Audiobook Review: Hissers by Ryan C. Thomas

23 08 2011

Hissers by Ryan C. Thomas

Read by MacLeod Andrews

Audible Frontiers

Genre: Zombie Horror

Quick Thoughts: Excellent narration and a strong ending saves this uneven teen angst ridden gorefest.

Grade: C

I talked about this before when I wrote my review of Dan Well’s Mr. Murder, but the concept still intrigues me. What exactly makes a book a Young Adult novel as opposed to an Adult novel?  I’ve always thought it was more than just young characters, with tamed down violence, sex and language, I thought it was a unique stylistic approach. Would we consider Stephen King’s Christine or Carrie Young Adult because the main characters are teenagers? Yet, more and more I am reading young adult books that have an adult feel to them, and conversely Adult books that feel very Young Adultish. Now admittedly, I don’t read a ton of Young Adult novels, unless I find the subject very intriguing, or am familiar with the author’s adult titles. I have read Harry Potter, because it was such a phenomena, and really enjoyed it, as well as The Hunger Games, which I had mixed feelings about. So, in the end, what does a books age Genre come down to? I’m personally starting to thing that often it’s an arbitrary decision made by the author and publisher based on which market it may do better in overall. And this is the dilemma I face with Ryan C. Thomas’s zombie novel Hissers.

Hisser’s is a typical, if sometimes clichéd Zombie outbreak novel that tells the story of four Castor teenagers who witness a mysterious plane crash and the resulting wave of zombies it releases. Hissers is fast paced, nearly real time account of their attempts to survive the outbreak, while looking for their parents and trying to get out of the town. It is full of gore and teenage angst. The young teenagers, who are all 14 years old, are your typical movie/book kids, a fat geek, a nerdy athlete, the smart girl, and the perceived slut, but in a very “After School Special” moment while holed up in their school’s teacher’s lounge they revel their hidden secrets to each other. Oh, and do a bit of kissing as well. Thomas does bring in a new, interesting twist on Zombies, allowing them to incorporate other body parts, so we get some three armed zombies or zombies with hands sticking out of their foreheads, which is interesting but doesn’t really contribute much to the overall plot. Despite all my issues, Thomas puts together a solid, exciting ending, if you are willing to overlook one laugh out loud (and not in a good way) moment.  Hissers definitely had some fun moments, and someone looking for a simple tale of zombie survival with teenager will probably enjoy it. Yet, for me, while I didn’t hate it, and enjoyed the audio production, I found its conflicting moments of teen angst with over the top gore a bit strange. Maybe I’m just getting old.

MacLeod Andrew’s is a huge factor in what made this audiobook listenable. Andrew’s always seems to really understand the tone of the book as well as the character’s he portrays. I’m sure there was a temptation to give an over the top reading but Andrew’s doesn’t fall for it, he gives a solid, well thought out portrayal of the characters, with just the right touch of humor. I found a simple change in a characters inflection could elicit an unexpected laugh. He also handles the action scenes with a deliberate pace that allows you to easily follow what is happening. Hisser’s was advertised as The Breakfast Club meets Resident Evil, and I guess it lives up to its promise on some level. Hissers may appeal to older teenagers who can handle horrifically detailed scenes of cannibalism, and moments of teenage uber-drama. Adults may find it a little tougher to take.



2 responses

24 08 2011
Audiobook Review: Hissers by Ryan C. Thomas | Everything AudioBooks |

[…] Audiobook Review: Hissers by Ryan C. Thomas […]

26 08 2011
Jen - Devourer of Books

Hmm, I don’t think I’m pained about missing this one.

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