I’ve been interested in Fiend since my pal Tika reviewed the book in late 2014 over on her blog fANGIRL Confessions. I finally picked up a copy on my last adventure to Barns and Noble and I was lucky enough to get it on sale! While I didn’t hate Fiend, it surprised me when I wasn’t amazed by it, either.
The plot and writing woes
For me, the most exciting part of the book happened in the first chapter. It was a The Walking Dead level gore fest that had me begging for more but sadly, it didn’t stay that way. The more I read, the slower it the plot seemed to move. By the middle of the Fiend, I had to force myself to finish. It just wasn’t exciting enough for me.
My biggest issue was the writing. The style in which Stenson delivered Fiend was so completely different from anything I’ve read that it felt disjointed and distracted me from the story. It’s awesome to find an author who has an original idea, but because the book was so out of the box I can’t relate, it kept pulling me out of the book.
The second largest issue I had with Fiend was the plot. To enjoy good end-of-the-world zombie fiction, I need a hell of a lot of world building. I generally expect most of my questions to be answered, but by the end of Fiend, I had more questions than answers. If you’re a nosy reader like I am, this I’m not saying I need to know what caused them, but I need a plausible theory for how they showed up. Was it a virus? The rapture? Contaminated water source? It was so frustrating that my questions went unanswered.
The character’s were… alright.
I love it when my heart rattles against my uvula.
I love it when my vision is a camera shutter.
I love it when I know that someday, I will do great things.
I love it when methamphetamine make things okay.
Fiend is told by Chase Daniels, a druggie who’s only long time relationships are with his best friend and fellow addict, Typewriter, and his drug dealer. The story follows Chase as he and Typewriter dodge the giggling undead —yes, I said giggling zombies— on his journey to save his ex-girlfriend and more importantly, accumulate a large stash of crack to survive the apocalypse. It’s not that I hated Chase, it’s just that I didn’t get him. Or maybe I just don’t get having an addiction so bad, that betraying my loved ones is better than living without…He and the rest of his fluctuating group of druggie survivors didn’t make me feel anything except a pity. My “meh” feelings for the characters probably comes down to my inability to relate. *shrug*
If you love dysfunctional characters, Fiend might be for you
I’m not sure who would love this book, to be honest. Certainly not hardcore zombie lovers. This book would probably appeal to readers who like a nice dysfunctional anti-hero for their narrator. While my experience with Fiend wasn’t a the best of experiences, I do think other readers could enjoy reading this novel. It just wasn’t for me.