Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: Solstice by Donna Burgess

Posted by

Solstice: A Novel of the Zombie Apocalypse
Donna Burgess
Release date: May 7th 2012
by E-Volve Books

 

On the eve of winter Solstice, a massive flash envelopes the Earth and then there is nothing. The sun no longer shines and civilization is plunged into unending darkness. Those exposed to the mysterious flash have changed—they have become bloodthirsty, cunning, and determined to devour anyone who is not infected. They are Ragers.

In Sweden, a group of uneasy travelers hears a broken broadcast. There is hope. Something called Sanctuary waits, but it is thousands of miles away, somewhere on the shores of the British Isles.

Meanwhile, in a London supermarket, a high school English teacher from the States finds himself stranded along with a handful of students on a senior trip. Outside, hoards of hungry Ragers await, ready to tear them limb from limb. Their only hope is to find Sanctuary.

Solstice is a tale of hope, terror, survival, and finding love at the end of the World.

*A copy was provided by Bewitching Book Tours for review purposes*

If it wasn’t for the flaws in logic, this could’ve been a really great book. It’s got intense scenes, a steady pace, and plenty of characters to keep you captivated, but it’s hard to forget that nagging voice in your mind that tells you it doesn’t make sense. Pushing that voice in a corner, I found I was able to enjoy the chilling story nonetheless.

Sure, talking zombies have been done in novels like Dearly, Departed and it works, but that’s because we get a scientific explanation. Something has been done to give them a functioning brain in their undead state. It’s much harder to suspend disbelief when we have a present day zombie apocalypse caused by a mysterious flash/storm that leaves the world filled with flesh eating monsters who walk around with would-be fatal injuries that don’t seem to phase them. Yet, they speak. They speak with intelligence, luring and mocking its prey. One even runs away out of compassion or remorse for humans. At first I was expecting an explanation such as it being a freaky infection where they’re actually still alive, turned into savage cannibals. But as the book moves along, we get more and more confirmation that these creatures are truly undead, thus should not have any brain function. It does not compute! Therefore, I suggest you to throw logic out the window, because the rest is actually pretty engrossing.

One thing that Solstice does not lack is in its characters. We get bombarded with quite a few character arcs to follow. I was a bit overwhelmed at first and it did take me a while to recall who was who when we switched to another POV. We eventually get to a point where a few of these people band together to give us only two POVs which is more manageable in a story so fast paced, leaving character building as a secondary thought – at least at first. So there we go, two POVs; two mismatched families who are fighting to survive this apocalypse. In a way we get two different stories inside the same world. I really enjoyed this style of telling; it’s unnerving, with regular chapter cliffhangers that get you flying through to get back to where you left off, without really wanting to leave the story arc you’re currently on. It’s a great way to keep the reader enraptured. Between the two, I did favor the perspective with Tomas’ family as I found the characters more compelling. I felt I cared more about their fate than I did the ones in Stu’s story – which I thought was a bit all over the place, leaving me disjointed every time we got back to it.

With such a big cast, the plot is not incredibly character driven. I never felt truly invested in the characters, at least not until the last quarter where it becomes a bit more emotional. The fast pace makes up for this, though, with its constant feeling of doom in the air. This is also helped by the lack of sunlight, leading us into a very spine-chilling, gloomy setting. I’m not sure if the author plans on writing a sequel. If not the ending is bit disappointing as I feel nothing was really resolved or explained; it’s all very unsettling. Overall as an author’s first novel and as a rabid zombie fan, I did enjoy it. Yes it has flaws, but there’s more than enough action and turbulence to keep you on your toes.

3 Hot Espressos

Donna Burgess lives with her husband, daughter, son, many cats and one goofy Golden Retriever in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. When she is not writing, she can be found on her longboard, behind a good book or on the soccer field. She is the president of E-Volve Books. She holds a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Journalism and is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in Creative Writing.
This post is a part of:

The following two tabs change content below.
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.
face twitter good YouTube Instagram

Latest posts by Giselle (see all)

25 Responses to “Review: Solstice by Donna Burgess”

  1. ❤ Vivian

    Wow! Great review~ Gee..I haven’t had a zombie book in a while, but it’s too bad that it went against logic. Then again, it’s also very nice to be able to forget your logical way of thinking when you read and just go with it, so I really liked how you pointed that out ^_~

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  2. ❤ Vivian

    Wow! Great review~ Gee..I haven’t had a zombie book in a while, but it’s too bad that it went against logic. Then again, it’s also very nice to be able to forget your logical way of thinking when you read and just go with it, so I really liked how you pointed that out ^_~

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  3. ❤ Vivian

    Wow! Great review~ Gee..I haven’t had a zombie book in a while, but it’s too bad that it went against logic. Then again, it’s also very nice to be able to forget your logical way of thinking when you read and just go with it, so I really liked how you pointed that out ^_~

