Review: “Side Effects: Book One: First Days,” Dusti Dawn Rose

Pros: Detailed prepper/survivalist tale
Cons: Rough; slow; sometimes confusing or inconsistent
Rating: 3 out of 5

Side Effects: Book One: First Days (Volume 1), by Dusti Dawn Rose, tells the tale of Em and Drew, along with Em’s roommate Anna, a little boy, and a few others who get sucked in along the way. The zombie apocalypse has happened, but Em’s father has been prepping her and her best friend Drew for the end of the world since they were children. Em decides to take Anna, and they pick up a 4-year-old at an accident site. Em and Drew seem to take the idea of the zombie apocalypse happening remarkably in their stride. They take it equally in stride when the kid claims to have prophetic dreams and visions.

It’s clear that the real meat of the story for the author is the prepping and survivalism. Those get loving drawn out over a fairly long space, whereas the zombies and the bad guy humans are almost afterthoughts. On the one hand, I’ve been wanting to read something more like that. On the other hand, First Days glosses over so much that the rest becomes unbelievable. There should have been more amazement or disbelief on the parts of the characters when things like prescient dreams and actual zombies entered the story. Instead the author raced right past those.

When I hit the end there’s a little preview of book two. I was very ambivalent as to whether I cared enough to read it or not. Some of the characters had some decent depth (especially Anna), but overall I didn’t care enough about the characters or their travails. It’s clear the author has some skill, but that skill also needs polish and honing.

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