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Dead Team Alpha (DTA)a zombie novel, yes it is, but it isn't a cookie cutter zombie novel in the usual way. While it is not a typical zombie novel many aspects of this novel have been done elsewhere and done better. DTA may not be a top of the heap zombie book, it is still enjoyable and I look forward to the next one.
The first thing that I noticed about this book was the narration. Not because it was outstanding but rather that it seemed subpar. F.C. McAllister has a fine voice and reads well but lacks the performance ability of the top notch voice talents have. Many of the voices sound a lot alike, female voices don't sound female. McAllister uses basically three voices, regular white dude, gruff throaty tough guy, and female. All characters seemed to fit into one of the three and following who was who in dialogue. I will admit that I believe a large portion of the problems with the narration may simply be due to lack of experience. In my search, I can only find one other voice credit for McAllister and it was for a non-fiction book. I don't mean to be harsh on the narration, I do think that McAllister may be better suited for non-fiction. The whole issue is the theatrical performance, you don't need that in non-fiction and there's nothing saying that with some experience and work McAllister won't be better. Also, I would like to point out that the narration isn't so bad that it takes enough away from the book to make it less desirable a listen.
The story, on the other hand, is where the book shines. There is a not a lot of new, groundbreaking content in DTA but it does mix two popular niche's: zombies and military fiction. DTA takes place 100 years after the zombie (or "Z") outbreak and the people of Denver are holed up in a stronghold but otherwise defending against zombies and others. The focus of the story is the elite teams including "Dead Team Alpha" who are the best of the best, the Seal Team Six of zombie outbreaks. Dead Team Alpha clashes with an outside group's elites called the "Code Monkeys".The part I liked about the blend is that I love both military and zombies and that DTA doesn't spend much time going on about the weapons and military jargon that can bog down the story. The pacing was great, with plenty of action and at the end, you felt satisfied with the ending but look forward to the next. The DTA world seems to have a wide birth leaving plenty of room to add books to the series. The ending is satisfying but leaves things open, also there are mentions of other hostile groups. D
DTA was enjoyable but had it's problems. First, a large portion of the first third of the book is filled with your already done a million times military bravado/proving grounds. Too much time was spent , in my opinion, on "proving grounds" stuff and not enough expanding on the history/world. Perhaps the biggest annoyance was the author's unimaginative but highly used term for zombies "Z's". I understand that zombies take a prominent role in the book and that this may be the common term of the people in the story. That being the case, I think the narrator's voice might use other terms and the characters would probably have multiple alternate terms for zombie. By the end of the book, it was to the point where I didn't want to hear "Z" again, but this may just be my OCD coming out.
Overall, DTA was a solid listen. There's not a lot new to me this book but I do like that it mashes military and zombies and instead of being in the midst of the outbreak or shortly after , like most zombie books, it is a 100 years in the future.The writing style is not fancy but gets the job done. As noted above the narration could have been better but was good enough to make for a good listening experience.
Audiobook was purchased for review by ABR.
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9 of 13 people found this review helpful
I find it hard to comprehend a better Z story than Zburbia, but Jake steps up the pace significantly in this book. The pace is quick, the action is dialed up form the previous books ( I don't know how he did it, but he did) and I was on the edge of my seat from the start.
I would suggest this book to anyone who enjoys a great Zombie story and appreciates fast pace action.
If you don read this there will be a signifiant lack in your Z-education!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
I am an enormous fan of Jake Bible usually, but found this particular book hard going, mostly because of the vast army of characters introduced, often in groups, who then disappeared. The book was an ambitious project to cover the entire attack on the Citadel, built to defend survivors against the roaming zombie population, and it certainly achieves a sense of overwhelming odds against an additional unexpected enemy, but in so doing left me confused about who was who - or even if it matters. Narrator F.C.McAlister did a sterling job in alleviating some of the confusion with his voicing of the multitude of protagonist. But there were just too many.
As a storyline, Dead Team Alpha was original, action packed and unpredictable as would be expected from Mr. Bible, but the overabundance of players had me constantly rewinding in an attempt to link names from one dramatic scenario to the next. Eventually I gave up and just let the story wash confusingly over me. Perhaps this was, in fact, the book's intention.
My thanks to the rights holder of Dead Team Alpha for gifting me my copy, via Audiobook Boom. I intend to relisten again some time in the future and hope that all will then become more clear. If so, i will revise my rating. Until or unless this happens I can only say that, though potentially a very good read, this book was hard work unless violent death in various aspects is all that the reader requires.