Review: The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter

Series: White Rabbit Chronicles #3

the queen of zombie hearts -gena showalterI have a plan.

We’ll either destroy them for good, or they’ll destroy us.

Either way, only one of us is walking away.

In the stunning conclusion to the wildly popular White Rabbit Chronicles, Alice “Ali” Bell thinks the worst is behind her. She’s ready to take the next step with boyfriend Cole Holland, the leader of the zombie slayers…until Anima Industries, the agency controlling the zombies, launches a sneak attack, killing four of her friends. It’s then she realizes that humans can be more dangerous than monsters…and the worst has only begun.

As the surviving slayers prepare for war, Ali discovers she, too, can control the zombies…and she isn’t the girl she thought she was. She’s connected to the woman responsible for killing—and turning—Cole’s mother. How can their relationship endure? As secrets come to light, and more slayers are taken or killed, Ali will fight harder than ever to bring down Anima—even sacrificing her own life for those she loves.

4 Drink Me Potions

What an ending! she says sarcastically.

I know, I know. I’m giving this book a 4 stars, which is still oddly higher than book 1, Alice in Zombieland.

It’s not that the ending wasn’t great, but as the ending of the series, I was kind of disappointed, to be honest. There was the suspenseful sequel, Through the Zombie Glass, that made me feel this didn’t live up to the climax that it was supposed to be.

The Queen of Zombie Hearts focuses mainly on Anima, the company hoping to use the zombies, and not so much on the zombies themselves. From the beginning, it seems happily-ever-after wasn’t something for these zombie slayers. I feel so bad for them. Showalter has made me love them all so much, even when some of them seem like the least likely type of people that I would want to care about. More people die in this book. I have to give her kudos for keeping it real, unlike some action stories where all the secondary characters just miraculously live through each and every battle nearly unscathed.

The pacing was okay, albeit a little slow in places near the middle. I actually found myself missing zombie attacks, but ah well. For a girl who doesn’t really enjoy zombies, they sure were fascinating in this series. Come on! They’re zombie spirits! That makes a difference from the average zombie story.

Cole and Ali’s relationship are intact, I am happy to say. Of course, there are still other people who are hating on her for stealing away Cole, and I just want to tell them to suck it up and move on. Grrr stay away from my favourite couple!

The problems the group had to solve weren’t as dramatic or as suspenseful as the previous books, and the visions were somewhat predictable in how they were going to come true.

Okay, this review is starting to sound kind of pessimistic, and I just want to say, IT’s NOT. I think. I’m just sad at the ending. It built up to a dramatic point with Anima…and then it just got resolved. In like 20 pages. *snap!* Just like that. It was over.

When I got to the last page, I was thinking, “Noooo, this can’t be it.” There were sadly, loved ones gone and I had so wanted to see the aftermath of that. I know happy endings aren’t always present in novels, so I would at least like to see what was going to happen to those left behind. I’m just in a funk or withdrawal from having this series end. So yeah, if this is sounding sad, that’s probably why. Pinch me. I still loved it. I just hoped it would have gone longer.

On that note, some things I did enjoy were guessing at Anima’s inside source. Kat was her usual perky self, and I loved her willingness to stick by the slayers’ side even in danger. There wasn’t a lot of Nana in this one, but her lingo is still just as weird by text. I’m not sure “fo sheezies” will ever, or had ever, been popular…

And my favourite part? Gavin, the “he-slut”, seems to be falling for a girl. *tries to contain my glee*. If you read my review for Through the Zombie Glass, you’ll know that I have some strange liking for him. He’s just charming, and he has a gooey centre somewhere underneath that player outlook. Sigh, I wish there would be a separate book with him and his potential girl, whom I shall not name ’cause it’s rather mind blowing.

As the end of a trilogy, it did wrap things up yet left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Yep, I think I’m going into Ali Bell/Cole Holland withdrawal. Probably more for Cole.

