Friday, February 14, 2014

Review & Giveaway - Undying by Valerie Grosjean

Title: Undying
Series: Undying #1
Author: Valerie Grosjean
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Pages: 197
Goodreads Rating: 3.90 Stars
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
My Content Rating: 16+? (Zombie violence)

Summary from Goodreads: This is a story of love . . . and zombies. 

When eighteen-year-old college freshman Christian discovers his dormitory is crawling with the living dead, he knows he has a problem. But once he learns the whole country is overrun by the flesh-eating horde, he must race to protect what matters to him most. 

Sixteen-year-old Iris, the girl he loves, is stranded eighty miles away, alone and completely unaware of the gruesome threat surrounding her.

Christian’s plan is to evade the zombies, drive the distance to rescue Iris, and get them both to his family farm—where there are guns, fuel, and everything else they’ll need to survive. His mission seems simple: Get the girl, get to the farm, and stay alive.

Things get complicated when Christian is forced to make an unthinkable choice between Iris and his family. Someone he loves must die, and he must decide.

Don't let the pretty cover fool you, Undying is a gruesome zombie apocalypse story that will have you watching your friends and family for signs of undeadness (yep, totally made that word up).

The negatives:
  • The romance.  Reading the synopsis, you would think that this book is all about the romance.  And it is - sort of.  Throughout the book Christian is focused on his best friend, who he's been secretly in love with for the past year.  The problem is that he's not actually with her for at least the first half of the book (we get a couple of phone calls, but that's all), so we don't really get a chance to see his love for her in action.  Then, once the two are together, I struggled to figure out if Iris had any feelings for Christian at all (or at least non-friend feelings).  There just wasn't any chemistry between them and there were very few scenes where the two of them made any sort of connection.  So, we just kind of had to go on what Christian was telling us about his feelings, without really seeing the sparks between the two of them.  This made it hard for me to really root for them as a couple.  The book is a short, quick read - I would have preferred if it were a bit longer and we had some more moments between Christian and Iris.
What I loved:
  • The zombies.  While the romance in this book was lacking a bit as far as I was concerned, the zombie action was not.  The book starts out with a bang - literally - and doesn't let up.  Christian finds himself suddenly swarmed by zombies in his college dorm and barely makes his escape.  Meanwhile lots of others, don't escape at all - and the results are rather gory.  Just the way a zombie book should be.  These aren't slow-shuffling, lazy zombies either - you need to stay out of their way!!  When Christian escapes the dorm, he's still far from safe and sound, and there were some interesting twists as far as who did and didn't become zombified by the end of the book.  
  • Christian.  I thought that Christian was a very realistic hero.  He was neither a superman nor a wimp - he was mostly a regular guy who found himself trying to survive and get to the girl he loved.  I also thought that his feelings for Iris were believable, so I was sympathetic to his plight.  (Like I said, I just didn't quite see those feelings reciprocated when he and Iris were together).  I loved that Christian was an aspiring poet - his voice showed that poetic side of him without him coming off as flowery or overblown, which is a hard balance.  My only gripe about Christian was that he seemed a bit oblivious when his dorm-mates started eating people - it took him a little too long to figure out that they were zombies!  But, I was able to forgive that because, once he did figure it out, he acted pretty rationally and intelligently.  Christian was a character I could root for!
  • The ending.  There was a twist at the ending that I thought was great and definitely made me interested in reading the next installment in the series!
Undying is a quick and entertaining read.  While the romance in this book didn't have me completely enthralled, Grosjean still did a good job of crafting an interesting zombie story and I'm eager to see how it all plays out in book #2. I give it  3.5/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

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About the Author
Valerie Grosjean is the author of the young adult novel UNDYING. She grew up on a Nebraska farm. After college, she married and moved to Northern California, where she lives with her husband and their two young children. Her obsession with zombie movies inspired UNDYING, her first novel and the beginning of the Undying series.

Author Links:
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Two giveaways!!  One for an ebook copy of the book (just here on my site) and one for a signed paperback and a bookmark (tour-wide).  Good luck!
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  1. Sounds interesting. How is the world building? Do the zombies have a back story?
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

    1. They think that the zombies were initially created by a virus and that it may spread through the water as well as through bites. But it seems like this might have just been a theory - since Christian is just a regular college kid, he doesn't really have access to anyone who would truly know, but that's what's been thrown out there. There's a possibility that Christian might find someone in the next book that could know more (it's hinted at).

  2. Great review! I really love zombie books so I've had my eye on this one from the start. Too bad the romance didn't have more spark but it sounds like the zombie action and the MC were really well done. I love that it's a male POV, too!

    1. Yes, the zombie elements were done really well - and I'm still hoping that the romance will be strengthened in book #2!

  3. This is new to me and I have to admit I'm intrigued. I've only read one zombie novel and would like to read more. Good review.

    1. Zombie books were new to me this year too, but now I'm finding that I really like them!

  4. The Book wounds great and I love your Blog,Super Cute!