Friday, June 14, 2013

Review: PODs by Michelle Pickett

PODsAuthor: Michelle Pickett
Genre:  Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 312
Published: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it's in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it's a balm for the broken soul. 
After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That's the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating... monsters. 
Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life--a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure."~Goodreads

Ever since I saw Shaun of the Dead for the first time I've been preparing for the zombie apocalypse.  Only mentally, of course, unless you count the piles of old shoes currently residing in my trunk as weapons.  But I digress.  I love, love, love zombies!  And it isn't the gore that intrigues me, it's the survival.  I remember reading The Boxcar Children when I was little and fantasizing about how cool it would be to live in the woods and use rocks as a refrigerator.  That's right, when I was a child I thought life would be great as a homeless orphan.  Apparently I haven't changed much.  On more than one occasion I have found myself stressed beyond belief with everyday nonsense and thinking, "If the zombie apocalypse is coming why not today?".  Now obviously I haven't thought this one out completely, there are things that I'm sure would be terrible.  So I'm completely fine reading books about zombies for the time being.  PODs isn't entirely a zombie book, in fact most of it is just your run-of-the-mill post-apocalyptic survival story which is fine by me since that's one of the best parts of the zombie genre.  It centers around a girl named Eva who is chosen to ride out the end of the world in a government POD with a bunch of other kids.  They wait it out in the POD, forming friendships and not knowing what might happen when they go back to real world.  It's a pretty interesting concept that's executed well.

  • Not all doom and gloom:  Even though I love horror, zombies and the like I can appreciate it when the entire book isn't just depressing as hell.  Don't get me wrong this story is all kinds of sad and unnerving but there are also some lighthearted moments and little glimpses of hope which are always important in a story like this one.
  • But the doom and gloom are great: The parts that are supposed to be scary or depressing are done really well.  I think one of the best things about this book is the authors ability to show the layers of good and bad.  A good example of this is at the very beginning where Eva is shopping with her mom for her end of the world wardrobe.  She's about to lose everything she loves and she still comments that she'd like a cute new sweatshirt.  I don't think this is shallowness as much as an example of how surreal it would be to be a teenager facing a life alone in a post-apocalyptic America.  It's very strange, but it works.
  • The Real World: PODs: Maybe it's the 90's kid in me but I really liked the strange roommate aspect of the first part of the book.  I think the characters meshed well together and there were some really cool moments.  I think it was a great way for the author to set up the second half of the book as well.  Here we have a group of teenagers that have lost their entire families.  They are pushed into a completely isolated POD for a year with no other human contact and then forced to face the harsh reality of the world above.  

  • Lots of loose ends:  The one thing that really hurt the story for me was the second half.  The story changes quite a bit and there were a lot of opportunities for the story to develop.  Unfortunately it seems like there were tons of things left hanging.  Many of the characters were completely dropped after everyone left the POD and there were huge plot points (like what happened to Eva's parents) that were left hanging.  I'm pretty sure this is going to be a series so I can understand not wanting to reveal too much but I felt like there wasn't much resolution and it the story felt unfinished.  In truth this is one of those books that I think would have been better as a stand-alone.

I wish that the last half of the book would have been a little more like the first half.  It just seemed to lack some of that substance that made the first part so interesting.  That being said, I would still recommend this book to anyone that love zombies and apocalyptic stories.  It's a quick, fun read with some really good action as well as some heart.

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