Surge - Katelin LaMontagne
4.5 Stars

I finished reading this story about a week ago, but I’ve put off the review for many reasons. The main being, I don’t think I’ll do this book justice. I know this is something book bloggers everywhere say at least once a week, but I truly don’t think I can describe my feelings for this book. It was such a complex story, emotionally and story-wise. It was attention grabbing, but it was definitely not an easy read. There is so much emotion – anger, despair, pain, humor, horror, love, frustration – that made me feel as if I boarded the train to Crazy Town(which we all know I did a long time ago). With a lot of books, it can take a while for me to become attached to the characters. No matter what I eventually rate a book, it can take a few chapters to become involved, but not with this one. I fell in love almost instantly, which is unfortunate, because one of the characters I wanted to see more of died! :(

Surge follows the lives of a hodgepodge group of survivors that include an elderly person, a doctor, a couple of love smitten teenagers, and a few too many cliché “fashionistas” that complain about everything and rarely keep their legs closed. This group is led by a 23-year-old snarky young man named Jared, and his slutty best friend John, both of whom initially banded together to protect Jared’s younger sister when the world fell apart around them. They slowly met with other survivors who joined them in living in Jared’s apartment. This all happened before the beginning of the book – the book actually begins when Jared and John are scouting for weapons, make an unwise decision (as usual), and become overrun by a horde of hungry wheezers. They are saying their goodbyes when a short, motorcycle helmet disguised woman in all leather decimates the entire group of wheezers and saves their asses (for the first time of many). Her name is Olivia, and she takes them back to one of her houses, where they quickly fall in lust with her survivor skills and her cooking… and maybe a little more (no this book does not a love triangle. . . at least not a traditional one).

Jared was an interesting main character. I haven’t read many books in the male POV, and I think this one was by far my favorite, even though he was kind of the typical teenage-male asshole at the beginning of the story. I don’t look down on the author for this, as I think it gave him dimension, because I saw tremendous growth from him all the way through the novel. He changes from an immature boy who’s only interests are sex from whoever spreads their legs and survival to a man intent on revenge and safety for his group and especially the love of his life. He’s a real main character – one who has the normal thoughts and actions of a boy his age, but eventually grows up.

I also really loved Olivia, aka Jared’s damaged lover, even though her story is a terrible one. I won’t spoil the story for you guys, but just know that if you have triggers or can’t stomach abuse or rape in stories, this is not the zombie story for you. Don’t be alarmed there is a happy-for-now ending, but this book has some themes that can be disturbing… How can it not be when a convicted rapist and his minions escape from prison during an apocalypse and mutilates the main character in ways you can’t even imagine.

I did have on problem with this story: so. much. slut shaming. It’s ridiculous how much of the dialogue was shaming three of the girls in the group for having sex with John and having a love of shoes. It seems we’re shamed when we “act like girls” or not. I especially hate when an author (like this one) creates characters specifically so the main characters can look down on them. Grrr. Pet-peeve!

Despite my hatred of slut shaming, it didn’t take my attention away from the story as much as it usually would. I loved the plot, and I loved the characters, even if I did have problems with a few of their characteristics. That makes them realistic characters, right?

I completely enjoyed this story and can’t wait to read more. It might not be as horror packed as most zombie stories are, because most of the horror evolved around humans and not the wheezers (sadly, humans can be worse than hungry zombies), but I did have to sleep with a lamp on for a few nights. As soon as I finish this review, I’m off to beg the author to let me review the second book in the series!

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