There's more than one kind of monster.
When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he's not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he's no stranger to horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations.
But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion. The end of the world really has arrived.
The funny thing is, Chase's life was over long before the apocalypse got here, his existence already reduced to a stinking basement apartment and a filthy mattress and an endless grind of buying and selling and using. He's lied and cheated and stolen and broken his parents' hearts a thousand times. And he threw away his only shot at sobriety a long time ago, when he chose the embrace of the drug over the woman he still loves.
And if your life's already shattered beyond any normal hopes of redemption… well, maybe the end of the world is an opportunity. Maybe it's a last chance for Chase to hit restart and become the man he once dreamed of being. Soon he's fighting to reconnect with his lost love and dreaming of becoming her hero among civilization's ruins.
But is salvation just another pipe dream?
Propelled by a blistering first-person voice and featuring a powerfully compelling antihero, Fiend is at once a riveting portrait of addiction, a pitch-black love story, and a meditation on hope, redemption, and delusion - not to mention one hell of a zombie novel.
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trainspotting meets zombies...not for everybody
as the story opens, chase and his best friend, typewriter (yes, that's his name), are coming out of their latest meth induced haze. through the window, chase sees a little girl trying to pet a rottweiler. he thinks about warning the little girl to stay away from the big dog, but then he notices something. the rottweiler has its tail between its legs and is terrified of the little girl. chase watches as the little girl pounces on the rottweiler and starts to eat it. chase's addled brain can't tell whether he's hallucinating or seeing something real. so, he tries to get typewriter to look out the window to see if what he's seeing is real. by the time chase rouses typewriter, they make enough noise to attract the little girl. when they see her ravaged body and blood-soaked visage they freak out. chase's first thought is to smoke another crystal of meth to deal with the situation.
fiend is about surviving addiction during a zombie apocylapse. yes, it is a weird combination, but it works for the most part. as a zombie apocylapse story, fiend is ok. it had potential. the zombies were actually pretty creepy as they eerily giggled when seeing and pursuing the living.
but fiend shines in its story about addiction. if you've never had a problem with an addiction or had someone you know suffer from an addiction, you may not believe the depths an addict will go to in order to score their next hit. therefore, some listeners may find the plot implausible.
ok...confession time. while i never suffered from addiction on the level in this book, i did have addiction problems. as a teenager, i was bored at school. no subject interested me. i was a year younger than all of my classmates, but my most of my friends were a grade ahead of me. so, i was introduced to partying, at then was a young age. lol when i was 14, most of my friends were 16 going on 17. so, i was exposed to drugs and alcohol. long story short, i graduated second to the bottom at my private school. at 17, i was a freshman in college. i succeeded at earning a 0.0 my first semester. i was put on academic warning, but i didn't care. i rushed a fraternity my second semester and became a brother. once again, i succeeded at getting a 0.0, and i was academically suspended. i went to one of those liberal universities in the northeast, who wouldn't send grades to parents even though they paid the exorbitant tuition. so, i stayed at school, enrolled part-time. it wasn't until i had my own near death experience that i changed my partying ways. i say that b/c even my best friends overdose didn't change my habits. yes, we were together when he od'd. yes, i saved his life. yes, your life flashes before your eyes. really, it does! it's crazy as you see images and moments from childhood flash through your eyes. anyway after my own near death experience, i finally changed my ways. 6 years later, i graduated magna cum laude with a b.s. in it and minors in math and English lit. so, it is possible to turn your life around. sometimes, it just takes the right mixture of inspiration and motivation. well, that's what did it for me.
anyway...back to the review...
i suffered from addiction. well maybe suffer is the wrong word b/c i consciously made my own choices. yes, i knew they were wrong, but i selfishly chose them. b/c of my run in with addiction i was able to understand what the characters were going through. believe it or not, there are some very SAD moments in the book as chase reminisces about his life, his choices, and the effects of his choices on his loved ones.
i would say the range of emotions in the story are authentic. from feeling god-like from the high to betraying yourself and your friends looking for the next high.
that's not to say i liked the whole story. i kind of got bored with the continuing search for drugs. i kept listening b/c of the interspersed bits about addiction and its effects on chase's life. The ending is extremely abrupt with no resolution. It’s kind of like the author wanted you to determine what happens next.
so...who's this story for? well, it's not for everybody. if you're a casual zombie story listener, you might want to pass. this is not your typical zombie survival story. there's no explanation for the zombies, and there's no search for the meaning of life after a zombie apocylapse. there's only a search for meth.
i would recommend this book to people who have had an experience with addiction, but then again, it might be too much. it might hit too close to home. there's no redeeming storyline. omg! my addled brain...lol... is thinking of the movie, wargames. the only lesson is not to play!
the narration is excellent. the gritty voice of the narrator reminded me of macleod andrews from the sandman slim series. the narration makes the story. The narrator superbly portrays the emotions of the characters. you can feel the highs and lows of the characters.
overall, i liked the story. one b/c i could relate with the central theme of addiction. and two b/c the back setting is a zombie apocylapse. i would say that this is a mix of the movies trainspotting and dawn of the living dead.
- Mike Naka