Whispering Pines is a classic, quiet, private American subdivision on the edge of Asheville, NC, set in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains. Which is good since the zombie apocalypse has come to Western North Carolina and really put suburban living to the test! Surrounded by a sea of the undead, the residents of Whispering Pines have adapted their bucolic life of block parties to scavenging parties, common area groundskeeping to immediate area warfare, neighborhood beautification to neighborhood fortification. But, even in the best of times, suburban living has its ups and downs what with nosy neighbors, a strict Home Owners' Association, and a property management company that believes the words "strict interpretation" are holy words when applied to the HOA covenants. Now with the zombie apocalypse upon them even those innocuous, daily irritations quickly become dramatic struggles for personal identity, family security, and straight up survival. Welcome to normal life in Z-Burbia!
©2013 Jake Bible (P)2014 Jake Bible
As a huge fan of and author in the zombie genre, I tend to be quite picky about the books I read. Not least because I don't want to be influenced (whether I know it or not) in my own writing. That being said, sometimes you hear enough about an author that you have to seek out his work, and Jake Bible falls under that category.
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of his audiobook edition of Z-Burbia through an Audiobook boom, in exchange for an impartial review.
And yes, this is impartial. This book is bloody brilliant.
I'm a huge fan of first person-perspective zombie fiction. Whilst it doesn't give you everyone's view of the end of the world, it allows you to get into the head of the lead character, sharing their victories, disasters, indecision and genius, in one chaotic ride.
That is the best summary I can give Z-Burbia. We are thrown straight into the action, and Bible doesn't let up, not once. Strap yourself in for one hell of a backbreaker, because our protagonist, Jason "Jace" Stanford is a man on a mission. In his safe community built up after the US has succumbed to a zombie outbreak, Jace is declared basically as the brains of the operation. On a number of times in the book he appears to demonstrate having no brains at all, so I take this as to be excellent lateral thinking and common sense.
I liked this book so much, not just because of the action (of which there is plenty) but because of the realism of the characters. Jace is one cocky character, and I can see how some folks might find his personality hard to believe. However Bible's consistency in delivery really sells this book, and this careful treatment is given to everyone we meet, from overbearing community leaders all the way to misunderstood cannibals.
The book did fall prey to some genre tropes, but it's such a saturated genre that this is simply to be expected, and when it's done well like in Z-Burbia, it's not unwelcome - rather traditional and good, than leftfield and utter trash.
From a narration perspective, I loved Andrew Wehlren's delivery. He hit the nail on the head with pacing, tone, and expressions. At no point was I jarred out of the story by slopping retelling. I like my narration fast, and I did have to pop the speed up to 1.3, but that's a personal opinion and I'm not letting it sway my overall opinion on a hellride of an action story, and a masterclass in audio delivery.
Bring on the rest of the series - I can't wait to see where this story goes!
"Finally after 200+ books im ready to review"
I am one to weigh heavily on reviews before I use a precious credit to purchase an audio book. I sometimes spend days frantically looking for the next book to listen to, while still listening, and getting close to finishing, a book in my library. I took a chance with Z Burbia, since there was only 4 reviews. The chance paid off. The story was great right from the start, and the narrator had the voice to portray the sarcasm to go right along with it. If you are a fan of Mark Tufo, you will love Jake bible. Give it a chance, like me, you will be pleasantly surprised. Now off to purchase the 2nd Zburbia,
"SUCKS TO BE BAIT"
This book grew on me. Through the first two chapters I was worried. There were a lot of one liners that fell flat like a Eddie Murphy sequel. I was afraid this was a Tufo want a be, that just didn't have the goods. I enjoyed the first two chapters, enjoying the thought of a suburb staying together, even the gated neighborhood organizations in a Zombie Apocalypse. I was also afraid it was going to be YA. Then came the third chapter.
GOD, I MISS TACOS
I don't know if the writing got better or the narrator finally got his timing down, but with Chapter three on, I started laughing and laughing often. The book has some really good characters that help make the story more interesting. First of all the main character is very likeable. His wife is a strong woman (more on that later). There is a military type and than there is the Zombie Savant. This character may be a little over the top for some, but I found her a lot of fun. The main character is more of a smart guy (common sense wise) than a stud. DID YOU FIND HIM IN A SMART GUY CATALOG?. There is also the born again swearer. He used to be a preacher, but now he uses the F bomb constantly.
NOT THE DAY TO PISS OFF MY WIFE
I have been crying for a strong female character in several of my apocalypse reviews and I finally got my wishes. This is full of strong female characters including the main character's wife. I think it made the main character look stronger and it made the whole story better. I hope that continues as I will be getting the next in the series. THERE CAN'T BE SECRETS IN A MARRIAGE, ESPECIALLY DURING A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.
COTTON CANDY AND PINWHEELS, THAT'S ALL YOU ARE.
My overall feeling about the book, was that it was a feel good zombie story. It is full of grossness, blood, bad language and several bad jokes or puns, but overall the characters are positive and I was hoping the best for them. It is not real serious, but if you are having Zombie withdrawals, this could fill that void. It is also different from the norm.
Not wanting to make this too long, I did not get a chance to talk about the PINK YOGA PANTS or the KAMIKAZE Z'S.
Reviewers are very split on this. I liked it a lot and I hope I explained why?
