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Ceridwen

Ceridwen

You kids get off my lawn. 

Just Regular Terrible

Red Hill - Jamie McGuire

So, I'm going to admit right off the bat that I only read this because I hate Jamie McGuire's writing. When I was researching zombie novels for this other thing, I discovered she had written a zombie novel. So, seriously, how can I be expected to stay away? I just had to see how bad she failed at something I love. Turns out, her zombie novel is just the regular kind of terrible, not the fancy kind with raisins. I'd honestly hoped for more schadenfreude. Alas.

 

Red Hill is purportedly a zombie romance (in the sense that there is romance amongst humans during the zombie apocalypse, not zombies fucking, to be clear.) The first 60% is taken up with three point of view characters -- Nathan, Scarlet, and Miranda -- as they bop around through the zombie apocalypse. The last 40% is where the "romance" takes place, with an entirely unconvincing love triangle and a third act turn for the other couple that is such a romance cliche that it was actually alarming to see it deployed during the zombie apocalypse. Don't you fuckers have priorities? 

 

No, is the answer. The answer is always no.

 

Scarlet is a pretty typical McGuire heroine, in that she's a total narcissist, but doesn't think she is (of course). From the very very beginning of the zombie apocalypse -- which starts while she's working as a nurse, I might add -- she helps absolutely no one. She watches dispassionately as someone she knows dies, and then takes his keys. Whelp, I guess he won't be needing these anymore! She's the worst.

 

Miranda is also the worst, but I actually feel a little bad for her. McGuire has set Miranda up to be the fall guy in a morality tale about sluts and how they get what's coming to them. Felt downright Victorian, honestly. 

 

Wierdly, there were points when I honestly and truly liked Nathan and how he was characterized. His daughter Zoe has some kind of sensory integration disorder (I recognized it because my son was like this as a toddler), and the ways he worries and managed her felt real. Too bad about all the hateful shit he said about his wife, who even he admitted was suffering from depression. I guess people with clinical depression should just walk it off? Whatever. Maybe McGuire should stick to stories only with dudes in them, because the weird hatred expressed for women just taints everything. 

 

Just as an aside, my favorite moment in the novel is when Nathan gets a letter from his wife and then complains she could never get your/you're right. Immediately, there was a grammar error in the text. This books is just riddled with errors, both regular typos and more serious errors, up to the kind that make meaning difficult. (As a parenthetical aside, I'm completely ok with certain errors, like the kind that were invented by 19th C language assholes. Split infinitives, sentences ending in prepositions, that's all fine. What's not fine is when I don't even know wtf you are talking about.) 

 

Anyway, alas, mostly this book was just boring, not scary, and not convincing. I said this before in a review about zombie romance, but it's true here too: love is just another word for no one left to kill. It's honestly frightening, but not the way the writer intends.