Sunday, October 7, 2012

Alice in Zombieland, by Gena Showalter- Review

From Goodreads:
She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

It must be Giving me the Creeps October hey? Two zombie books in one week!  It's a little like heaven I think.  Well O.K., it would be more like heaven if this book had been better...

I have to say, I was pretty thoroughly disappointed by Alice in Zombieland.  I wasn't sure if this would be similar to the Quirk zombie Austen books, or if it was just going to be a an Alice in Wonderland inspired zombie book, but either way, what fun!  Except it wasn't really either of these things.  Oh, there was a clever play on words for each of the chapter titles which referenced Alice in Wonderland, and there was a rabbit shaped cloud that cropped up periodically, and of course the heroine is named Alice, but that's basically the extent of the Wonderland in Alice in Zombieland.  HOW COME THERE WASN'T A RABBIT HOLE??!!!!  I felt thoroughly ripped off, or shrinking and growing? OR a tea party??!  How fantastic would shrinking zombies be?  Or a zombie tea party?  Oh the wasted possibilities!

This was far from my only gripe sadly.  My next biggest issue was Bad Boy/Love Interest, Cole.  O.K., for starters, Bad Boys (notice the capitols people, this is a thing), should be BAD, not just tough and rough looking.  Now they don't have to be bad to the bone, though, lets be honest, this is preferable, but they should at least be bad news, or trouble.  Cole is supposed to be a Bad Boy, and leader of a gang of Bad Boys- IE: they're all super ripped, wear a lot of black, have chains for belts, have tattoo's and are covered in bruises, which clearly suggest they're trouble.
To the right of us was a group of eight boys.  If I'd ever needed a visual definition of serial criminal, I now had one (or eight).  They were tall, all of them, and they were stacked with muscle.  Most sported tattoos on their arms and piercings on their faces.  A few wore chains around their waists, as if the metal links were belts, but on those bodies they could only be weapons.
Proof: two of them had house-arrest anklets on display over their dirt-caked boots.
So for starters, I'm picturing this:
and would it shock you for me to say, this is doing NOTHING for me.  Also, just because a guy is muscly why would that automatically suggest that a chain belt would be a weapon? 

Then she started describing Kat's ex:
Besides the I'm-totally-a-serial-killer face, he had black bands tattooed around his wrists and brass knuckles tattooed over his...well, knuckles
Um, what is a serial killer face??  Because you later figure out Frosty (totally his name for the whole book, I kid you not), is a really great guy but I couldn't stop picturing Paul Bernardo and it gave me the willies.  Just as bad, O.K. not quite as bad as a serial killer face- but close, lover boy, uber-gorgeous purple eyed Cole perpetually wears a baseball cap and his sexy look includes wearing a wife beater. Ugh.  Can I tell you how much I loath boys in baseball caps?  Every guy in my elementary school wore one, and besides being a boring fashion statement they leave every boy with the worst hat hair when they take them off.  Also, and I'm guessing here (I don't like baseball cap boys remember?), don't they cause kissing issues? Like don't they totally get in the way?  I pictured this in elementary school, since every boy in my class wore one, it seemed annoying.
And I'm not even going to comment on the wife beater.  The name precludes it from ever being a decent fashion statement, or even remotely sexy.

But the worst part is all this build up on how very BAD these boys are, and all they do that's "bad" is killing zombies, which is tough, but not bad.  No explanation is ever actually given for the house arrest anklets, but all of these guys seem like they're just bad asses because they spend all night hunting zombies and sleep through classes. But they're all very skilled at talking like gangstas and shooting dirty glares, horrifying.

What really kills me about these guys is how all of these unattractive traits are supposed to add up to drool worthy, hotty-pants, love interests.  Alice digs it for some unexplained reason, but it was lines like this that killed me (after she enters a gym full of guys working out):
A smorgasbord of hot, sweaty guys and warrior weapons.  I'd stepped into every girl's fantasy.
Blech! Speak for yourself Alice, I've been to the gym, tis anything but hot. 

Obviously between the lack of Alice in Wonderland and the gicky guys this book was bound to be a train wreck for me, but the saddest part was how uninterested I was in Alice herself.  She's meek and sad, then feisty and lippy, then tough and powerful and it didn't feel like a natural transition.  I just felt like she was constantly morphing into a different sort of Ali, I never felt like I understood her or had any real empathy for her situation.  In fact the only character I thoroughly enjoyed was her friend Kat.  Sadly a total sub-character.

I had such high hopes! But at least my constant ranting about Showalter's gang of bad boys provided me with some entertainment.

Hot, sweaty, fantasy boys. Honestly. *Insert eye roll here*

Alice in Zombieland, by Gena Showalter
Published by Harlequin Teen, September 25th, 2012
My copy acquired at the BEA
Buy Alice in Zombieland on Amazon


  1. I haven't read this but the part about going to the gym, sweaty guys and the wife beaters cracked me up! (I agree too) Great review. :)

    1. I KNOW, RIGHT?!!!! So okay, we know none of US think it's a fantasy, but I read the line to one of the security supervisors at work and she got super excited, so maybe I was a titch to harsh!

  2. I was really excited about this book, thinking it was going to be a fun twist on Alice in Wonderland, but it wasn't at all and I was so disappointed. I couldn't even finish this book, my main issue was the dialogue of the characters. No one talks like that and if they do they are really stupid! I completely agree with you about the bad boys as well. Great review.

    1. So glad I wasn't the only one! I've seen a couple of bloggers I like raving about it. I kept thinking, did we read the same book??

  3. Oh, I have heard a lot about Alice in Zombieland. There are many mixed reviews about it, so I don't know what to expect.
    ha.ha.ha hot, sweaty guys ??? Definitely not every girl's fantasy (definitely not mine!! ewww).
    And I hate unrealistic conversations and descriptions.
    They give a bad vibe around the story.
    But anyway, I am gonna try it just to see if I like it or not.
    Great review,
    Your constant reader,