Categorized | Fiction, Reviews

Autumn: The City Review

Posted on February 15, 2011 by Eric Pollarine

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    Just hear those sleigh bells jingling…

    I woke up today without any power which is a large part of the reason as to why this review is a day behind. Not that you needed to know that little fact, or really even, not that my day to day is all that relevant to the review itself. We are living in the 24/7 digital world here, so it shouldn’t matter when I do the reviews, right?

    No, wrong. This was the perfect setting to nearly blow all my battery power and candles on writing a review. Especially a review of Survival Horror/ Zombie Apocalypse superstar writer David Moody’s latest book in the autumn series by Thomas Dunne St Martin’s Griffin press. In fact it was probably the most perfect setting to write the review in. Picture it.

    You wake up and there’s nothing. There’s no noise, no sound, no little pin pricks of electricity in the air from the television you fell asleep to last night. (I need white noise to sleep and a fan just doesn’t do it) Just the raw empty nothingness of nature. (And of course, in my case, the snoring of many animals) Just the creaks and moans bumps and scratches of a one hundred year old a frame to fill your mind with the terrible sense of dread and isolation from the modern world. Your pulse quickens when you mistake a sheet of ice outside slipping form an awning for some one, or maybe something making an attempt to infiltrate your sanctuary against the dark.

    You jump and start out of bed, flashlight in hand at the noises of your furnace. The ones that sound as if something is alive in your basement, banging out sacrifices to its dark and infernal God. You see the world through the dimming beam of your flashlight, through the pale blue smoke of the cigarette that you light to calm down; the flickering ambiance of candle light and the ghostly glow of a cold blue monitor.

    Yeah, I know, absolutely perfect.

    So without further delay, because I have about an hour left on this battery, here’s my little review, it’s the first one of the New Year so I may be rusty. Trust me, it’ll get better.

    Autumn: The City.

    David Moody has struck another emotional and terrifying chord with autumn: the city, the second book in the autumn series which is currently being released by the aforementioned Thomas Dunne/ St Martin’s Griffin press. He’s written another perfect blend of psychological thriller, ghastly violent apocalyptic fantasy and often surprisingly uplifting novel. One that will put you both at ease and on edge with how humanity, when faced with the impossible, improbable and completely life altering can come to terms with consequences, choice and survival.

    This time with autumn: the city, he takes a look at how a larger and more integrated group of survivors reacts to the sudden and violent death and then mysterious and grisly resurrection of nearly 99 percent of the population.

    A stark contrast to the first book in the series autumn: the city allows us to view Mr. Moody’s take on the apocalypse through more than just three sets of eyes. There are, of course, similarities between the two books. One of course is the author’s use of style and slang, Mr. Moody being from the United Kingdom and all. But also the immediate and lyrical quality to Mr. Moody’s writing helps bring you into the story much more easily than some other authors. His skill at constructing believable and sympathetic characters is also a skill which he seems to have perfected.

    You never once think to yourself, “Well, no, that’s not how it would have happened.” You’re never allowed, as the reader, to fall out of the story, because the author continues to pull and push you along without ever forcing your eyes forward.

    Now I’ve read a lot of survival horror and zombie related stuff over the last two years, and yes I have read some really great and wonderful pieces that advance the genre. I have also read a few stinkers that I just shook my head and thought, “Man, how the hell did that get published?” And it’s always the same story. I mean, I don’t care how many different ways that you try to look at it. The story goes like this.

    1. Something happens. 2. There is an event that turns millions/billions of people into zombies. 3. There are a few survivors. 4. This is their story.

    You wanted to know how to write a zombie novel? Well, I just told you. Now go forth and spread like dandelions of creativity and bring forth your ultimate survival masterpiece.

    But here’s the trick. (there’s always a trick dear hearts. Always.) Write your story in a way that is different and engaging and moving and raw and beautiful and visceral enough to mean something, to move someone and to make a statement other than: “Hey, there be zombies ahead!”

    Yeah, now it’s not so easy, is it?

    And that is why David Moody succeeds where others merely attempt. Because he can write a story about zombies, not use the actual word “zombies,” and still have it be all of those things that I described above without it coming off like he’s trying to do too much or shove too much down your throat.

    He’s a skillful writer that takes his subject matter further and that invests time in every single one of his characters. A writer that seems to know what it would actually be like to be knee deep in gore and twisted enough to tell you about it. He’s someone who admires and loathes his subject matter enough to make you believe that at any moment, when the lights do go out, when the world is dark and still and infinite and small, that the apocalypse is not that far fetched an idea.

    That is why you absolutely have to get yourself a copy of autumn and autumn: the city.

    It isn’t simply because it’s a good book, or series of books. It’s because the autumn series are great books that show us the raw decaying inner workings of everyday life and how we are so lucky and fortunate enough to be in the places that we are right now.

    The Verdict is…


    Seriously, it’s a good price, you can find it for all platforms both print and digital and it’s a fantastic read that any fan or novice of the horror/survival horror/zombie genre absolutely should read.

    Review by Eric Pollarine

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