Posted on April 8, 2008 by Flames
I’ll have to post something of a caveat up front: I’ve never read the first installment of the Morningstar Saga, Plague of the Dead. That will have to change pretty soon though, considering the quality of Thunder & Ashes.
The zombie apocalypse has come and gone, and a handful of survivors–some of them ex-military, and one a brilliant female scientist–are fighting to find a cure that will save the world. Yes, the plot isn’t exactly original, but the quality of the writing and the characters manage to elevate Thunder & Ashes above most novels that share this popular plot.
Admittedly, the writing was a little clunky in the beginning. This is mostly down to some rather awkward exposition, which comes along with this being the second book in a series. I also had a hard time keeping up with the large cast of characters–something that won’t bother those who have read the previous book in the series. However, after a rough beginning, the novel soon picks up pace.
The action is unrelenting, the character interaction is easy and believable, the world-building is intriguing and impressive.
The action scenes in particular impressed me. In my experience, it’s hard for most writers to pull off long action scenes without the writing becoming flat, repetitive or just plain boring. The action scenes in Thunder & Ashes are flowing and easy to follow–impressive, considering the mayhem that the book’s protagonists are faced with.
Also, the book manages to find a good balance between the two storylines. We follow two groups of survivors heading to Omaha, in order to find a cure to the titular plague. Although each group faces obstacles they need to overcome, it is clear that one is facing more problems than the other. This doesn’t dawn on the reader until the end of the novel, however. That, in my book, is a sign of excellent pacing and good plotting.
It has to be said that the ending is a bit of a letdown, considering the standard set by the rest of the book. However, it does set up what should be a fantastic third part of the series.
Overall, this is a tight and engaging addition to the zombie genre, that fans should definitely add to their collection.
Review by Leah Clarke
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