Friday, May 25, 2018

Book Review: 'Apocalyptic Moon' by Eva Gordon


A blow to the head is what it takes…
That could be the beginning of many scenarios. Unfortunately, for Dr. Dora Adler, it pertains to zombies. Human wars of the past paled in comparison to the devastation caused by the Z-phage infection as it swept across the globe. When combined with natural disasters, crashing stock markets, and numerous other catastrophes, it promotes the perfect scenario for total annihilation of the human race. Being a medical provider, Dora is stuck right in the middle of things. Every patient that comes through the door is potentially infected and poses a risk to the few humans left. Not only does she have to treat these patients, but she also has to single out the ones already compromised and then watch as they are carted off to quarantine. Thankfully, those she holds dearest remain safe, but for how long?
If the possibility of becoming a zombie weren’t bad enough, she has a family curse hanging over her head. One way or another, her number is up; number 27, that is. Every female in her family for several generations had died at the age of 27. Dora has no idea why; so it made it somewhat difficult to prepare or protect herself from her impending fate. As luck would have it, her 27th birthday comes with a new twist. Not only is she bitten and rushed off to a facility to await turning into a zombie and death by a bullet to the head, she discovers that she’s immune to Z-phage.
Now that might sound like a good thing—if one doesn’t relish the idea of becoming a cannibal and eating loved ones and close friends—just imagine becoming a science experiment in a world desperate to find a cure to a virus that depletes human numbers by staggering amounts every day. Soon, there won’t be anyone left. Just because Dora is immune to zombie bites, doesn’t mean being ripped to shreds in a feeding frenzy doesn’t pose a threat. She’s immune, not magic, right? Dora, honey, you better get ready for a little more weird in your life. Seems you’re not completely human, after all, and zombies aren’t the only monsters to go bump in the night.
Dirk is your typical badass, playboy, alpha-male werewolf. He likes fast bikes, fast women, and uncluttered relationships, except when it comes to his killer pooch, Fang, a teacup Chihuahua who’s managed to turn this big bad wolf into a dotting “mommy”. While Dirk certainly feels the responsibility of his alpha status and knows he needs to choose a mate soon, he’s got bigger and better things to attend to, like tracking down the hunter who almost took his sister’s life.
Catching Z-phage wasn’t a concern for him; he’s immune to the virus. In fact, zombies didn’t even seem to notice his presence. Apparently, werewolves and other shifters didn’t smell like food. Unfortunately, the invulnerability didn’t extend all of his wolf family. Lower wolves—betas and omegas—were unable to shift except during a full moon, leaving them susceptible to zombie attacks. The sheer number of zombies looking for human meat had already decimated many wolf packs. If something wasn’t done to stop Z-phage, there wouldn’t be a world left for any of them, human or shifter.
I’ve got to say I’m not a fan of zombies. I don’t know why, but they creep me out. I can’t even watch zombie movies without getting the heebie-jeebies. Why I grabbed this story is beyond me, but I’m glad I did. I expect my attraction to werewolves and other paranormal beasties overrode my anxiety about flesh-eating ghoulies. Ms. Gordon certainly had my unease in high gear when it came to her thorough description of a world riddled with this highly contagious virus that turns just about everyone into mindless cannibals, but her twist on things really sparked my attention and kept me turning the pages—despite being scared of the dark for a few days.
The relationship between Dirk and Dora steadily grows as they develop companionship, trust, and inevitably love with one another. Despite the chaos around them and the rules governing both their kind regarding mingling of the species, they can’t stop destiny. Fight it as they may, when they finally come together, it’s explosive and a major turning point, even if they aren’t quite ready to admit it to themselves. Some of the dialog seemed a bit cheesy at times, but I envisioned a world where anything to laugh about was likely cherished and exploited to the fullest.
This book certainly has a lot of plot twists and excitement to keep you entertained. I like how the author adds a new take on things with shifters and magic. I mean, how many ways can you write about zombies without everything sounding the same? Ms. Gordon certainly presents a stimulating change from a perspective I hadn’t considered before. There were some similarities to several different movie plots that seemed a bit “borrowed”, but the author still manages to give it her own voice, making the overall book an enjoyable—if not anxiety provoking—read. There were a few remaining loose ends so I’m hoping there will be more tales to come.
Zombies, werewolves, and witches oh my. This certainly ain’t Kansas and I think Dora’s going to need more than a pair of ruby slippers to save the day. With her alpha-mate at her side and newfound skills in “witchmacallit”, she just might be able to turn the tide and save the human race, one person at a time. If animated corpses who love to gorge on human flesh sparks your fancy, and sexy, Harley-riding wolf shifters give you thrills, then you’ll probably enjoy Ms. Eva Gordon’s Apocalyptic Moon. It’s a hair-raising, moon-howling adventure that kept me eagerly turning the pages to see what happened next—as well as checking my closet for any hidden ghoulies wishing to make a meal out of me. I’ll be sleeping with a bat next to my bed for many nights to come. Thank you, Ms. Gordon, for penning a story that will likely stay with me for a while to come.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.