Audiobook Review: Roads Less Traveled: The Plan by C. Dulaney

14 05 2012

Roads Less Traveled: The Plan by C. Dulaney

Read by Elisabeth Rodgers

Audible Frontiers/Permuted Press

Length: 9 Hrs 27 Min

Genre: Zombie Apocalypse

Quick Thoughts: Roads Less Traveled: The Plan is a realistic, accessible Zombie thriller that can easily bridge the gap between fans of the darker, Permuted Press Zombie style and those younger fans who were introduced to Zombie fiction through authors like Ilsa J Bick and Amanda Hocking. Dulaney reminded me that with strong characters, deft plotting and well drawn action, the classic zombie survival tales can seem as fresh as when I first opened the pages of The Rising.

Grade: B+

As much of a lover of zombie fiction as I am, I do not have a Zombie plan. Sure, I probably should have some sort of game plan in place when one of the many apocalyptic scenarios decided to fall upon my world. The problem is, I’m a normal, lower middle class guy living in the death trap of suburban sprawl. Heck, I don’t even live in the nice, more isolated suburban areas, but right smack up against the 5th largest city in the country.  Oh, to make matters even better, I live in a smallish ground floor apartment, surrounded by plenty of people who when they become ravenous flesh hungry skin jobs, will have no problems smashing through one of the many man sized windows to enter my apartment and find a Bob-sized snack. So, if by some stroke of luck, I can find a way of getting to my vehicle, parked a good couple of football fields away, down a narrow sidewalk, then I’d probably end up in the congested traffic trying to flee this area. Now, luckily, we have plenty of major highways connecting in this area, to bleed off a lot of the traffic, and I am quite familiar with the back roads of my area. So, maybe I have a shot, but a plan. Nope. What plans can a guy who lives in the suburban sprawl, with a bad knee, who has never fired a gun, nor is a highly trained ninja, pirate or masked dark knight really make, besides bugging out and hoping to find someone capable to take care of me, and kill all the pesky undead trying to eat my tasty flesh. 

I’ll be honest, I never was really sure I wanted to listen to Roads Less Traveled: The Plan. Did I really want to spend 10 hours listening to some rural resident talking about their wonderful plan, and scoffing at all us stupid city folks? Because that’s what I expected. I have read quite a few apocalyptic novels where some people fully prepare themselves for the apocalypse and disparage those who didn’t while bragging about their Survivalistic savvy. I had downloaded Roads Less Traveled a while back from Audible, yet it sat there in my library mostly ignored and forgotten. The reason I had considered listening to it was because I had good experiences with the Permuted Press female authors, like Eloise J. Knapp and Jessica Meigs, so I was hoping that trend would continue. So, Zombie Awareness Month has rolled around giving me the motivation to dust off the old digital copy and give it a whirl. Frankly put, I enjoyed the hell out of Road Less Traveled. It’s actually quite hard for me to put my finger on what I liked about it. Dulaney doesn’t really break much new ground here. She combines a lot of different classic Zombie Apocalypse themes, bringing about something that is just a whole lot of fun. Sometimes, in my search for a new and unique twist on the genre, I lose sight of what drew me to these types of stories, then I listen to something like Roads Less Traveled, and I remember. Dulaney tackles the apocalypse with an accessible writing style, a willingness to take some risks and a well developed and interesting female lead. Dulaney shows us the zombie fiction can be dark and realistic without relying solely on viscera, gore and depravity. Kasey is one of the strongest female leads I have encountered, yet she is also unsure of herself and vulnerable. Now, this isn’t a perfect novel, there are some development issues with some of the lesser characters, and a few narrative leaps that left me a bit disoriented, but these quibbles are minor when compared to the many thing done right. Roads Less Traveled: The Plan is a realistic, accessible Zombie thriller that can easily bridge the gap between fans of the darker, Permuted Press Zombie style and those younger fans who were introduced to Zombie fiction through authors like Ilsa J Bick and Amanda Hocking. Dulaney reminded me that with strong characters, deft plotting and well drawn action, the classic zombie survival tales can seem as fresh as when I first opened the pages of The Rising.

Elisabeth Rodgers gives a standout performance in her reading of Roads Less Traveled: The Plan. Rodgers is a new to me narrator, and her performance was one of the reasons I engaged with this title so quickly. Now, I am no experts on accents, so I can’t really say whether it was authentic, but her soft, measured southern tone she gave to Kasey, and the vocal cues she uses made the character really come alive for me. I did have some trouble early on delineating some of the male characters, particularly Zach and Jake, but as they became more defined in the text, I was able to grasp the subtleties of each of their personalities through Rodgers characterizations. Roads Less Traveled: The Plan was an excellent audiobook production and a must listen for hardcore fans of Zombie audiobooks.

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2 responses

18 05 2012
DevourerofBooks (@DevourerofBooks)

I’ll keep this in mind when I’m next looking for a good zombie listen!

20 05 2012
Zombie Awareness Month Recap: Week 3 Update « The Guilded Earlobe

[…] Roads Less Travled: The Plan by C. Dulaney (Audiobook) […]

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