Mad World is the third book in the Broken World series, which follows a group of survivors after a super-virus has destroyed the world and the dead have come back to claim it as their own…
Vivian didn’t think things could get any worse than losing Emily, and getting to the shelter should have been their salvation. But once again their hopes were shattered when they discovered things weren’t safe as promised, forcing them to head into Vegas in search of supplies.
But now she and Hadley find themselves in a situation more threatening than even the dead walking the Earth. Kidnapped by armed men and taken deep into Vegas, they’re cut-off from anyone who cares about them and thrust into a world so sick and twisted it can only be described as madness. Knowing that Axl has no idea where they are and little hope of finding them, Vivian and Hadley must team up with one of the very men who abducted them if they have any hope of escaping their new nightmare.
Watching Vivian get thrown into the back of a van almost tears him apart, but he’s determined to find her no matter what it takes. With the growing tension between him and Angus, Axl finds himself wondering if the price will be his relationship with his brother. Putting both old and new wounds aside, Axl and Angus must infiltrate the group holding Vivian and Hadley, and make their escape through a zombie-ridden Vegas.
But the men in charge of Vegas aren’t the type to easily forget, and the group soon discovers that getting the girls out alive very well could mean the end for them all…
Although the zombie novel sub-genre of dystopian fiction and horror literature is not lacking in terms of published works it can, unfortunately, be said that it lacks some level of creativity. Although I love zombie books (if you read the weekly reviews I post on ZombieApocalypse.net you’ll know this isn’t lip service), some titles make it easy to feel as if you have read one zombie book you have read them all.
It seems to be difficult for some authors of zombie themed series to maintain the flair or edge they might have had in their first book once they have more than one title under their belt. It’s hard to keep multiple installments interesting when you keep the same cast of characters without also creating a new problem. Creating new problems seems to be a consistent issue for zombie writers for some reason. Basic survival isn’t enough at this point. Mary succeeds where many have failed by always keeping her readers guessing. (Even if we occasionally connect the dots before her characters can.)
After three books with Kate L. Mary Vivian and the gang feel like old friends. (Except for Angus. No one really wants to be friends with Angus.) Their third adventure begins with two characters being kidnapped by another group of survivors that manages to be even more unsavory than the most blustery of our heroes from the previous books. As with those previous stories, Mary’s ability to write action scenes which make my heart begin to pound in my living room in broad daylight as well as emotional, gut wrenching events which nearly brought tears to my eyes. Her characters are incredibly easy to relate to, despite their varied backgrounds and dynamics which makes the zombie assaults all that much more suspenseful.
Writing Style 4/5
The writing style is very casual and is almost conversational. It is like the narrators are writing in a real time journal rather than logging details of incidents after the fact. (There are multiple narrators in this book. This is not something standard in the Broken World series, but it is something Mary executes superbly.) This helps fuel the feeling that you, the reader, are a part of the experience. I enjoy horror stories told in this perspective because the fear and panic often feel more real. The reader gets to experience the anxiety along with the characters.
Writing Flow 5/5
The flow of the book feels very natural. Mary tells the story in a very linear fashion, with events unfolding in the order they occurred from the perspective of each narrator. The story transitions from one character to the next and then back again so that the reader gets a clear sense of the passage of time and the order of events. This can sometimes be absent from novels which lack an obvious day to day schedule or clear calendar of events. (This is especially true in books which take place after the end of a rational world of timekeeping.)
Character & Scene Description 5/5
Physical description is always one of Mary’s strong points. From the amount of sweat on a character’s brow to whether or not an entering figure has visible tattoos, you’ll know about it. If the character is important or interacts with important characters you’ll have a vision of what they look like so that you’ll be able to log their interactions with other characters and their progression through the story line. The character, Vivian, also gives smaller characters nicknames which is as entertaining as it is useful for ensuring that you can follow small characters when they aren’t necessarily given actual names.
In addition to characters being described well, Mary is sure to remind readers of their senses as they progress throughout the story. When locations reek of death and the undead or when groans or thumps can be heard you’ll know about it. This is one of the joys of having a first person account in a zombie thriller – if the character hears, smells, or tastes something repulsive you’ll know it as soon as they do.
This combination romance/horror novel has enough interesting elements to keep me on the edge of my seat even after spending three novels with these same characters. If you’re looking for a lively, enjoyable zombie series to add to your collection please consider checking out the Broken World series. At $2.99 per book they are one of the better bargains in the horror/romance genre. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series, even though the official launch of Mad World isn’t until January 3, 2015. I’m eager to see what other horrors can befall Vivian and the other survivors!