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  4. ❤ Vivian

    Wow! Great review~ Gee..I haven’t had a zombie book in a while, but it’s too bad that it went against logic. Then again, it’s also very nice to be able to forget your logical way of thinking when you read and just go with it, so I really liked how you pointed that out ^_~

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  5. Nick

    Ughh ! I hate when books lack logic. It makes me mad for some reason.
    I also don’t like when there are too many characters. It becomes more difficult to follow the story then. It’s really too bad that you couldn’t invest yourself in the characters.It’s a good thing the book was action-packed though !
    Thanks for the honest review, Giselle. 🙂

  6. Donna

    Good morning and thanks for the honest & thorough review of “Solstice,” Giselle. I appreciate that you took the time to have my book featured here. Your reading tastes are a lot like mine-I’ll definitely be checking your reviews next time I’m looking for something new to read.

    Have a terrific weekend.

  7. Sam

    Lovely review! I don’t think I would be able to throw logic out of the window very easily. 😉 I would want to know the explanations for things, and the fact that we don’t get any is pretty frustrating. I like the sound of the story though. A fast-paced zombie book sounds like my type of thing. 🙂

  8. Meg K.

    The cover and plot really sounds intriguing. It’s too bad that there wasn’t much sense in the storyline, and to me, that’s not much of a good thing, but I guess the lack of logic couldn’t have been that bad if you were able to ignore it and enjoy the action, huh? 😛 Either way, SOLSTICE sounds great! I think I might check it out… ONCE I get enough money. 😉

    Great review, Giselle!

  9. Amy

    I am the type of person who needs to know why things are the way they are and it needs to be at least somewhat believable. It sounds like a pretty good books though. I love action, and I love zombies, so that would make it enjoyable enough for me to read. Awesome review chicky!!

  10. Celine

    I really need a logical explanation too. It annoys me to no end if there is this huge plot hole just staring at you. I’ve never heard of these books before, but I will check the writer out. Great review (:

  11. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    There are a couple of things I didn’t like, so I don’t think this will be someting for me. I like it when the book is a bit logic and a lot of POV’s isn’t my favorite thing. Like you said, most of the time, it’s hard to connect with a character and I find that very important. What a shame, because I like zombies 😀

  12. Mirjam

    I can ignore a lack of logic up to a certain point if I feel really invested in the characters and there is a brisk pace with lots of action. After reading your review, which I enjoyed, I am positive Solstice isn’t a book for me. I like the idea though.

  13. Midnight-Reader

    Oh my god, I love the cover! It’s absolutely beautiful (the colour theme). I get where you’re coming from when you say that you try to push that little voice in your head that tells you something(s) doesn’t make sense. I’m a person that enjoys some sort of logic behind paranormal/apocalyptic settings. Anyway, awesome review. Enjoy your long-weekend!

  14. Danny

    I love character driven stories!! But sometimes too much is too much ;( But other than this it sounds like a great read and maybe some day I will get the whole Zombie addiction:)

  15. Shooting Stars Mag

    That is odd there wasn’t more of an explanation for the zombies. I feel like that’s usually a must. I’m glad you enjoyed it overall. It does sound like it would be an interesting story and I LOVE the cover.

    -Lauren

  16. Katie @ BlookGirl

    I love the cover for Solstice. A bit creepy but beautiful, too. You know I’m not big on zombie books, but it sounds like one is pretty decent. The flaws in logic and character building are a bit disappointing, so I likely won’t give this a read, but I’m sure many others will enjoy it 🙂

    Great review, muffin! <3

  17. Sarah (saz101)

    Aw, damn! This sounds like it’d be FANTASTIC if not for the implausibility 🙁
    It reminds me a lot of Soulless by Christopher Golden, expect it was made VERY clear from the beginning that it was about magic and the spirit world…

  18. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    ehhh I’m not sure I can be down with fully functioning zombies. That’s just not right to me, I’ve heard a few things about Dearly, Departed but I didn’t know that the zombies actually talk! That’s crazy! I’m happy that there was enough there to keep you reading though and that you got some enjoyment out of it though it does sound a little all over the place. Probably would be too much for me. Great review love!

  19. Camille Picott

    I have to admit, the synopsis made me say HUH? A flash storm that turns people into zombies? Sounds a bit too bizarre for my taste, esp if the author provides no further explanation. But I know there are those books that can be a fun ride if you ignore plot holes, and this sounds like one of them. Great review!

  20. Jac

    The only thing that has me worried about this one is the sheer amount of characters! Sometimes those get hard to follow for me… But otherwise this one sounds like one I’d really enjoy!

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  21. Shane

    I get what you mean about the characters, there wasn’t much depth to them. I think Lies Beneath was like that. Overall, the story seems good though.