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Thursday, May 17, 2012
Dana Fredsti: ASHLEY PARKER SERIES
Author: Dana Fredsti Series: ASHLEY PARKER SERIES Plot Type: UF, Zombie Apocalypse Ratings: V5; S3; H3 Publisher and Titles: Titan Plague Town(4/2012) Plague Nation (TBA) Plague World (TBA)
This is a rewrite of the author's previous book entitled Ashley Drake, Zombie Hunter. On her web site, Fredsti states, "Plague Town will be a revised and updated version [with] a lot of new material and a slightly older heroine." You won't find much that's new or inventive in this typical zombie apocalypse tale. The outbreak is caused in the usual manner by science gone awry. Also, as usual, some people (one in every 10,000) are immune to the virus. The series follows the zombie outbreak as it begins in an isolated college town in northern California and gradually spreads throughout the U.S. and then the world. The government has a secret zombie squad that calls itself the Dolofónoi tou Zontanoús Nekroús, which, loosely translated, means killers of the living dead—or as their wise-cracking members call it, Delta Zeta Nu.
The series heroine is Ashley Drake, a college student in her late twenties who is bitten by a zombie while on a woodsy picnic with her boyfriend and discovers that she is a wild card—a person who is immune to the zombie virus. The army recruits her and other wild cards to fight the zombies because as a result of their initial infection and recovery they heal quickly and have super strength...plus, they can't become infected by the zombies. They can, however, be killed if they are injured severely enough. Ashley's love interest is the handsome Gabriel, whom she meets when he assists in (ironically) a class called "Pandemics Throughout History." Gabriel later turns up as the trainer and leader of the wild card team. Gabriel is not a wild card, but he's not exactly human either.
BOOK 1: Plague Town
As the story opens, Ashley is in the last stages of recovery from a double whammy: food poisoning and a bout of Walker's flu, which has hit the campus hard in the past week or so. Early on, before knowledge of the zombie plague is known by the general public, Ashley and her boyfriend go on a fatal (for him) picnic, where they are attacked by zombies. As Ashley recovers from her wounds, she is informed of her wild card status and is invited to join the wild cards. The plot follows Ashley and her teammates as they fight one repetitious zombie battle after another, cutting and slashing and shooting while they dodge the usual blood splatters, gory chunks, and brain bits.
Ashley is a typical smart-mouthed, feisty heroine right out of any UF novel you've ever read, and so are her teammates. They banter back and forth incessantly, trading quips that are loaded (maybe overloaded) with references to every action movie and zombie film that you can think of from the past few decades. The team members include the usual stereotypes: the street kid, the African American hunk, the older man, the hostile socialite, and the shy girl. The plot has a few rough spots, but in general it follows the usual zombie novel format: from first outbreak to military intervention to immune survivors to the inevitable, unstoppable spread of the virus—all punctuated by a series of interchangeable zombie battles. The most obvious plot glitch occurs near the end when a character turns up to save the day with a backpack full of special zombie-killing darts that he could not logically have in his possession because he was not with the wild card team when the darts were distributed. Oops!
If you are obsessed with zombie fiction, you might enjoy this series, but if you're looking for something new and inventive, this one's not for you.