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BOOK REVIEW: FTN reviews Sick by Tom Leveen

October 3rd, 2013 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

Written by:
Tom Leveen
Publisher: Amulet

All of the great horror monsters seem to have come back into style – like vampires, werewolves and, most recently, zombies. The problem with this is that in our swag obsessed, Yolo generation, the big moviemakers and TV show creators try and create a “fresh take’” on the old classics and in doing so they are brutally murdering them one sparkly vampire at a time! When I heard about sick I thought to myself, “No! Not another half-baked horror story!” After reading it I will say this much, it brings new meaning to the idea never judge a book by its cover.

So the basic story of the book is summed up as ‘The Breakfast Club meets The Walking Dead’ which, if I’m completely honest, doesn’t do the story justice! It felt a little like they were downplaying the story a little. The story is about Brian and his friends, a bunch of high school misfits who spend their days jumping a military style fence around the school so they can skip classes, one day their friend comes to school feeling =sick and the virus that he has turns teachers and classmates against each other, turning most of the school into ravenous bloodthirsty monsters (this is my favorite part!) Brian’s sister and girlfriend are trapped in another part of the building needing help so it’s up to Brian, Chad and some of his classmates to try and save them.

The characters for this book are all very straightforward and, if I’m honest, they’re a little one dimensional, it feels like the writer tried to make this a zombie story but at the same time a teen coming of age story which doesn’t really work, there isn’t a lot of character development, there are a few small nods to their family situations such as absentee parents, sexuality, mental health issues and family illness but it’s only really mentioned in fleeting comments that are scattered throughout the story. Most stories have specific character roles like the hero, the sidekick, the bad guy, well this book doesn’t really fit the bill in the sense that each character steps up to the mark and plays a different role. The biggest example of this is Chad and Brian, they start the story of as your standard big tough strong hero (chad) and quiet reserved sidekick (Brian) but by the end of the book the roles are completely reversed, making it a little more interesting and opening up a plot that I didn’t see coming.

There were so many things I liked about this book, but also a few that I didn’t. First thing I loved was the fact that it’s pretty gruesome! By some people’s standards it may not have been very gory but in my opinion it was pretty gross! The author describes in great detail about zombies breaking bones and tearing people’s throats out which is disgusting but at the same time you cant help but read on. There is, nothing worse than a zombie story were the zombies just stumble about slowly and drag their feet! This story definitely delivers! It is a story that I can only describe as just gruesome enough. The descriptions were so vivid and detailed that it made me want to read further.

This leads me to a dislike; the action scenes were a little sporadic, which made the story feel like a very bumpy roller coaster and left me feeling a little sick, one minute everything was calm, next minute zombie attack!

Not to go on too much about a previous point but my only other dislike about the book was the lack of character development. Normally in a story like this, lack of character development would not annoy me but simply because the author has tried to develop the characters and left it half finished it just leaves a bitter taste. I could be wrong and we may see further character development in the future as the ending suggests the possibility of more stories but who knows?

In conclusion, I thought it was a pretty good book, it was just gory enough for myself but not enough storyline, and what was there – as far as story goes – was a little haphazard and sporadic but apart from that it was an enjoyable book and hopefully the start of an excellent series of books certainly a recommended read coming up to Halloween and to add to the collection, perhaps with the help of cashwindow.

3 out of 5 Nerds

I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.