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What Remains (Book 1)

What Remains (Book 1) - Kay Holland I don't like giving one star reviews, I really don't.

I'm a writer, I'm an editor, I'm a seller and lover of books.

I tend to reserve the one stars for books I couldn't finish, no matter how hard I tried. Books like Red Hill and BSRK.

But this book made me ANGRY.

It had such an interesting (though, not all that unique) premise, and the opening two chapters were a great, fun read. So was the last chapter for the most part, though that last one was poorly edited.

But the seventeen chapters in between?

This book was such a STRUGGLE to get through.

I'm not a "few pages a day" kinda gal. I'm a "sacrifice sleep and knock out 400 pages in a day or two" kinda gal. When the book is right. When the book is edited properly.

So the fact that this book took me OVER A WEEK to get through its 140 pages should really tell you something.

Perhaps it is my editing background that left me so full of rage at this book.

I'm sorry, but I have had people hand me better drafts than this to then edit FURTHER before publishing. And for someone to expect people to pay for such lack of quality just smacks of disrespect.

You wouldn't submit a manuscript this riddled with errors to a publishing house or an agent. You know why? Because they see that large as life statement for what it is: The author's time is more important than the time of the agent/editor/reader.

I'm not saying each and every author has to hire an editor. I know that's not feasible to a lot of people, but at least get some friends and/or writers to look over it, and encourage them to point out errors!

For the love of all that is Zombie, ENCOURAGE THEM TO POINT OUT ERRORS!

I didn't tag every error by any stretch, but I wound up with NINETY status updates for this 140 page book.

From the character's thoughts having constant sex with her brain due to a poor choice of wording, to the soundless thud(see: word that means a sound) as a zombie head landed in a dry fountain, I found myself constantly shaking my head at all the words that meant very different things to what the author thought they did.

I'm not even going to go into all the inconsistencies with the plot, and listing the incorrect words would take far too long. Feel free to view the 90 updates for confirmation.

The Plot:

The night of the big zombie outbreak, seventeen year old Max, the Twelve year old she's babysitting(Peter), and a fifteen year old from down the street(Bristow, Kelly) drive towards the safety of an airforce hangar.

Four months later: I guess they made it, because that's where we rejoin them, just before the shit goes down and they're on the run again. They encounter more people, go through the standard trust issues people go through at the end of the world, and they meet some crazies along the way.

There was nothing wrong with the plot, but there was nothing stand out about it, either.

If the tidier, more engaging style of writing from the first two chapters had continued on throughout, this would have been an ok, possibly even enjoyable read, and I might have given it as many as three stars. Of course, that would also have hinged on a couple of other things in the story:


I hated her. She was so contradictory in everything she did.

On the first night of the big outbreak, Peter was the one who had the guns and knew how to use them, he was the one who told them where to go and saved their lives.
Yet, later, when he happens to have a gun, which they need for protection anyway, she freaks out about it. Sure, you want him to have a childhood, and not have to grow up too quickly and all that, but YOU need to grow a fucking brain, Max. It's life or death out there. DYING would really put a damper on that whole "childhood" thing you want so badly for him.

The doctor at their camp was a fucking pre-med student. Nothing wrong with that at all, but Max was expecting him to be responsible for finding a cure for the zombie virus, and was constantly in a foul mood when he hadn't. He was the only doctor the camp had, had his hands full with checking over new arrivals, and it had only been a matter of months since the outbreak. What do you think this is, Max? Television?! image

They had a car, they discovered that the sound of the car attracted the zombies, and they'd be better off on foot. They traveled on foot for a while, met some crazy people, continued traveling, and then the possibility of a CAR happened, and she got all excited...

The rest of the characters were reasonably bland or stereotypical. Or reminded me of other people I've run across in the genre.

Bristow was too emotional and unable to look after herself, Peter was more than capable of looking after himself and others, but Rick Max got angry at him whenever he tried to help.

The GovernorNed was a weirdo, a total nutcase. He had his community, with the best of the best, and he wanted to get the final say on who stayed and who went. So much so that if someone left without his permission, he would track them down and cause them all sorts of hell. And he thought the zombies were sentient, and that they were capable of making some kind of deal with him... BUT HE DIDN'T TAKE THEIR WEAPONS WHEN HIS NEW SUBJECTS ARRIVED AT CAMP.

I actually would have really liked it if the Ned thing went further, and perhaps the recruitment drive he kept going on about could have been code for something bigger, something more sinister than it was.

I mean, the dude obviously likes hunting people, wouldn't it be fun if he set up this elaborate plot to weed out the disloyal people, and then stood by waiting to chase them down and kill them with molotovs or something?

While the final scene was full of action and drama, the whole story left me feeling so disenchanted towards the characters, that my heart wasn't really in it anymore.
I might read the follow-ups if I stumble upon them when they're on sale(see: free), but only if they seem to have gone through a more rigorous edit(see: ANY).

I won't be recommending this to people, as the poor construction of the story just got in the way of anything that had any entertainment value.

This ebook was provided free of charge by NetGalley and the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Any issues present in this ARC may not be present in the final copy.