Thursday, January 13, 2011


Title/Author: Autumn by David Moody.

Genre: Horror.

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character: None.

Favorite quote: None.

All in all:  This book wasn't for me.

Synopsis: After 99 percent of the population of the planet is killed in less than twenty-four hours, for the very few who have managed to stay alive, things are about to get much worse.

Animated by “phase two” of some unknown contagion, the dead begin to rise. At first slow, blind, dumb and lumbering, quickly the bodies regain their most basic senses and abilities – sight, hearing, locomotion – as well as the instinct toward aggression and violence.

Held back only by the restraints of their rapidly decomposing flesh, the dead seem to have only one single goal-to lumber forth and destroy the sole remaining attraction in the silent, lifeless world: those who have survived the plague, who now find themselves outnumbered one million to one. ~Book jacket.

Please note: This post will have many spoilers.

Some stories are about people and some stories focus on a situation and what people do. Autumn seemed to be about the latter. I personally don’t really feel this is a horror novel.  It seemed to be more of a survival story. There was some gore and rotting zombies and corpses, but it didn’t really instill a sense of fear or dread in me. The only really scary chapter turned out to be a dream.

I would have liked to have seen more showing in this book, but unfortunately, it felt very narrative throughout most of the novel.  The events were basically the three main characters trying to get through the days. Because of the style, it took me several pages to figure out who was speaking and there were sentences that didn’t make sense and it was distracting to me.

I would have also liked to have seen traits that make the characters stand out or expose who they are. They are sad and upset and they understand that the world has changed and they reminisce from time to time but they don’t explore their feelings in depth. The only thing I got from their personalities was that Carl is rude and Michael is arrogant and bossy. These traits can be interesting, but I couldn’t find anything behind their words and actions. When Emma and Michael say that they are upset after Carl leaves the farmhouse, it surprised me because I really didn’t see anything to back up their feelings. They just argued with him and tried to bully him into staying. There was also a part where Michael states that he’d come to rely on having Emma around and even though they hardly knew each other they shared “…more pain, despair, and raw emotion with her than any other person.” However, this is not shown to my satisfaction. 
The characters also fight a lot.  I understand that emotions are high, but there is constant bickering, criticizing, hairsplitting and going over arguments again and again. The people reminded me of dysfunctional family members more than survivors who needed to work together.

In Autumn’s defense, I do have to say that the story itself was believable. I never once thought, “...that could never happen...” even though it was a zombie novel. There were also some moments that were touched upon that could have been very special and I wish they were explored a little further. Michael wants to rebuild but he thinks they have to clear out their old life first. While this may seem a little presumptious of him, I think he has a good point. However, he only expresses this opinion by arguing and not explaining. The trio also don't like doing anything normal in the “new world” because it reminds them of what they lost. This could have been very poignant and I would have liked to have seen it explored a little further.

Afterthoughts: After I wrote this review I went on Amazon to see if I was crazy. I was a little validated to see some of the reviews agreed with mine and even the synopsis from Booklist was spot on with my opinion. There are some people who did love this book however, so if you are thinking about it, please check Amazon for all opinions.

2 out of 5 stars.

1/16/10-I almost forgot that this title goes to the 2011 Horror and Urban Reading Fantasy.  Please click link or button on sidebar for more information.


Jenny said...

Sorry this one wasn't for you! It seems like the characters were just a little flat and in a survival type story like this one I think you really need to connect to them or you're just left wanting. Thanks for such a thorough, honest review, though, I got a good feel for this book after reading it:)

Angelique said...

Well, it sounded promising lol...

Running off to check out the challenges you signed up for =)

Unknown said...

I had never heard of this bk before... sorry it didnt work for you =/

Karen said...

Interesting premise - too bad it didn't work out for you. I check out other reviews too sometimes after I've read a book I didn't like to see if I'm crazy :-))Alas - we can't all love everything.

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