Pros: Deep dive into characters’ heads
Cons: Silly, one-dimensional evil corporation
Rating: 3 out of 5
David Kazzie’s The Immune: Omnibus Edition is a combination of four books in his series. While it ended in a place that I was okay with, I think to some people it would be a cliffhanger.
Miles Chadwick created the Medusa virus to wipe out humanity. Thanks to a wealthy backer, he has a compound set up, a vaccine he’s given out to all of his henchmen, and a group of 50 men and 50 women chosen to give birth to the new generation of humans. Meanwhile, Dr. Adam Fisher, OB/GYN, has just been suspended for a death that occurred under his supervision that remains to be investigated. He ends up isolated in his family’s beach home when the world goes to hell, and doesn’t realize what’s happening until sick neighbors pound on his door. He survives the end of the world, and since he has reason to believe his semi-estranged daughter Rachel has too, he sets out to find her. Along the way he meets Sarah, a US Army captain who was forced to do some awful things during the outbreak. The two link up and decide to stick together for at least part of the journey.
Hands-down the best part of this book is being inside the various characters’ heads as they experience the end of the world as they know it. At its best, this includes details like Miles Chadwick actually freaking out a bit as he sets his final plan in motion, which is something we don’t normally see in bad guys. Normally this kind of material tends to be a little slow, but it really worked for me here. It was mildly marred by the fact that I was never entirely fond of Adam Fisher as a lead character. He was a little too much of an everyman, and yet simultaneously kept ending up in charge, which didn’t always feel right.
The major negative is the bad guys. Chadwick starts out interesting, but he swiftly devolves into something more and more stereotypical. Also, while Kazzie’s great at getting into individuals’ heads, his ability to represent an organization suffers. The Citadel is a one-dimensional group of eevil folks. They have a logo they take the time to graffiti on places they raid, and tattoo on prisoners. (So, they happened to recruit a tattoo artist just to tattoo the prisoners they hadn’t originally planned on taking?)
SPOILER WARNING: Skip to the next paragraph to avoid spoilers. One complication that arises is that the 50 women have been rendered sterile by the vaccine–their ovaries have failed. Whoops! This triggers Chadwick to order his men to scour the countryside for women of child-bearing age, at which point, naturally, the plan is to impregnate the unwilling women. Umm, they have 50 perfectly willing women who volunteered for this. Why not harvest eggs from the survivors–something that requires a lot less cooperation than actual pregnancy–and have the 50 ‘chosen ones’ carry the babies to term? END SPOILER WARNING.
A small rebellion does arise within the bad guy organization, which had the potential to give the people inside some depth, but it isn’t carried far enough. And afterward, the bad guys devolve still further into stereotypes and mustache-twirling territory. There is one moment when someone’s about to reveal something important–and then it gets dropped. Totally. It’s never brought up or even alluded to again. Also, where do the bad guys get a super-sharp broadsword for seemingly unexpected executions? And how did Rachel know where that spare key was, anyway?
This is a grim and gritty apocalypse in which people die horribly, not everyone comes out okay, and things never hold together for long. I didn’t find it too depressing, but that’s partially because I never got too emotionally attached to the characters. Some people might find it to be too much.
All in all I’m not sorry I read this series, but I’m not interested enough to read the next book (The Living).