Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review & Guest Post: Deadlocked by A.R. Wise

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A.R. Wise
Release date: November 9th, 2011

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David was caught in the middle of the city when the zombie outbreak started. His wife and daughters were at home, stranded on the roof as zombies waited below. He would have to fight through hordes of undead, merciless other survivors, and a series of death defying stunts to get home. However, even if he makes it there, how can he be sure they’re safe?

Deadlocked puts you into David’s head as he struggles to get home. Then a final confrontation occurs that will guarantee his family’s survival, but at what cost?

Deadlocked 2
A.R. Wise
Release date: December 9th, 2011

Part two of this series picks up immediately after the end of the first. David’s wife, Laura, is forced to take over the protection of their family as the boat travels out into Hailey Bay, away from the zombies. However, the boat’s pilot plans to dock back in the overrun city to rescue his own family, which will put Laura’s in jeopardy.

Laura is forced to overcome unimaginable horrors as the zombie apocalypse explodes around her, but it is the evil intent of the humans around her that present her greatest challenge. The reader is taken far beyond the edge of their seat as Laura pushes forward to the inevitable end. No one is safe in a world where the dead hunt the living.

*Copies were provided by A.R. Wise for review purposes*
Note: This is a combined review of book 1 and 2 of the Deadlocked series.

A zombie apocalypse is far from a unique plot. George Romero made his epic zombie movie way back in 1968 and it’s safe to say we’ve had our share of undead cannibals since. A.R. Wise tackles this widely used horror icon by giving us novellas from different point of views that, although short, are stacked with emotions, horror and realism.

As I mentioned, you can only go so far with originality in zombie stories, but I have to admit that this series has some twists that I never would have even dreamed of. Some are heartbreaking, others are disturbing, but it all comes down to realistic representation. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds most zombie movies more amusing than scary, simply because they’re either cliché or outrageous. In Deadlocked, we’re sent on a journey with a family who is bent on surviving, and A.R. doesn’t shy away from the truth of how it would be. He shows us how Zombies are never the only ones to fear either. With everyone in a panic, some would go to great lengths to get what they need, losing all sense of humanity in the process. This one’s not for the faint of heart!

We first meet David when the zombie apocalypse starts. We go with him while he’s trying to get from his office to his family in the midst of this chaos. Then in book 2, we’re following the story through Laura’s eyes – David’s wife and mother of his two small children. Both of these characters go through unimaginable ordeals to save the ones they love. David’s story is a great start, but I enjoyed book 2 the most. We’re thrown in the middle of the apocalypse where every page is filled with high speed survival. I also found Laura’s character growth remarkable. She turns into this power house survivor that would do absolutely anything to save her kids. I found it admirable. It also makes us wonder how we would fare in her shoes. Would we be strong enough to survive?

As every installment is from a new point of view, we get to experience this gruesome apocalypse through different eyes, which gives us an original take on how different minded people perceive such horror. Written as novellas, the Deadlocked hands gives us quick, highly intense stories that I would recommend to any zombie fan out there.  

4 Hot Espressos

Along with my review I have A.R dropping by to tell us a bit about why zombies are so scary.

The Value of a Good Zombie
Why do we love zombies? There are hundreds of different monsters to choose from, but these undead shamblers continue to delight us. Readers go back to the well over and over, even though we’re pretty certain it’s been tapped. Why is that?

I chose to write a zombie story for two reasons: A friend of mine was convinced he would never like another zombie book, and I was struggling to deal with my mother’s cancer. I decided to write Deadlocked, a novella series, as a way to take on my friend’s challenge, but also as a cathartic exercise in dealing with my mother’s illness. In doing this, I stumbled upon the secret that makes zombies an indelible bad guy:

Zombies are a constant reminder of our own impending death.

This is the reason they have become a genre unto themselves: no other monster can contend with the emotions these shambling corpses subliminally stick in our heads. Every time a protagonist faces off with a zombie, they are staring at their own inevitable demise. We will all die, and every minute of every day is yet another step into our own grave. When we look into the face of a zombie (a decaying, disgusting, vile human face) we are looking into a mirror at our future selves. Kind of creepy, isn’t it?
Also, don’t forget that zombies eat people – that’s pretty terrifying too!

A good zombie story is less about the zombies, and more about the struggles of the characters trying to survive. There are a lot of great zombie stories that create a pulse-pounding plot by simply throwing characters into a zombie filled area and letting the story tell itself. However, I think the best zombie tales are the ones that tell a larger story. I want to read about characters that are more than just action heroes.

