(Cover picture courtesy of Amanda Hocking’s Blog.)
“This is the way the world ends – not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”
Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way – not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies.
After enjoying Amanda Hocking’s Trylle trilogy, which was admittedly light reading but still good, I decided to give Hollowland a go. I mean, it’s about zombies and it was free on Amazon at the time so why not? I had already read Amanda Hocking’s work and liked it so it seemed like it would be a winner.
Except it wasn’t. The plot was so cliché that I could pretty much predict all of the plot twists. And certain elements were so unbelievable that I have to laugh. A pet lion, really? Even if it was tame before the apocalypse, it certainly would not have stayed tame after Remy freed it from a bunch of zombies. Okay, if I suspend disbelief on that front long enough I still find the rest of the plot either trite or unbelievable.
Harlow is thirteen but is so immature you would think she’s eight years old, Remy knows how to get things done but is an unemotional robot and Lazlo is just plain annoying. I don’t want to spoil too much, but the fact that Remy’s little brother is taken by the government for immunity testing and Remy wasn’t is just a little unbelievable considering they’re siblings and therefore could share the same DNA that makes them immune.
The characters were unlikeable and the plot was, well, nonexistent. Remy and the gang do a bunch of travelling and get chased by zombies a couple of times, find the quarantine zone and just relax until the very end. Trust me, you can predict what happens at the end by chapter two. Honestly, I would have expected quite a lot more from Amanda Hocking, considering that I enjoyed her Trylle trilogy. Sure, it was a little predictable and there were a few clichés, but there was nothing on the level of Hollowland.
Moving on from the characters and the plot, I did find one good thing about Hollowland: the zombies. The zombies are more of the 28 Days Later fast zombie type than the traditional slow type. They display a lot more intelligence than zombies in some books and even lay an ambush for the characters at one point. However, there is exactly zero information on the virus/parasite/whatever that caused the zombies and virtually no backstory about how or when the apocalypse started. It’s frustrating because that’s the one element I actually enjoyed in the story.
Overall? I’d give Hollowland a solid ‘meh’. The zombies are okay, but the characters and plot are either boring or unbelievable.
I give this book 2/5 stars.