quippe (quippe) wrote in bookish,

Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen

The Blurb On The Back:

Meet Sarah and David.

Once upon a time they met and fell in love. But now they’re on the verge of divorce and going to couples’ counselling. On a routine trip to their counsellor, they notice a few odd things – the lack of cars on the highway, the missing security guard, and the fact that their counsellor, Dr. Kelly is ripping out her previous client’s throat.

Meet the zombies.

Now Sarah and David are fighting for survival in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. But just because there are zombies doesn’t mean your other problems go away. If the zombies don’t eat their brains first, they might just kill each other ...

Married With Zombies: a romantic comedy with ... Braaains!

Sarah and David are an average couple living in Seattle who’ve invested in weekly counselling sessions with Dr Kelly to try and save their failing five year marriage. All the problems they’ve identified with each other fade in importance though on the afternoon they go to their session and find Dr Kelly eating the previous client. A local university has accidentally unleashed a zombie plague on the city and the infection’s spreading fast. As the couple battle for survival against the infected, they’re forced to set aside their differences and learn to work together – that is, if they don’t kill each other first.

The first in a zombie rom-com series, Petersen has an interesting take on the zombie apocalypse novel and I like the idea of a book where a couple on the skids are forced to re-evaluate things as the world falls apart around them. However while the idea’s great, the execution never quite caught fire for me.

Firstly, there’s not a lot of romance in here. Told in the first person by Sarah, there’s a lot of criticism of David and the ways he’s let her down (essentially dropping out of an MBA and failing to find a job) but little about what she likes about him. Although their shared experiences draw them closer, for me there wasn’t a sense of emotional closeness being reignited and I struggled to see what had brought them together in the first place. As a result, the scenes where the couple are put in jeopardy from the infected lacked tension as I didn’t get the sense that either was really worried about the other except as a means of ensuring their own survival. Also affecting the tension is the fact that Sarah is recounting this in the past tense so from page 1 you know that they both make it through the story, robbing the book of any sense of jeopardy.

Secondly, I found the comedy to be a little obvious and glib. I liked the way Petersen worked with genre clichés, but I could usually see the punchline coming too far in advance.

However the depiction of the outbreak is smoothly handled and while there’s nothing innovative here I did like the shout-outs to other works in the genre and the knowing asides. It’s an okay novel and I’ll probably read more, but it didn’t quite live up to my hopes.

The Verdict:

The first in a new zombie rom-com series, this is a smoothly written zombie apocalypse novel but for me neither the romance nor the comedy elements quite came together. The premise is good and I’m enough of a fan of the genre to want to read on, but I came to it with hopes that weren’t quite met.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the free copy of this book.

Cross-posted to books, bookworming, and horror_novels.

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