Monday, May 30, 2016

The Color of Fear (Once Upon a Zombie #1)

Release Date: October 1, 2015
Author: Billy Phillips and Jenny Nissenson
Publisher: The Toon Studio Press
Length: 368 pages
Source: eGalley via NetGalley

Unexplainablenews.com is reporting strange phenomena in cemeteries in Scotland, Germany, Italy, and America. Only one individual knows what's happening - and why! This person also knows the one girl who can prevent an unspeakable and imminent catastrophe from taking place. But will she?

When Caitlin Fletcher's mom disappeared (or left?) four years ago, Caitlin began suffering from breathless bouts of anxiety. Her new move to London, with her Dad and her brainiac sister, threatens to lead to more situations that will trigger panic. Now, she's having anxiety over the possibility of having anxiety! Caitlin's life takes a turn for the bizarre when she's tricked into climbing down a "rabbit hole", landing in a wondrous fairy tale universe - except it's crawling with savage, starving blood-eyed zombies. But what's scarier - a blood thirsty zombie, a panic attack....or the painful truth?



Protagonist: Caitlin Fletcher suffers from a near crippling fear. Her anxiety is off the charts, and that's before she gets sucked into an alternate dimension where characters from fairy-tales and other classic stories are real. Caitlin was an alright character I guess, though she was sort of one note. Her development sort of felt like that of a character in a children's story, where their development comes all at once when the plot needs it most and it never really feels like they earned it. I would have liked to see some more slow progression in her character, really feel her growing and changing as a person, learning from her mistakes and learning to take risks.

Romance: There really isn't that much romance in this book, in fact the two love interests are split up for the majority of this book. I felt the need to comment on it based on one thing. This romance was handled so well. Normally when Middle Grade stories, which this one technically isn't though I'd much rather classify this as MG than YA, when there's a love story it's either very subtle or it moves too fast and begins to feel like instalove, neither of which is all that satisfying. In this book however, the romance feels realistic, it's not a bunch of pining and brooding and drama and angst. It's two people who like each other who eventually need to face their feelings and it works so well.

World-Building: Have you ever read one of those stories where the world-building and the central plot have an overly obvious moral to the story? Well this story is exactly like that. It's this type of storytelling that makes me see this story as a more MG read than a YA one. Sure the characters are in high school, but the plot has too much of that writing where the character development and the central plot are too intertwined. I didn't mind seeing these characters zombiefied, but the fairy tale princesses didn't have much of a personality that tied them to the characters we know and love, and I understand that those characters don't have much personality either, I just wish there was something more recognizable in these fairy tale characters than just their names.

Predictability: In all honestly I'm not quite sure how predictable this book was. I mean sure there were moments where I totally saw something coming, but there weren't that many. Before you get too excited though, there weren't really any moments that shocked me or caught me by surprise. The story just sort of moves through the plot and doesn't really take any crazy twists and turns. The plot is still fast paced and full of tension, there just aren't really any surprises.

Ending: It's made abundantly clear by the end of this book that this is just the first in a series of books. There isn't a huge confrontation in this final climax. It is still full of tension and high stakes, but there wasn't really any sort of showdown, minus a minor scuffle and some running. The end of the book foreshadows things to come and then one of my favorite things happens, there's an epilogue. The epilogue is really what proves that this isn't a standalone, without it ti would be something that's not quite finished but if the next book never came out it probably wouldn't bather you, with the epilogue though there's a cliffhanger that is kind of crippling.


This book is okay, it wasn't quite what I expected and I had hoped for a bit more substance to the book. The story really feels like the plot of a kids movie on TV and I was hoping for something a bit more complex.


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