Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Feral by James DeMonaco and B. K. Evenson
Anchor Books: 4/4/17
eBook review copy; 320 pages
ISBN-13: 9781101972700

Feral by James DeMonaco and B. K. Evenson is a recommended take on a zombie-like apocalypse.

"The world, as it turned out, didn’t end in either a bang or a whimper, but in pus and sweat and infected men emitting unearthly cries as they destroyed woman after woman." This change to the genetic makeup of men happened after a fire at Arcon Pharmaceutical, a research company that was work with living viruses and genetic splicing, released a dangerous virus that only infects men. Now men have been reduced to feral, savage beasts who sniff out women to kill them.

Allie Hilts was sixteen when the change happened. Now, three years after the accident, Allie has found a safe place for her and her little sister Kim. They are living with other female survivors in a walled off compound surrounded by land mines and protected by guard towers to kill any feral that approaches. Allie, though, has changed. She is now a killing machine. Rather than staying safe behind the walls, she masks her scent by covering her body with feral blood and goes out to scavenge for needed supplies or to capture a feral. She brings the captured ferals back for Dr. Zeman to experiment on in her attempt to find a cure to save the human race. But something odd is happening and Allie needs to figure out what it is so she can protect Kim.

Feral starts out quickly and gallops off at a break-neck pace full of narrow escapes and action. It is a quick read and you'll finish it in no time at all. Feral reads like a zombie novel, where men are zombies and women survivors. Allie is a clever, resourceful character and it is easy to support her. The narrative is told through multiple points-of-view, with Allie being the dominate character. While some of the other voices make sense (Dr. Zeman, Kim), there are narratives told through secondary characters that muddy the plot and their interactions could have been written into one of the main character's chapters.

I did have a couple of concerns about Feral. Because I was reading a review copy, which I am sure was still an uncorrected proof, I will refrain commenting on the actual quality of the writing. There were multiple problems that were probably corrected for print. The other issue I had while reading was a vague this-is-being-written-to-propose-a-series feeling that I couldn't shake. It would come out in random scenes that were unnecessary, certain characters and actions, and the direction the story took, which was disconcerting and beyond belief even for a men-have-become-zombies novel. This is probably due to a director working with a writer to create the book. Feral is a solid airplane book for me. It is an engaging book that will hold your attention but you won't cry if you lose it or misplace it while traveling.

Disclosure: My
review copy was courtesy of Anchor Books.

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