Overall Recommendation:
It may not be as action-packed as its two predecessor in the trilogy, but it sure leaves us wondering what is going to happen next. Showalter is not afraid to kill off secondary characters, even those we may have come to love so hard. That in itself should keep you in your seat and reading till the very last page.
As always, there are plenty of zombie fun in the story, although this one centres more on Anima and humans instead. Ew, I know right? Mindless zombies are cooler than cruel humans any day. But if you loved the series as a whole so far, you HAVE to finish it with The Queen of Zombie Hearts. HAVE TO! Enjoy, and hopefully, don’t go into Cole Holland withdrawal like I am. Or maybe..I’m just in Gavin withdrawal…


Review: Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter

Series: White Rabbit Chronicles #2

through the zombie glass -gena showalterZombies stalk the night. Forget blood and brains. These monsters hunger for human souls. Sadly, they’ve got mine…

Alice Bell has lost so much. Family. Friends. A home. She thought she had nothing else to give. She was wrong.

After a new zombie attack, strange things begin to happen to her. Mirrors come to life, and the whispers of the dead assault her ears. But the worst? A terrible darkness blooms inside her, urging her to do very wicked things.

She’s never needed her team of zombie slayers more, but ultra bad-boy Cole Holland, the leader and her boyfriend, suddenly withdraws from her…from everyone. Now, with her best friend Kat at her side, Ali must kill the zombies, uncover Cole’s secret and learn to fight the darkness.

But the clock is ticking…and if she fails at a single task, they’re all doomed.

4 Drink Me Potions

It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally, the sequel usurps the first novel of the book. Many authors fall into the trap of “second book syndrome” in a trilogy, where the second book is always full of “filler” junk. It’s not the glorious beginning of the world building concept to the series, or the drastic climax and epic ending. It’s just…the middle.

Gena Showalter does not fall into this trap at all. I LOVED Through the Zombie Glass. First off, that title? Another amazing nod to Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice in Wonderland, titled…you guessed it. Through the Looking Glass.

This story picks up soon after where Alice in Zombieland ends. The happy ending with Cole and Ali gets cut short. Something is up with that boy, and it sure irked me a lot throughout the novel. I know romances get dull if there aren’t problems between the couple. I at least am glad that this book isn’t a love triangle. There was a HUGE potential in going down that road, like most books sadly do to keep the drama up. Nope! Showalter doesn’t resort to these measures to make the book interesting, and I love her all the more for it.

However, we DO get introduced to two brand new zombie slayers from Atlanta. One’s a juicy hot guy who has possibly an even LONGER line of girls behind him than Cole does. Oh, yes, Ali refers to him lovingly as the “he-slut”. ‘Cause…that’s kind of what he is. He doesn’t do relationships, but enjoys the physical aspects of one. Yet, he’s still so loveable in his own way. I don’t know how Showalter does this to me! All these secondary characters are just “totes amaze-balls”, as Ali’s bestie Kat would have put it.

And the other slayer is…well, Cole’s ex. Now that already makes it seem like double the trouble for Ali and Cole. And it sure spices things up, to say the least. This girl is really try to grab Cole back for herself. I can happily say that I don’t really like her. But she sure makes for a wonderful and entertaining thorn in the side.

The central plot in this book I felt was more suspenseful and unique. Ali surprisingly gets infected with a zombie inside of her. Doesn’t that sound deliciously creepy? What is she going to do about it? Zombie Ali (or Z.A. as she calls her) causes a mighty lot of trouble that sure kept me at the edge of my seat. I couldn’t stop reading, I swear.

The pacing was better in this book, with the problematic twists set fairly early on in the plot. The visions between Ali and Cole were not predictable in how they were going to play out so I was definitely anticipating for the logical explanation to those.

For the most part, the book is a little intense. So many things happen, with zombie attacks and Anima raising havoc at the same time. Which is why clever Gena Showalter added the glorious comic relief in the form of Kat and Ali’s Nana. Kat is her usual self, egotistical and totally awesome in her outlook at life. Nana…for a grandmother, I think she’s the coolest person in the book older than 20. Her attempts at modern day lingo…oh my. Let’s just say, I think “douche-purse” sounds way cooler than “douche-bag”.

Overall Recommendation:
Picking right up from where its predecessor Alice in Zombieland left off, Ali and Cole are immediately faced with grand-scale problems. More ferocity from Anima? Check. More zombie complications? Check. Major zombie infection problem for Ali? Check. Relationship problems between the happy couple? Sadly, check.
Its well-paced action and suspenseful twists are kept balanced by the humorous dialogues between the characters that are still so vividly drawn out on those pages. This is an example of the second book in a trilogy being better than the first. If you enjoyed the first one, Through the Zombie Glass is a DEFINITE must-read. It’s like falling in love with those characters all over again.


Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Series: White Rabbit Chronicles #1

alice in zombieland -gena showalterShe won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. But that’s all it takes. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.

3.5 Drink Me Potions

Don’t take a look at my rating and think to yourself, “Oh, it’s not that great. How can it be when she gave it a 3 or so stars?” It’s become increasingly hard to rate books with a 5 star system and I feel I wouldn’t be giving an honest review if I gave Alice in Zombieland a few more stars.

That being said, I did REALLY enjoy the book. Here are the facts about me going into it.

1. I’m not a particular fan of zombies. I never was. So my shelves are barely lined with zombie apocalypse kind of book. And I rarely watch shows/movies that focus on them.

2. I’m a HUGE fan of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. (Does my blog name, Down the Rabbit Hole give that away?) I think he’s an imaginative genius for the absolutely crazy things he comes up with in that head of his. Even his poems are ridiculous, with made-up words that have occasionally become real words in our modern society. Isn’t that the coolest contribution an author can have?

Gena Showalter writes about the most swoon-worthy kind of guys. And to think, in this book, there’s a whole group of bad-ass, tatted up guys who seem to be in an awful lot of fights. Why else would they be covered in bruises, like every morning? But of course, the greatest one was Cole Holland. My, oh my, he sounds like he shouldn’t be my type of guy. He’s got the bad boy angle going for him very well, as he’s the leader of this group of rough-looking boys. But somehow, he just IS!

Our protagonist, Alice (or Ali, as she prefers to be called), feels the same way. She was a nice voice to follow. I liked her, felt I could feel her emotions very well and understand her reactions to what she was going through. With her family ripped away from her after a tragic accident (caused by zombies!), she has a lot to deal with.

Then in comes Cole Holland. Or I should rather say, in comes a VISION with Cole Holland, right as they met for the first time. Isn’t that the perfect setting for a crazy turbulent romance to build on? To top that off, he’s not just a bad boy, but he has a line, a LINE of ex-girlfriends behind him. Warning signs should be flashing around him saying “BEWARE OF HEARTBREAK AND POSSIBLY BEING USED.” Of course, I still love him (Sorry, Ali.) With a premise like that, lots of potential romantic drama is for sure going to be ensued.

The secondary characters, and boy were there a lot of them, were all so vivid and different. Kat Parker, Ali’s best friend from day 1 after the accident, is the strangest yet amazing best friend character I have ever read. It makes me want to find a Kat Parker for myself. She’s egotistical and constantly breaks up with her on-and-off boyfriend, Frosty, who happens to be Cole’s good buddy. But at the centre of it, she’s loyal and strong-willed, with a secret she’s harbouring of her own.

So why couldn’t it be the absolute 5 stars I wanted it to be?

I guess the answer is just plain and simple. There wasn’t a lot of references to Alice in Wonderland. I know, that’s silly of me, right? But going into the book, I had REALLY hoped there would be more connections or references. There were some, don’t get me wrong. Just…it wasn’t what I had anticipated. It was still amazing! And I know the following books in this series would be better now that I have gotten rid of that expectation.

To end this off, I just wanted to say that the zombies took me by surprise. Yeah, Showalter could’ve left them as the stereotypical zombies that crave brains and walk among us to infect more human civilians. Starting to sound like The Walking Dead? I wouldn’t know. I never watched it. But, it wasn’t anything like that. They’re zombie GHOSTS. They are spirits and they are not so easy to kill at all. The thought behind building these Zombies 2.0 were well-done, and for a not-so-keen zombie reader, I think that’s what made me love the book more.

Overall Recommendations:
Gena Showalter added a strangely unique twist to an ever-present plot on zombies. With references to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, this story of Ali and a bunch of (hot!) zombie slayers will leave anyone wanting more for the adventure and the giant fight between good vs. evil. The numerous secondary characters are all well-written and vividly imagined, seemingly popping out of the page to draw you into their world of zombie fighting action. The pacing is decent and Ali proves to be a very interesting protagonist to follow. I swear, you’ll never think of zombies in the same way ever again. I sure don’t, and I’m no fan of zombies.