Twilight of the Dead by Travis Adkins
Read by Rachel Botchan, with L.J. Ganser, Kevin T. Collins and Jay Snyder
Genre: Horror, Zombies, Post Apocalyptic
Quick Thoughts: Twilight of the Dead is a solid, entertaining Zombie Apocalypse novel with excellent narration, yet what really makes this production shine is the the added short stories that serve as a prequel to the main novel.
One of the things I like about Zombies is that except for a few exceptions, they are not paranormal. The Zombie outbreak tends to have some physical cause to it. Unlike other monsters, vampires, the fae, ghosts, ghouls and goblins, they are not bound by any paranormal rules. Zombies don’t need to get permissions to enter your home. Silver doesn’t hurt a zombie, unless it is thrust forcibly through their cranium. Zombies are simply walking dead, who want to eat you. As I have made my way through my Zombie audiobook for this theme of mine, that is something that has pretty much held true. Zombies are the ultimate in science fiction. No need for aliens, or spaceships, zombies are earthbound science run amok. My latest selection is Travis Adkins Twilight of the Dead. This concept of scientific menace stood out for me in reading this book. Not that Adkins focused on science to a great degree, but the bits that he did expand upon served the genre well. One of my favorite aspects of the zombie apocalypse is the reaction of the masses. When something as bad as the dead rising hits them, the masses search for mystical explanations. Whether it is the religious leader believing this is God’s wrath, or the man refusing to leave his house because, well, it’s his home and monsters wouldn’t violate its sanctity, we see people looking for mystical answers to earth based problems.
The first thing that stands out in Twilight of the Dead is the protagonist Courtney. I have read a few zombie books with strong female heroes, and they all seem to share similar qualities. They are inspirational leaders, rays of hope in a dying world. They are bold and sociable leading by a force of will. They are solid, stoic in the face of disaster. This is so not Courtney. Courtney is antisocial, and perhaps unstable. She has major esteem issues, finding herself to uninteresting and petty. She is caustic and sarcastic, alienating those trying to get close to her. She hasn’t embraced hope, but muddles her way through the end of days. Yet, there is something about her. Like in all good books, there is transformation, sure, but here it’s a realistic progression forged in tragedy, betrayal and self awareness. In such a tragic world, realism trumps fantasy, and Courtney is about as realistic a lead character as there is. Beyond that, Adkins has created a Post Apocalyptic world that isn’t highly original, but it is a comfortable setting for the listener that allows the action and story to shine. By not needing to make a world so different and special, Adkins gives us a series of moments to enjoy. From the contributions of the leaders who are more scared of using the wrong words, and offending people than fighting the zombies, to a villain’s twisted worldview, these moments are highly entertaining and should please fans of the undead. I am looking forward to starting After Twilight in the next few days.
I really enjoyed the narration on this audiobook. Rachel Botchan did the majority of the work here, and she did a solid job. She paced herself well, and embraced the role of Courtney with vigor. She has a few weird slip ups with accents, occasionally giving Courtney a New Englander’s accent, when Courtney was a Floridian, and hated that accent. Yet, even that can be explained as Courtney picking up unconscious New England mannerisms. The male narrators, Jay Snyder, LJ Ganser and Kevin T. Collins, handles their smaller roles well, but truly shined in the reading of the bonus materials, a series of short stories serving as prequels to Twilight of the Dead. In fact, these shorts were the true gems of the production. Post Apocalyptic fans will embrace the shorts, since it gives a greater glimpse of the decaying world, and some great characters. Twilight of the Dead was a fun listening experience for zombie fans, and the added shorts were inspired additions to this excellent audiobook.