FULL DISCLOSURE – Jack and I are blogging buddies. He gave me an advanced review copy of his eBook, but did not pay me or beat me into the agreement to review the book. He requested only that I read the book and give an honest opinion of it during the week of its release. I agreed because, hey, I wanted to read the book before everyone else. Duh.
Since I am not currently the voracious reader that I once was, I have not gotten around to reading Jack Flacco‘s first book, Ranger Martin and The Zombie Apocalypse. It’s on my Amazon Wishlist, but I’m slooooooowly working my way through a stack of books on my bookshelf right now and have not made it to any new Wishlist items yet. Having read the sequel to Zombie Apocalypse, I now need to go back and read the first one.
As a fan of Jack’s blog, I was curious about his literary style and how it would carry over to fiction. Turns out, his blogging style is quite different from his fictional writing style, which is a good thing. Having not read the first book, I wasn’t quite sure what was going on at the start of this one. The action was so quick, that I got into the moment, though. After a few chapters, I kind of picked up the vibe of the characters and assumed some history between some of them. I think the story could have used a page or two summarizing the history between the characters the way many series do, but there was enough action that I didn’t really worry about knowing the characters very well until I already got to know them.
Reading the story actually reminded me of a [do not click on the following link if you do not like spoilers] post that Jack had awhile back. I’m not sure if the post provided the idea for this book or if this was Jack’s sneaky way of feeling out his readers’ thoughts on his writing subject beforehand. Either way, Ranger Martin and The Alien Invasion is an exciting read. The story picks up where Zombie Apocalypse left off – right in the middle of a zombie mob attacking Ranger Martin. Ranger, Randy, Matty, Jon, and others continue to battle zombie filth while uncovering an alien invasion that is set to wipe out mankind, or rather, have us wipe out ourselves.
It’s hard to tell who to root for and who the real enemies are in the story. As soon as you pick a side, that side either dies or does something that you find morally questionable. When you decide that you don’t like a character, that character shows a hint of a redeemable quality that makes you wonder from where the character’s motives really stem. Then again, life isn’t black and white. So, I can’t imagine that zombie apocalypses and alien invasions would make things any easier. In general, you do get a sense of good vs bad, but I like that the characters aren’t completely flat. Part of that is due to the age of the main characters. Imagine figuring out who you are and what your place in the world is when the world is coming to an end. The forces they are up against are much older, wiser, and more powerful than them in multiple ways. I really don’t know how I would handle dealing with some snotty teenager if aliens were taking over the world.
It’s less than 300 pages and the pace of the book makes it a relatively quick read. This is an excellent book for long flights and long weekends. The action is steady, the story is fun, and there are some surprising twists to keep readers eager for more. I look forward to seeing how Jack tackles other subjects like unicorns and leprechauns!