Monday, March 31, 2014

Review - Alive by Megan D. Martin

Title: Alive
Author: Megan D. Martin
Release Date: November 14, 2013
Pages: 244
Goodreads Rating: 4.00 Stars
My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
My Content Rating: 18+ (Explicit sex, sexual abuse, language, violence)

Summary from Goodreads: Flesh-eating zombies, dirty sex, and a shattered past…
What’s more dangerous—the man who broke her heart or those trying to eat it?

Fighting to survive, Eve finds herself alone in the world after the Crave—the only parallel of her former life. On the hunt for her sister, she runs into Gage—the first and only boy to have her heart and break it. It’s been four years and he isn’t a boy anymore, nor is he the same person he used to be. Against her better judgment, Eve agrees to stay with him when he divulges information on a safe haven near the small town they grew up in—but that doesn’t mean she has to like it…

Returning home elicits a myriad of emotions that both Eve and Gage thought they had buried. The past and present collide and they are forced to the face bitter deceits that ruined them in the before and threaten to destroy them now…

I really wanted to like this book. I did. I tried hard to love it, but in the end I was mostly just disappointed.  Here's why (sorry if this is a little ranty):

The negatives:
  • The sex.  The sex in this book was much more gratuitous than I'm used to - even in NA books.  And it just all felt so out of place. For a book that takes place during a zombie apocalypse, an inordinate amount of time was spent by these characters just full-on lusting after each other (I know Gage is a guy, but I guess I just didn't need to know every time he got hard thinking about her - which was like every time he thought about her!). I'm not against sex - really.  But I just felt like this book revolved around it way too much.  Oh, we're chained up in a cage with zombies all around us and desperately hoping that the girl who promised to come rescue us will be here any minute?  Well, now seems like a fantastic time for a sexual encounter.  Really?  Um, I'm thinking not!
  • The romance.  I use the word romance here very loosely.  Really, this is just an extension of point #1, but I needed to expound on it further.  By the end of the book, Eve and Gage are in love - or so they say - but I just didn't see it.  They definitely lusted after one another, there is no doubt about that - but love?  Why?  Eve was hung up on Gage when she was a teenager because he was the only boy (the only person really) who treated her at all nicely.  Meaning he smiled at her and didn't call her names.  And drove her home.  But they barely even actually talked to each other at all - I kept waiting to see this amazing connection develop between them (in the scenes that showed us their past relationship), but it never did.  Their whole relationship was based on a kind of weird obsession that Gage developed with Eve on the first day of AP Physics and Eve's naive joy at being noticed by the coolest guy in school.  In fact, when I finally got to the pinnacle scene in the past where Gage takes Eve's virginity (this isn't a spoiler - you're told from the very beginning that this was their history), it just made me feel kind of disgusted.  Give me something to make me want these two to actually be together, please!  The scenes that take place in the present are full of sexual tension and arguing with a few very short sweet scenes thrown in.  I wanted to love Gage, but I couldn't do it.  At one point Gage was jealous because Eve was actually happy around this other guy and I couldn't help but think, "Yeah, maybe she should hook up with the other guy.  She seems to like him a whole heck of a lot more than Gage."  Except she was insanely attracted to Gage - and he sometimes drove her home when she was a teenager - so, obviously, they were meant to be together.
What I enjoyed:
  • The zombie apocalypse.  When the focus was on the zombies, this was actually a pretty good book. The zombies were appropriately creepy and the there were some heart-pounding scenes where I really felt the danger of the apocalypse. Plus, there was an interesting side-story about people who become addicted to zombie flesh.  That was definitely a unique twist on the usual zombie story!
  • Olive's story.  Olive is Eve's sister.  And, actually, her part of the story is pretty much horrible and miserable and incredibly tragic.  But it was good.  I was definitely sucked in whenever we were in an Olive scene and I thought it was really intriguing - the idea that this girl has been so messed up by her incredibly messed up parents that her entire world view is now completely skewed.  You almost, kind of, sort of want to hate Olive, but you can't.
  • Parts of the high school storyline.  There were parts of the high school storyline that I enjoyed - I thought that there was a realism to the fact that Gage was definitely interested in Eve, but too embarrassed to admit it to his cool friends.  I could even see why he would cave into peer pressure and snub Eve.  I only wished that we had seen a little bit more of a connection develop between these two when they were alone!
  • The last few chapters.  In the last few chapters of the book, I did start to see something real between Eve and Gage that made me want them to end up together (after all, I'm a romantic at heart - I want to root for the main couple of a book!).  There was a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel - I just wish it had shined a little brighter and been visible a little sooner!
Having said all of this, there are plenty of other people who have loved this book.  So maybe it's just me.  Maybe I'm just burned out on NA and the addition of zombies wasn't enough to pull me out of my slump.  I don't know, but I could only bring myself to give this book 2.5/5 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***

Want some other opinions?  Check out what these other people thought of this book:
Bex 'n' Books - 4.5 Stars
Simplistic Reviews - 4 Stars