Hey book lovers,
From the bad reviews I had seen on Goodreads, I didn’t expect Cryonic: A Zombie Novel to be the next World War Z or The Walking Dead. But, I also didn’t expect it to be completely unreadable.
2015 Reading Challenge: A Book with Bad Reviews
When Royce Bruyere chose to be cryogenically frozen upon death, he figured coming back to life would be exciting. Neat. Bonus time. The world he awakes to is nothing of the sort.
A Chinese invasion has crippled the United States, dividing the country in a decade-long stalemate along the Mississippi. Royce’s successful reanimation is unprecedented, making him the Chinese regime’s most prized possession–but not for long. Eager to control life and death, the Chinese reanimate other “cryonics,” until something goes horribly wrong.
Royce travels through a future wrought with violence and despair, only to discover the cure for the disease lies within him. It’s a race against time as he flees the Chinese and the bloodthirsty victims of a terrifying epidemic in the hope of saving the country from apocalypse and creating a life worth living.
-Blurb from Goodreads.com
Oh my gosh, where do I start?
Despite having read the bad reviews on Goodreads, I was still a little intrigued. The blurb was well written and introduced a different concept toward zombification, which I had yet to read about. As an avid fan of the cryogenic concept, I wanted to give this novel a real shot.
But from the beginning, I knew I had doomed myself to mediocrity. Stupid challenge. Any other self-respecting bibliophiliac would have stopped reading but unfortunately, I have integrity.
Here are all the reasons I had a hard time reading this novel:
- Novel is too fast-paced.
Now, I have read some novels where the fast pace works so well, you want to weep at its beauty. Take ANY Sidney Sheldon novel. The man mastered the fast-pace structure into a freaking art form. So its not impossible. It just doesn’t fit with Cryonic‘s plot which was exploring an unlikely concept, while at the same time, addressing a man’s adjustment to a new era for the American society. Slow down, Bradberry and give us a real feel for the plot.
2. Descriptions are shallow.
“A little more flesh is needed,” my Literature teacher used to sometimes say about her students’ essays. It was all too true for this novel. There were no in depth descriptions. A few haphazardly thrown similes won’t help me to visualize a scene. Descriptions of the zombie killings were similar to a casual conversation between gameheads about the latest ‘Left for Dead’ zombie video game. No effort to leave me breathlessly on edge, just a bunch of words in a sentence.
3. Poor dialogue
Dialogue is everything to me in a story. Say what you want with the narration but if your dialogue is sharp, intelligent and witty, then I am still your fan. Cryonic pulverized dialogue in such a way, the term lost its damn meaning. Royce’s corny and stereotypical ‘surfer’ slang was supposed to be, I assume, endearing and humorous. But no, it just felt out of place amidst the atmosphere of the novel.
The interaction between the characters most times felt perfunctory, did not contribute anything to the scene or make the characters more intriguing. To put it simply, it was just one eye-roll after another.
4. Flat characterization
I hoped that the characters would be the saving grace for the novel. But if the dialogue structure left a lot to be admired, the characterization would have been worse. I was introduced to the characters quickly with little to no backstory behind any of them. Did I want to like Royce and his band of zombie fighters? Yes. Were there even moments where I did? Celeste got a modicum of respect when she used the laser crossbow but not much else.
5. Inability to Broaden the Scope of the Plot
One conversation about China’s military stronghold in America wasn’t enough. Yes, there are hints about Chinese influence but the sub-plot could have been explored more intimately. You can’t possibly introduce a Hitler-China phenomenon, with brainwashing techniques as well as tyrannic restrictions, and not take advantage of its implications. What was the point of it, then? Although the novel is primarily centered around one man, his friends and a zombie invasion; broader events should not be ignored. I felt cheated out of a good sub-plot.
The author has written several motivational books and I believe this is his first try at a major novel.
Something to note here: A novel is not the same as any other literary text. A novelist seeks to evoke a variety of emotions from his/her readers by bringing in as much depth and detail as possible to every scene and every character. It’s hard work. Especially if you are as OCD as I am with conveying the perfect message.
Better luck next time, Travis Bradberry.