Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Book Review:Beyond Exile by J.L. Bourne
Your personal guide in this rotten wasteland is the still unnamed naval officer from Day by Day Armageddon. J.L. Bourne’s Beyond Exile starts immediately following the journal entry at the end of the first book with the narrator and his companions residing in a relatively secure location. Life has begun to feel somewhat normal. However, normalcy quickly deteriorates, and the places that were once safe are now death traps. With bravery, luck, and a little ingenuity they may just find a way to be safe again.
J.L. Bourne steps up his game in Beyond Exile and really weaves a great story. Bourne backs off a little from the “dear diary” premise of Day by Day Armageddon, and the story is no longer solely delivered through the journal entries. There are extended dialog and action sequences, neither of which is as prevalent in the first novel. Relaxing the rules of his first person narrative has allowed Bourne to tell his story in an exciting way. Bourne doesn’t hesitate to write dialog or give details that would not be normally be transcribed in someone’s journal. While I was pretty ho-hum about the first book, I found myself enjoying Beyond Exile a great deal. This is quality writing, and Bourne has taken the Zombie Apocalypse premise and has made a little niche of his own.
The narrator is a reluctant bad ass with a lot of heart and a good head on his shoulders. He is a very likeable character and he is easy to identify with. The drawback of the epistolary style is that the journal writer is really the only character you get to know.
Beyond Exile is a must read for zombie fans, and may likely provide an interesting diversion for non-undead aficionados too. I listened to Beyond Exile on audio CDs (Brilliance Audio). Once again, Jay Snyder who does an excellent job portraying Bourne’s narrator. Beyond Exile makes for a great listen, and audio may be the best way to experience the zombie apocalypse. —Justin
You can also learn more about J.L. Bourne’s books at the Fantasyliterature J.L. Bourne page