Or Ashley, the Zombie Slayer . . .
by Dana Fredsti, Titan Books
Make no mistake: you can judge a book by its cover and Plague Town, the first in a series of “Ashley Parker” novels, is no exception . . .
Going into Plague Town you know exactly what to expect, and author Dana Fredsti doesn’t disappoint.
Hope you weren’t bargaining on any Shakespeare here!
This is the sort of disposable lit that makes for ideal reading on a plane or on the beach when you can’t be expected to pay too much attention in-between distractions such as the elements, noisy kids, airline meals, old aunties who want to show you photos of her granddaughters, and the like.
Expecting some good old zombie action featuring a sassy heroine? You’ve got that. This is essentially Buffy re-imagined with zombies instead of vampires as told by Buffy, er sorry, Ashley, a twentysomething student at a university somewhere in smallish town America, herself.
Ashley’s life as student is shattered one day when she and her boyfriend are attacked by a horde of flesh-eating zombies.
A nasty flu virus seems to be turning people into undead cannibals. Ashley is however not only immune to the virus, but following the attack she is somehow imbued with heightened senses and increased physical strength, all of which make her the ideal zombie killer.
One bite will turn you into a zombie, but another into a zombie slayer it seems . . .
Ashley joins up with a shadowy organization with government and military ties which has fought previous zombie plague outbreaks throughout history (Mt Vesuvius for example was a zombie outbreak in case you were wondering). Soon Ashley and a small squad of fellow ex-civilian survivors are in a life-and-death struggle to contain the zombie plague before it spreads to the outside world . . .
It may be the dawn of the undead apocalypse, but there is still some time for romance with the stand-offish squad leader. Where would any modern “urban fantasy” novel be without it? Luckily any Twilight-style love triangles are quickly jettisoned when Ashley’s boyfriend becomes zombie chow at the start of the book.
The romance and sex bits are the novel’s weakest aspect and will most likely irk male readers, but probably won’t put off any female readers. That, plus the fact that Ashley comes across as a bit of an airhead (then again, so was Buffy when one thinks about it). Hope you weren’t expecting any depth in the characterization department: all the characters are reduced to types and spout more pop cultural references than The Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy. Violence is of the videogame variety.
As excepted the book doesn’t wrap all its storylines and drops a bit of a conspiracy plot into the mix to make one want to buy the next installment, which you’ll probably do the next time you go on holiday.
It’s as shallow as its heroine, but don’t let that put you off this fast-paced and slick read.