Review: “10 Days: Undead Uprising,” Jon Athan

Pros: Great concept
Cons: What was this meant to be?
Rating: 1.5 out of 5

10 Days: Undead Uprising, by Jon Athan (ha, yes, amusing pen name), approaches the undead uprising rather nicely. It covers the span of ten days since the uprising started, and each day is a separate story. That’s a fantastic setup right there. Unfortunately that’s kind of where the good stuff ends.

Now there’s the matter of what sort of book this was meant to be: a ‘normal’ zombie story, a satire, or a joke? I’m going to do the author a favor and assume it’s one of the latter two. That bumps the score up from a 1 to a 1.5, at least.

If satire: there desperately needs to be a blatant indicator of same on the Amazon product page. As of this review, I could not find such an indicator.

My personal bet, however, is that this was a joke. A couple people were probably chatting on Reddit about how the world is so zombie-crazy that you could knock out a zombie best-seller in a day, and someone decided to do just that. In which case, cute, but if I hadn’t gotten this through Kindle Unlimited the author would have earned the dubious distinction of publishing the only e-book I ever would have returned for a refund.

First, I wish to put forward a list of words and terms that the author should strike entirely from his vocabulary, due to either misuse, overuse, or “huh?!”

  • Scampered
  • Devious/ly
  • Donned
  • Timorous
  • The phrase ‘anxious fluids’

There were probably more, but I didn’t write down everything. This discussion of words brings me to my next major points:

  • Not every noun needs an adjective.
  • Not every verb needs an adverb.
  • It is not a travesty to use ‘walked’ instead of scampered, scurried, traipsed, or any of the zillion other words the author tried on as substitutes.

Note to Author: DROP THE THESAURUS AND BACK AWAY WITH YOUR HANDS UP.

For a little while as I was reading I’d copy down quotes that were particularly bad. I had to stop doing that, because there were too many of them. I’ll try to sift through the ones I did note to find a particularly good example:

Alan caught a glimpse of Ellen’s glimmering eyes–indecipherable eyes, sincere but conniving.

So… if they’re ‘sincere but conniving’ they’re obviously not indecipherable. And if they’re sincere, they aren’t conniving, or vice versa. Oh, one more just because I can’t help myself:

Her vibrant brown eyes popped thanks to her natural luster and supportive makeup.

Umm. ‘Eyes popped.’ Take a careful look at that imagery there. Also, the author does not need to physically describe every single person on first encounter. Especially since he describes them all pretty similarly: height, hair and eyes, etc.

There’s a brief hand-wavy explanation for how the disease spread so quickly, but it didn’t measure up. (It accounted for local spread, but not the rest of the country.) There are other cases where I couldn’t account for how one person or another became a zombie, or how it was that the (very short) time between death and reanimation coincidentally was the five minutes during which people happened upon the scene.

I really hope that all of this was a deliberate attempt to write an over-the-top ‘joke’ book. But even then, it’s a very painful read, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

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