Review: Allison Hewitt is Trapped: A Zombie Novel by Madeleine Roux

Allison Hewitt is Trapped: A Zombie Novel by Madeleine Roux
 St. Martins Press (Macmillan/Jan. 2011)
Source: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon| Barnes and Noble

Allison Hewitt and her five colleagues at the Brooks and Peabody Bookstore are trapped together when the zombie outbreak hits. Allison reaches out for help through her blog, writing on her laptop and utilizing the military’s emergency wireless network (SNET). It may also be her only chance to reach her mother. But as the reality of their situation sinks in, Allison’s blog becomes a harrowing account of her edge-of-the-seat adventures (with some witty sarcasm thrown in) as she and her companions fight their way through ravenous zombies and sometimes even more dangerous humans.

Grad student Allison Hewitt is holed up with five co-workers at the bookstore that she works in part time while attending school. Why are they sequestered in the break room of the bookstore, you may ask? Well, zombies are milling about outside and work is where they happened to be when whatever caused the outbreak hit. The group is scared, stinky, and hoping for rescue, but Allison is beginning to think rescue may not come anytime soon. All she can think about is her mom, who has cancer, and hope she’s somewhere safe. Her one link to the outside world is her laptop and her blog. Allison uses blogging to tell her story, and from the get-go, she’s someone I’d want on my side. Strong, responsible, and snarky, eventually she becomes the de-facto leader of this little group, and the series of events that follow are nothing short of terrifying. Their food supply is running out, and soon they’ll need to leave the store. Armed with her trusty ax and her wits, Allison will need everything at her disposal to keep herself, and her little group safe.

Like I said, I’ve been through quite a few zombie books lately, and looking at the cover for Allison Hewitt, you’d think this might be a light, funny read. Not so!! The book opens with a letter to a Dr. Burroughs, dated August 3, 2108, asking that Allison Hewitt be included in a possible book detailing the heroic contributions of women during the zombie outbreak, then goes back to 2009, when Allison’s story occurs. There is quite a bit of humor, Allison’s snarky observations of her colleagues and others are fantastic and there were passages that made me laugh out loud, however, Allison’s story is a terrifying one, and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish it! Allison’s blog entries are punctuated with comments from people across the world that come to depend on her posts to give them hope, not to mention her story is just plain riveting. I kept imagining Allison as some shining warrior goddess wielding an ax instead of a sword. She’s not without her flaws, but her resilience and bravery in the face of such horrors is phenomenal. There are plenty of zombie battle scenes (with heads being lopped off left and right) to please horror fans, and Allison swings her ax with pragmatism and grim determination. One memorable scene in the bookstore, when she and Ted (who eventually becomes a very good friend) venture out for food, is of Allison foolishly dropping the bag of loot to grab as many books as she can before getting back to safety. It’s things like that that really made me fall in love with her. I can totally see myself doing something like that, even in the midst of a zombie attack. The writing is crisp, the pace is flawless, and I was absolutely glued to the pages throughout. There were a few tiny plot issues, but nothing that I couldn’t overlook and certainly nothing that marred its overall awesomeness. In the search for her mom, Allison will encounter zombies (plenty of them, hordes of them), zombie squirrels, and a cult of crazy widows bent on cleansing the sinners and continuing the human race, even if they have to kill to do it. She also finds some amazing allies and friends, and even love. At turns laugh-out-loud funny, exciting, and sometimes heartbreaking, Allison Hewitt is Trapped is a MUST READ for horror and urban fantasy fans, and of course all you zombie lovers out there. Not to be missed!