While I enjoyed some parts quite well, in the end this YA Historical Fantasy was disappointing.
The flu pandemic of 1918 took millions of souls within a few short weeks. Except it wasn't flu, and death gave them back.
Seventeen-year-old Ella copes the best she can by caring for her war-injured father, scrubbing the floors, and slaying the undead that attack the locals. Like rats, these vermin spread pestilence with every bite. Ella's world collides with another when she nearly decapitates a handsome stranger - one who is very much alive.
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Source: I received this book free in return for an honest review, courtesy of Audiobook Jukebox.
Ella, the Slayer by AW Exley, read by Gabrielle de Cuir, published by Skyboat Media (2016) / Length: 8 hrs 21 min
This is Book #1 of 2 (so far), in the "Serenity House" series. Both book are available on audio. Book #3, Alice, the Player, is currently scheduled to be released in November 2016.
I am giving this book a 3.5 star rating because, while I had some issues with the earlier parts of the book, for the most part I was enjoying it until her actions and choices in the end completely ruined it for me. If you don't like characters who do completely illogical things that endanger themselves and others, just to set up conflict in the next book (?), then you probably won't like the ending either.
Ella: I am conflicted about her. I liked who she was as a person - the way she interacted with the other servants, wanted to tell the truth, and took care of her invalid father; but I had problems with the decisions she made (and not just at the end).
Seth: I like him and feel that the book would have benefited from more of his POV and background. I feel that some of his actions towards Ella weren't appropriate for a gentleman of his era.
Ella & Seth: Although I think they are a good match, I also had problems with the way this relationship developed especially considering the time period.
It started well and did a good job of establishing both the characters and the history. It was paced more as a romance than a zombie thriller until towards the end. As I said, I really disliked pretty much everything after the action climax.
HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:
- Ella & Seth working together
- Ella and her father
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: A bit gory for me (but not unexpected, and probably not gory enough for true zombie fans) / The younger stepsister being almost nice (that is just too derivative of other recent Cinderella retellings) / Ella's choice to continue a relationship with Seth when she thinks he's probably engaged to someone else.
While it wasn't bad, I didn't love the narration despite liking the sound of her voice. It felt a bit over enunciated and over emoted to me at times. It's possible that I'm just not used to the way they spoke in that place & time. The English accents sounded good to me, an American, and the speed was typical (I listened on my usual 1.25)
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