes up, but the sheer amount of redundancy caused me to groan and role my eyes continuously. I also found the characters names for each other to be quite ridiculous, like War Pig, and I didn’t find it funny in the least. I felt like the “witty banter” between the teens was unrealistic and much too juvenile, aside from being sick, and it got very old, very fast.
Then, there was the extremely graphic nature of the book. No detail is spared in this novel, and when the zombies sink their teeth into others, as they do a lot, the reader is gifted the entire experience though extreme graphic phrasing. I understand horror books that do this, but I was not ready for this in The Infects, and it really made me sick as I read.
Overall, I didn’t enjoy this novel in the least, though I have heard that Beuadoin’s other novels are very well written and not as graphic, so perhaps I’ll check out one of them. One star.
Candlewick Press has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on September 25, 2012.