Under a Graveyard Sky (Black Tide Rising Book 1)
Science Fiction Book Review
This was my first foray into a John Ringo world. Since we are on the zombie theme, Ringo is to literature what Z Nation is to the Walking Dead. If you don’t know what either of those shows are, you’re probably not going to be picking up this book anyway. Reading Under a Graveyard Sky was kind of like taking a road trip in a cab, it’s dirty, you feel like you wasted too much money and when you arrive at your destination you realize that you don’t give a shit what happens to the car or the driver. When the journey ends, you wished you flew.
Zombie-ism arrives in the form of a disease that appears to have been delivered via some underground garden variety terrorist organization. You catch the flu it in all the regular ways. This is not breaking any new ground here, which is ok in the zombie genre, but what I had a hard time with was the pseudo-science. By pseudo, I’m not claiming that there are holes in the science, more that he starts off with a promising scientific premise and then makes it boring as hell. He seems to realize it is boring as he pretty much gives up on the science halfway through the book.
The other big issue I had with the book was the lack of any interesting conflict. In a book about zombies! All of the main characters get vaccinated from the disease very early in the book. Then none of these main characters ever has to deal with any real loss. Yeah, there are some hints of PTSD throughout but that is the only time you see any real emotion from any of the characters and that is flaccid at best. Maybe we’re spoiled from the Walking Dead by learning how vicious a story can get when toying with your emotions but this felt like it had all the dimensions of a John Romero B-movie. These characters belong in Flatland.
Ringo can write action, I’ll give him that. He can take you from page to page like a cowhand herding cattle but at the end of the day you realize that it’s all ground chuck with not a single New York strip in sight. I didn’t stop reading the book, so he deserves enough credit to fall into that ’80’s Schwarzenegger Action flick on late night TV that you just can’t turn away from for some reason’ category. But sadly, the book leaves no more an impression than a late night channel surf. I finished the book a week ago and I can’t remember the name of a single character, even the cool 13 year old ass kicking sister.
I’m going to have to pass on the next installment of this series.