Posted on February 10, 2009 by alanajoli
Amanda Feral is back and just as glamorous (and bitchy) as she was in Happy Hour of the Damned. But make no mistake: Road Trip is a very different book than its predecessor. Sure, there are still risks of zombie “mistake” outbreaks, partially digested food, and gruesome murders (only some of which are performed by our heroes–and really, the murders they perform are a public service, not a crime).* But unlike Happy Hour, Road Trip begins with the assumption that the readers already know how Amanda’s world works. There’s much less meandering into explanations of zombies, vampires, and other supernaturals and more delving into Amanda’s troubled past.** Now that Amanda’s mother is on her death bed, Amanda struggles to come to terms with a childhood she’d really rather forget.
Leaving the high society Seattle scene behind because a vamp deal gone bad has made Gil the target of, well, hired hit men. Amanda and Wendy, dissed by association and denied access to an exclusive club opening***, flee with Gil on a road trip with the goal of seeing Amanda’s mother off into death.**** Of course, fleeing the city because you’re being hunted by werewolves is murder on fashion, and not only do Amanda, Wendy, and Gil have to face drug-addled former vampire food, a creepy 1950s style camper family, and a blond Korean teen out for revenge, but also the absolute horrors of Wal-Mart fashion.***** Add a moderately accurate psychic, an ex-cop stalker, and a couple of cultists who may decapitate people for fun, and you’ve got Road Trip in a nutshell. Fans of Happy Hour’s drink recipes may be disappointed by the lack of creative booze******, but the things that made Happy Hour fun: snarky commentary, interludes from the other characters, and the occasional breaking of the fourth wall are all back in full force. While occurrences seem random early on in the novel, everything comes together by the end in a plot that’s actually tighter than Happy Hour.
Of course, by the second epilogue, we’ve returned to Seattle, so we can look forward to more reaper action (and possibly another confrontation with Persephone) in Battle of the Network Zombies.*******
*Lest I forget, there are also footnotes.
**Read: how Amanda’s mother ruined her life. Details at 10!
***A fate worse than death, I assure you.
****Perhaps helping her along with a pillow held over her head.
*****Is it even possible to fight mistakes without designer heels?
******Not as disappointed as Wendy and Amanda, almost certainly.
*******Coming to a bookstore near you, March 2010!
Review by Alana Abbott