"In my zombie top 10"
I love to live life on the edge, so I try to purchase books which have no reviews. That way I can be surprised. I know, I live a sad life However, if I choose a book which has been reviewed. I try to choose one’s which have a well written excellent reviews. This story fell into the second case. Most of the reviews were excellent. And I can say truthfully, well deserved! I listened to this book in one day and loved it. I only have one reserve about it, which I shall mention later.
For whatever reason over the past 12 months I have probably purchased 50 or more zombie books. I’m starting to consider myself a zombie specialist. Which is funny because in the event of the rise of the zombie’s I would be the first to go because I am fat? However, fat jokes aside, this one is in my top 10 of the genre!
The story was great and had enough new idea’s to keep me interested. But for me the thing which I liked about it the most was the sarcasm and sense of humour of the characters. Now that I think about it, I must put a lot of weight on this element in any zombie book. As all of my favourite zombie books, have a sarcastic funny leading character.
The narration was good. This was my first time hearing Andrew Wehrlen. He had the hard task of multiple voices for multiple characters. I normally don’t like it when narrators do that, I much rather the approach chosen in “Yesterday’s Gone”. Nevertheless Andrew Wehrlen did a good job, only on a couple of occasions did I wonder who was speaking?
On the narration, this is yet another book in which the speed can easily be increased. Thus shortening the total length of the story.
I had one reserve about this book, and it was the ending. Don’t worry I am not going to give it away. But it sounds as though the next in the series could be going down a slightly different focus. That shouldn’t change your mind about purchasing this one. But I am having reservations about buying the second one. But I never listen to that little voice of doubt in my head and will probably buy it in the 10 minutes. Like I said at the start… I am a sad man… sad… fat man.
"Are These Reviews Legit?"
Everything! The author tried to be cute and funny, but it just kept falling flat, time after time. There were just ridiculous scenes that were unbelievable.....like, she reach out, grabbed his tongue (this is a 90 -100 GIRL by the way, doing this to a full grown male soldier who's in no way incapacitated) tore out the man's tongue with her own hand in one yank, all the while he's not fighting or trying to shut his mouth, then she plops this big tongue into her mouth and starts snacking on it.
And there was another scene, when the main bad guy comes to the gate. He tells what all he's going to do, all the bad things, "be prepared, I will be back at this specific time to rape, murder and pillage and this will be MY home. By the way, here's your best friend that I have tied up....watch while I kill him." And NO ONE does anything to him. They just watch and listen....all of these people with guns and no one attempts to shoot him between the eyes. He wasn't in an armed tank or anything.....no guards. Seriously?
And the main character....everyone wants to follow him (at least all of the good guys with guns, soldiers, intelligence, food, farm, etc.) everyone wants to put all of their faith into him. They'll die for this man, and many do while following or protecting him. And the only reason, is because he can come up with ideas. What? Everyone says, "I heard you're a thinker....So and so told me that you're smart.....I heard you can come up with ideas." ?????? What did he come up with? I remember something from the first of the book where he thought of a way to do something.....nothing much....it was something like how to keep his tv working, maybe?
And the worse part.....the worse, most hated character of the book, the back stabber who ruined life for EVERYONE and sold everyone out to the bad guys......Uh, is re-elected to lead these people. Even worse, she sold the main character out of the bad guy, allowed his best bud to get murdered by him, sold the whole town out, and she's now at the farm, going to be leader, and he and is family isn't plotting to put her head on a pole?
Well, honestly, I don't know if the narrator was really that bad, because the book was just horrible. Guilt by association maybe? (But he did sound pretty bad)
Zombie audiobooks are my #1 genre. I have listened to just about all of them. (I quite often listen to 1 book per day) I just can't believe that these reviews are legit. This is close to the bottom of my list, if not at the very bottom of my list of worse books.
"The burbs meet zombies."
It is definitely worth another listen to. I have a tendency to listen and multi-task and I know sometime I would miss some part of the story. Story is interesting enough to re-listen to it again.
I like it when zombies stories shows how the survivor deals with real life scenarios. There is definitely no glamour in living in Z Burbia, just the harsh reality of trying to survive.
Wehrlen's performance definitely kept me interested in the story. I feel like he does an amazing job bringing the different character to life.
Not a bad start to the series. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.
This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.
"Stunning zombie apocalypse take!"
Jake Bible (author) and Andrew Wehrlen (narrator) are an amazing combination. If you haven't listened to their stories before you need to start now. Jakes stories are amazing they are well developed with great characters, language and scenes can be a bit graphic but they are captivating, funny, shocking and AWESOME. Andrews narration will put you right there on the front lines and side by side with the characters. He captures the feel of the moment and delivers the perfect accompaniment to the authors tale. I received this audiobook from the author narrator or publisher for free via audiobookboom in exchange for an unbiased review
"I really tried to like it, but..."
I really wanted to like it but just couldn't. The narration was so bad it took a mediocre story and made it an almost painful listen. If you want a better story with excellent narration, stick with Tufo.
"Ruined by the language."
The story was good but it was ruined by the profanity. Will not be reading the other books in the series.
"what a waste"
made it to chapter 2 before i could not go on any more I love zombie books. this one is absolutely stupid.... really zombie apocalypse they have a H.O.A and some bitchy lady runs it and they email and text each other. what part of apocalypse has ever had texting.
Really hard to get through this book. A lot of the dialogs were super cheesy. Would not recommend
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