Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Allison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux

I read this novel last month and was so impressed with it that I mentioned in my last Monthly Musings post that it warranted a full post to itself. Allison Hewitt is Trapped is the debut novel by Madeleine Roux. I hadn't heard of this novel until I noticed it well down the list of recommendations for me on my Amazon website home page. It's another zombie apocalypse story, although the title intrigued me as it sounded like something written for a teenage audience. I read the online reviews of the book and was convinced I had to buy it. I was very glad I did, as I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Allison Hewitt. who works in the Brooks and Peabody book store in an American city centre, is a young female who is a keen blogger. The novel is made up of a collection of her blog posts from the day the zombie apocalypse begins up until the point where she finds sanctuary far away from the city. At this point, some of you may be drawing parallels with Georgia Mason, the heroine of the Newsflesh series of books. Sure, Allison and Georgia are female bloggers but the similarity ends there.
The story begins with Allison trapped in the cellar of the book store along with five other co-workers. The fire-axe shown on the front cover of the novel plays a prominent role in the story. It is one of two weapons the group possesses. The second is a baseball bat, which the manager kept under his desk. Allison takes charge of the fire-axe and uses it to great effect throughout the novel.
The first part of the novel deals with the group's claustrophobic existence whilst trapped downstairs in the break room of the bookstore. It has a secure metal door and more importantly, security TVs, so they can monitor where the zombies are in the rest of the building. Even the mundane chores of a food run and toilet waste disposal are covered, adding gritty realism to a desperate situation. As time goes on, they realise that no one is going to come and rescue them. They're on their own and they can't possibly stay downstairs for ever. So, they venture out and find refuge in a nearby apartment. Another survivor, a young male joins them, claiming to know the dead couple whose apartment they have acquired as their new home. All goes well for a while until one of their group dies in a most unlikely fashion. I won't spoil it for you, but for me, this was the weakest point of the book and a situation that I found silly.
The newcomer uses this distraction to reveal his true colours. Again, I won't spoil it for you by saying what happens next but if you weren't rooting for Allison before you will be now.
Afterwards, Allison and her friend, Ted, decide to find sanctuary at the local university, where a refugee camp has been set up. Life there is good to start with but becomes increasingly intolerable as more and more survivors claim sanctuary and stretch the camp's resources to the limit. Without giving too much away, things eventually reach breaking point. Allison finds love in the refuge camp but cruelly, has that snatched away.
This is a story that concentrates a lot on character development and the relationships in the small groups at the book store and later at the refuge camp and beyond. But above all, it is a story about Allison's tenacity and sheer determination to survive in a world that has literally gone to Hell. Allison is a wonderful heroine who struggles through great adversity with courage and bravery. As a fellow blogger, I'd be proud to call her my friend.
I imagine that most of you will never have heard of this novel. It was purely by chance that I came across it, but I'm glad I did. Madeleine has published a second zombie novel, Sadie Walker is Stranded, which I am waiting to be released in paperback format. Allison Hewitt is Trapped retails for £7.99 but is currently on sale for £6.96 from Amazon.co.uk. It is a worthy addition to any zombie fan's library and the blog entry story telling makes for an interesting twist and one that I could certainly empathise with.

14 comments:

  1. Looks good to me too. I think Allison Hewitt is the name of Bono's wife...

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Fran. It sounded good to me when I read so many positive online comments about the book.

    @WarRaptor. You're so close with Bono's wife but she's actually called Alison Hewson, nee Alison Stewart. I didn't know that, by the way. I had to check it on Wikipedia.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds good Bryan another one added to the list.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey, Simon, you help me spend my money, and I'll help you spend yours.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yep, sounds like a good read and I particularly like novels that start at the beginning of the apocalypse too. Both this book and the sequel are available as Kindel e-books at £4.99 and £6.99 respectively.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Joe. I'm slightly miffed that the sequel is available in hardback and e-book format but not paperback. Ah well, I'm just going to have to wait.

      Delete
  6. Well, you have never failed me yet with a book review, so I will buy a copy, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dan. I appreciate your faith in me!

      Delete
  7. I see Blogger has been reworking the format for replying to your comments. I must admit that I like the option to reply to each individual comment. We're quick to criticise Blogger when something goes wrong but I'd like to offer praise to them for adding this new feature. Nice one, Blogger!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sounds like an excelllent find Bryan.

    I personally often find that 'Young Adult/Teen fiction' = a good story and easy to read without OTT sex or violence, thumbs up from me.

    I'm liking the new format too. Although I've had to update my browsers to be able to even read some of the recent posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right about young adult/teen fiction, Adam. There is violence in this novel but it is not graphically described. Rather, it is something that happens and the story moves on without lingering over it. A good story is a good story, whoever the target audience is.

      Delete