Title: My Dead World
Author: Jacqueline Druga
Published: June, 2016
Since childhood, Nila Carter is made to spend every weekend at the family cabin. In her teenage years she believes it to be a prison, as an adult it becomes her sanctuary and means to survive.
When a mysterious outbreak occurs in India, Nila’s brother, Bobby, a virologist with the CDC, places the family on a precautionary alert to be ready to bug out. Unlike anything he’s ever seen, the rabies like virus is not just deadly, it causes extreme violent behavior in those infected. Following her brother’s advice, Nila begins to stockpile.
After months of preparing, just as it seems the virus is over, everything implodes and Bobby informs his family to leave the city.
With her family, Nila heads to the mountains and to her father’s isolated land. There she is eventually joined by friends and strangers, all hoping to safely stay clear of the virus that grips the world.
The plan is to wait until the virus burns out. While there, the group forms a tight bond, feeling secure that they will beat the extinction event and in due course return home. As time moves on, Nila quickly learns there are things they can not run from and a virus is one of them. Despite how prepared they are, how secure the land, each day brings a new threat and a painful reality that not only is returning home a pipe dream, the likelihood of all of them surviving, increasingly grows slim.
Characterization and badassery
Well, it’s a rabies-ish virus outbreak that looks a lot like a zombie apocalypse. So either characters can do what’s necessary to survive, or they don’t. The author is going for a realistic outbreak-style approach, and for the most part, that works. The story focuses on having to deal with people you love being infected and becoming a threat to those who remain. The ugly realities of an ugly situation, rather than the fun/gruesome parts of a typical zombie story. Though there’s plenty of gore to go around, too.
All of the characters are well-formed. Our lead, Nila, is not that bright, and a little slow at adjusting to the new reality of the world. I like that she’s not perfect, that she makes some dumb mistakes, that she isn’t some hero. She’s just a daughter and a mom trying to survive and protect, without the proper tools to do so.
Plot and pacing
The plot is a different take on a zombie story, which is good. The pace works.
Prose and editing
This book needs an editor. It’s full of your/you’re, their/they’re sort of issues, missing words, wrong words, comma splices, and straight-up punctuation errors. In one place, a couple of paragraphs repeat. It’s a shame, because the prose is fine, but can be confusing due to the lack of editing.
This kind of story can be a real drag to get through, but the author used humor well, with some well-placed moments that cut the tension. Also, the ability for the characters to find humor in certain situations shows their continuing adjustment to their changed world. So the story doesn’t feel like a huge bummer.
A good story. Interesting and different. Not predictable. By and large, a lack of trope, which is hard to find. Some odd plot holes (see spoilers). Flawed, everyday characters, which is also refreshing. It’s a shame about the editing, but it’s still a very readable story. Points to the author for getting me to read a zombie story, which is not my genre at all.