The 6th Horseman
I have read one other book by the same author and I enjoyed that very much. Naturally, I was super excited to get my hands on another potentially awesome book so I had high expectations. First, I want to say that it isn’t that my expectations weren’t met, just that this books wasn’t what I expected.
Let me explain.
The first book I read by Atlas was a children’s book about a boy who was a paraplegic and took a really riveting and entertaining adventure. It was fantastic and incredibly bold so I thought, with a title like The 6th Horseman, that I was getting myself into another fantasy novel. I was a little wrong.
This book is not a children’s book and it is not about fantasy. Actually, it’s about a zombie apocalypse. So you see, this book wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I expected. On the other hand, the fact that it wasn’t what I expected isn’t why I gave it this rating, and this is where my review comes in.
Since this is going to be a fairly detailed review, I’m going to break it down into sections.
I thought the actual storyline was really good. To be completely honest, it was clever and some parts were unexpected. I didn’t know this was going to be a zombie apocalypse and I happen to like zombie books so that surprise actually worked in Atlas’s favor. The way the characters and their stories were interwoven worked really well and I liked that the story was told from different perspectives. The opening was definitely a little vague but I got through it and made it to the ‘meat’ of the book. That’s where things really started to pick up and it was easy reading from there. The ending was fair, not too open ended but with enough closure to not make me angry if there isn’t a second book—which I appreciated very much.
The writing itself cost a star. This is where I make comparisons to Atlas’s first book. It was written very well and had so much depth and description. There was world-building and vivid detail, I could picture everything in the grand size and bright colors they were described but I didn’t get that in this book. I said the beginning was vague but it was also slow—bleeding slow—to the point of boredom. The beginning wasn’t the only vague part. It felt like most of the book was one large guess at what was happening. Everything was insinuated or said without saying.
I didn’t exactly understand just what was happening for a good long time—like a hundred pages or so. Now, as a frequent book reviewer, I tend to read plenty of books sometimes two a day. Honestly, it can get ‘grindy’ to the point where I’m just reading to get through the book and post a review, not to actually enjoy it and tell the author what I loved or hated. That being said, I can be a really airheaded reader at times. Reviewer or not, I tend to skim personal info on characters. I just can’t get myself to care about each character’s wavy brown hair or their middle name, or their dog’s name, or how big and beautiful and blue their eyes are. That’s all irrelevant to me. So, in the author’s defense, my own laziness may have confused me.
To be fair, I got a preview copy of the book before editing so I was aware that there would be a certain number of grammatical mistakes. I don’t know if those mistakes were corrected or not but this comment isn’t on a misplaced comma or a misspelled word on page 72 (exaggeration, I don’t remember if there was actually a misspelled word on that page). I’m a really relaxed reader, whether I’m reviewing a self-published self-edited novel or a bestselling novel, I don’t normally care to mention—or even pay much attention to—poor grammar. As long as I know what the author intended to write, I can overlook errors. I just don’t see the point in throwing a hissy fit over a mistake or two that really doesn’t make or break the overall story. In this case, despite being warned of mistakes, I decided to include a section in my review for errors.
What I found to be really odd, to the point of distracting, was that Atlas often switched the narration. I don’t mean from character to character, I mean from present tense to past tense. One moment the character would sit down and close his eyes, the next minute the characters’ dialogue would be ‘said’ instead of ‘say’ which would be the correct way to format a present tense novel. It happened enough times that I stopped noticing it and began to question whether it’d been done on purpose or not.
Please remember this was BEFORE editing so this very well may have been corrected by now and probably isn’t an issue anymore. Judging from the quality of Atlas’s other book, I wouldn’t be surprised if the finished copy was clean and pristine.
Overall, this is a good book. I would definitely recommend it to other readers whether they like zombies or not. I do think it is unique and I loved how the zombie-like creatures actually evolved as the story progressed. That was cool and certainly original. They were different and I felt like, in a way, they evolved just as the characters did. I liked watching the cast make decisions and see their growth unfold right before me. I felt like the story flowed smoothly—once I got an understanding of it—and that in the end it worked really well. I think this book would be best for readers who like eccentric and unique novels set in a very ‘unoriginal’ event. By ‘unoriginal’ I mean something as common as a zombie apocalypse, because we haven’t heard of that before, right? I don’t mean any offense by that, just that Atlas brought some spice to a very common theme.
All in all, I am glad to have read a second book by this author and I wouldn’t be opposed to reading a third. I would recommend this to adult readers who aren’t opposed to a little horror and gore. If you like zombies then this is certainly for you but I think anyone with an interest in science fiction would enjoy it too.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*