Pros: Very short entry in the series
Cons: Not all that much to it.
Rating: 3 out of 5
K.R. Griffiths’ Shock (Wildfire Chronicles Vol. 2), also available bundled in the Wildfire Chronicles: Volumes 1-4, continues our story from part one, Panic. In that book an infection spread with insane rapidity, turning humans into jumped-up cannibals. They aren’t dead and can be killed just like any other person, so it isn’t exactly a zombie apocalypse (depending on your definition of ‘zombie’). We’re introduced to John Francis. He’s ex-military and signed on as a sort of bodyguard to a wealthy man who turned out to be a part of releasing the infection upon the world. The bad guys planned for a fast-paced infection that would burn itself out as quickly as it started, but the world isn’t living up to their expectations. John was sent to find Victor, who messed with the formula.
John and his group arrive at Victor’s compound using swords to fight their way through the Infected. The reasoning isn’t bad, actually: knives let the Infected get too close, while guns make enough sound that they’ll bring every Infected for miles. Oddly though, that’s pretty much the last we saw of swords.
In order for the plot to proceed as desired, one of John’s crew is required to be so stupid that I cannot imagine how anyone would even let him leave the house. He leaves the door to Victor’s bunker open and then randomly presses a button that turns out to be a really loud siren. There’s gotta be a way to send the group onward that doesn’t require so much stupidity. Long story short, John ends up on the run with our heroes. They don’t trust him; he doesn’t care about them. But they do need each other. I like the fact that trust is not won easily in this crew. Now that Michael is so seriously injured, I’m surprised that the rest of the group accommodates him so much–the group isn’t exactly tight-knit. The idea that they can survive together is tough to buy into. Jason is mentally not all there (he’s always been a little slow, but now he’s nearly unresponsive due to trauma); Rachel is wounded and traumatized and brittle; Michael is a paraplegic; and John has enough training that he’d probably be in less danger on his own.
This entry into the series is unusually short, so I don’t have much more to say about it. There is character development, but despite that some of the characters feel rather flat.