Monday, December 30, 2013

The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies by Lynn Messina

The Basics:
The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies by Lynn Messina
Potatoworks Press
Paranormal, Romance
Published November 25, 2015
*Note that at the time of posting this review, the book was listed at $2.08 on Kobo versus $5.25 on amazon.caI received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hattie Cross knows what you're thinking: Zombie sex? Ewwwww. But she also knows that since a virus turned 99.9999 percent of human males into zombies, it's statistically impossible to meet—let alone date—the remaining 0.00001 percent. So she writes "The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies" to help her fellow single women navigate the zombie-relationship waters.

Her practical how-to impresses the CEO of the largest drug company in the world, and before she knows it, Hattie, a reporter for a downmarket tabloid that specializes in conspiracy theories, is sitting down with the woman who single-handedly invented the zombie-behavioral-modification market. Granted access to the inner sanctum of zombaceuticals, she meets an actual, living, breathing M-A-N.

Now Hattie, the consummate professional, is acting like a single girl at the end of the twentieth century: self-conscious, klutzy and unable to form a coherent sentence without babbling. Worst of all, the human male appears to have impaired her ability to think clearly. Because all of a sudden she's convinced a conspiracy is afoot at the drug company and it seems to go all the way to the top!

Why I picked up this book:

I love zombie fiction so this book had me at the title!

My thoughts:

My feelings about Girls' Guide are pretty mixed. I was amused by it, and enjoyed the conspiracy component. I was entertained by Hattie and her journey - her rah-rah efforts about making the best of a bad situation (so few men left that women must turn to zombified men for companionship) were amusing and laudable, even as she started to discover the appeal of non-zombified men.
Unfortunately, for me, Girls' Guide is a bit slow to start. Hattie Cross' career finally picking up with the publication of her guide to dating zombies - the only romantic option available as almost all men the world over have been turned into zombies. There's a fair amount of information dumping as we learn about the history of the zombie apocalypse and about the pros and cons of dating zombies. I wanted to launch right into the potential romance with Jake, the first man Hattie's had the opportunity to really interact with, as well as the conspiracy she starts to unravel.

I wasn't entirely sure how to take some of the book - there's some amusing material that compares zombies to men and underlines all of these female behaviours that end when women no longer 'have to cater to men.' Hattie finds herself reverting back to these when she meets Jake - suddenly self-conscious, clumsy, anxious, etc.. It's kind of cute, but also insulting at the same time? 

There's also a fine line between convincing the reader that a relationship with a boyzomb is satisfying and worthwhile and completely... ew. Ignoring the sex issue, which the book does delve into, the inability to communicate combined with the need to administer various pharmaceuticals and otherwise take pretty close care of your boyzomb.... I felt like we needed to have zombie capabilities more clearly defined. It was repeatedly pointed out that they had no thought process, that they operated on instinct, but then there's some suggestion that they can learn really basic courtesies and/or be trained kind of like a pet? 

I guess I wasn't satisfied by the definition of zombies here, which I find a bit baffling because there's several chapters of the book Hattie has written included at various intervals of the Girls' Guide and I found that material enlightening. It helped shape how one would date a zombie, though it still didn't give me a hard line about zombie capabilities. I liked that I could hear Hattie's voice in all of it, and maybe part of the point of this material was to point out that she still retained some optimism about what was possible even though she knew it really wasn't.

The Bottom Line:

Even though I found some elements to criticize, my overall reading experience with The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies was a pretty positive one. The romance isn't entirely conventional in terms of how it develops and plays out, but it was cute and I was satisfied with the conspiracy!

Pick up the ebook and enjoy this quirky story without any high expectations!

3 stars
For fans of zombies, suspense, semi-bumbling heroines.

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