Deadlocked starts with a father that has recently learned he might have cancer. From there, the world turns upside down as zombies take over, but I wanted to use the living dead as an analogy to the main character’s crushing realization that he is going to die. Don’t worry, the apocalypse isn’t just in his head, but I wanted this to be a story about how this father will do anything to protect his family in the face of death. The entire story is designed around the idea that the protagonist is trying to make sure his family will be safe after he’s gone. When you look at it from the viewpoint of someone with terminal cancer, instead of someone simply frightened of being eaten, you see many parallels. He wants to make sure they are safe and provided for after his death.

In George Romero’s best zombie films, he uses the undead as a thinly disguised metaphor for some part of the human condition. Night of the Living Dead is as much about racism as it is about zombies. And my personal favorite, Dawn of the Dead, is a thinly veiled discussion on modern consumer culture. These underlying plots are what make those movies classics. The zombies are there to scare us, but they mean so much more.

When you see a rotting corpse in Dawn of the Dead, you’re seeing the storyteller’s attempt to equate consumerism and death. Romero is asking you, without having to ask, “What do all your possessions matter when you’re dead?”

In Night of the Living Dead, when those creatures outside are threatening to eat the occupants of that house, Romero is asking you, “What does it matter what skin color you are when you’re dead?”
You’re going to die – and there’s no monster out there that more fully embodies that inescapable truth than a zombie. THAT’S why they scare us.

…And they eat people. Gross.

This post is part of Zombies vs Unicorns month co-hosted with
Literary Exploration, YA-Aholic and YA Bookmark

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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12 Responses to “Review & Guest Post: Deadlocked by A.R. Wise”

  1. Amy

    These sound like really cool books. I like the idea of getting to see what’s happening through different people’s POV’s. It’s really interesting to see how he came to write about zombies. Great review and guest post. 🙂

  2. A.R. Wise

    Thank you so much for putting up such a great review for Deadlocked. Book Bloggers are some of my absolute favorite people on the planet! Deadlocked is available for free on most ebook sites, so your readers can jump in and see what they think.

  3. Rebecca (Kindle Fever)

    Great review, Giselle! Gosh, you have me curious now. Especially since I’m even more curious about the zombie books out there after DD. o:

    To me, the most frightening part of zombies is the fact that they’re humans who basically lose their minds and become crazed animals, seeing you as nothing but a meal. The fact that anyone around you could turn. But also the fact that they don’t feel any pain and thus, a fight that would be hard enough as it is, suddenly lose all hope. I mean even predators you could hurt! So yes, you’re definitely right about the staring death in the face part!

    I also love to read about the character’s fight for survival; especially when it comes to what Giselle mentioned in her review, about people losing their humanity in the lengths they’d go to get what they want in order to survive. Done well, the stories can be extremely interesting and thought provoking about us as humans as well:) Just the fact that we’d need to survive without anything in our society as well… And medicine…

    Okay, now this got way too long! LOL. But it’s interesting. And creepy! Great post. 😀 *gives cookie to those who read*

  4. Giselle

    @Amy; It makes it really interesting to get different perspectives!

    @AR: Thanks for being part of Zombie months! Which is the only team to be on if you ask me! 😉

    @Rebecca: I agree! And they never stop, or sleep, or need to eat. So no matter what they keep coming! I’d probably be one of the first to die! baha. They are very thought provoking and makes you wonder how you’d fare in their place. I recommend you read Ashfall too that one really makes you think as well.

  5. Ann

    Zombie stories area always so interesting in that you get to see how people come together to survive, what people are willing to do for their families, and how when you look back on things- you really should have attended that survival camp.

  6. Andrea @The Bookish Babes

    Ahh! I’m scared of zombies. But I will say I watched the Dawn of the Dead remake and did sort of enjoy it. I don’t really consider my own mortality when I see zombies. I’m too horrified by the rotting flesh and the fact they want to eat me!
    Great review, great post!

  7. Giselle

    Thanks ladies!

    @Andrea: Bahaha. I’m sure I wouldn’t contemplating anything more than “WHAT THE F*CK” if I ever see a zombie >.< Oh, and that remake rocked!!

  8. Janiera

    Wow this sounds good! I really enjoy books that have a new and fresh perspective on the zombie genre because it can be really, really common. However, I really agree with the author that a good story focuses on the humans and not the zombies as much. Loved the guest post