Review: “Ground Zero,” Jessica Meigs

Pros: An enjoyable outbreak/not-quite-zombie tale
Cons: Couldn’t get into the characters for some time
Rating: 3 out of 5

In Jessica Meigs’s “The Becoming” series, a plague escaped from Atlanta. While it kills and brings back the dead–i.e., zombies–these zombies are a tad different than the usual literary fare. They seem to have some smarts, including the ability to ambush, to follow people to their hidey-holes, and to strategize when fighting. This makes the whole thing even more scary and dangerous. Ground Zero (The Becoming Book 2) finds our heroes holed up in a safe house that has been working out for them lately. A woman named Avi Geller (a journalist) shows up, and tries to convince our heroes to travel to Atlanta to find out what really happened. They’re hardly thrilled with the idea of going into the heart of the plague area, but events align such that they become convinced it’s worth doing.

Unlike the previous installment, The Becoming, it took me a while to get into volume two. Nearly all the characters started out entirely unlikable this time, so even though I’d met them in the previous book, it took me a while to get pulled in this time. I was surprised and a little dismayed that Ethan had become the leader of the group, because a) he didn’t seem a likely leader in the last book, and b) he spends much of this book being an asshole. Apparently there are enough living survivors (even though we never see them) that there’s room for gossip and rumors to travel–that’s why Avi connected with this particular group of people in her quest.

I found more logical inconsistencies in this book than the previous. Little things adding up; for instance, breaking into teams to check out a new and possibly dangerous place, and taking the two characters who have no guns and don’t know how to use guns and putting them together with no one else to watch over them. When a character says “You’re not stupid, Remy! Stop acting like it!” I felt like cheering, because that was almost exactly what I’d been thinking at the time. There’s a case where characters have been yelling and screaming, but they’re worried gunshots will give their location away. Sweeties, it’s already been given away.

The closer we got to Atlanta, the more interesting things became, and I did end up getting hooked again (if not as much as in the last book). I’m hoping the next installment will pick up again.

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