Posted on October 22, 2009 by Steven Dawes
An ancient book.
One heck of a problem.”
The big Halloween party isn’t until tomorrow night, but Barry and his best buddy Shawn are dealing with a scary monster today. Mitch, the school bully has had Shawn marked for sometime now, and he takes it on the chin. Barry encourages Shawn to stand up to Mitch and defend himself, but so far he’s lacked the courage. Ahh, the joys of school.
Later that day the two are looking for a book for a class, but instead they find a very different and much more intriguing book in a secret compartment. Shawn is fascinated by this seemingly “ancient spell book” and studies it throughout that night into the following morning. Shawn even takes it with him when he and Barry go a Halloween party a class mate invited them to. But Mitch is also attending the party and after a confrontation gone bad, he ruins their night and gets them kicked out.
Desperate for revenge, Shawn takes Barry with him to a nearby cemetery to play a prank on Mitch. According to Shawn’s research of the spell book, there is a spell contained within the book that can raise the dead. So why not raise a couple of zombies to scare the living heck out of Mitch? Because nothing ever goes quite as planned when you’re meddling with powers you cannot comprehend, that’s why!
Revolt of the Dead by Keith Gouveia, is the latest zombie novel to move into the crosshairs of my rifle scope. While I’m not familiar with Keith’s work, I like to think that I’m fairly well versed in zombie literature. With that in mind, I peered through my rifle scope, aiming between the eyes of this undead fodder. Did this novel hit, or did it miss? Let’s pull the trigger and find out.
The story itself was pretty compelling, and I believe it works because of Keith’s interesting writing style. The novel is less that 60 pages and yet it accomplished a lot in that little space. The character interactions were interesting, you could feel all the teenage angst and pain, and the humorous twist that causes the zombie shenanigans and what follows was enjoyable. To his credit Keith could have gone the route of a standard zombie tale and would probably have gotten away with it. But nay, he used the zombie angle as a catalyst of the story, making RotD much more. As the story goes on, the events and revelations only get weirder and more desperate for our protagonists in their struggle to survive. I wish my Halloween nights were this exciting.
That all being said, I do need a wedge of cheese to go with a whine I have. As mentioned earlier, Keith’s writing style is interesting and made the book enjoyable. However, there are some sentences that just didn’t make any sense and left me scratching my head. In a few cases, multiple reading of a sentence would eventually make some kind of sense, but the rest I gave up on. They can pull you out of the story at times and that’s always worth a slap on the wrist.
Perhaps this issue was an editing oversight problem. But perhaps not, I happen to know a guy who’s familiar with Keith’s work who said this is something he’s known for in his scribes. You could twist that into saying it’s a compliment that people still read Keith’s work even after knowing that he will confuse them at times. But that might be too much of a stretch and shouldn’t happen to begin with.
But in the end when all said and undead, I enjoyed the story a lot. In spite of the few confusing sentences the story is a good read and I recommend it. Avoiding this story solely because of a few badly worked lines is like scrapping a Cadillac because it has a few dents.
I’m also happy to report that this is the first of three novels lined up for this story. RotD ended on semi-cliffhanger, and I’d like to read the other novels whenever they rise from their graves.
Review by Steven Dawes