My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Dead: The Ugly Beginning is the first in a series of zombie novels by TW Brown. This book really grabbed me from the first page. The writing is very polished from sentence to sentence. The dialogue is spot on and the action-packed scenes are gripping and pack a punch. TW Brown is a writer that has all the tools to be a great storyteller.
The story is a collage of classic post-apocalyptic zombie yarns. Dead: The Ugly Beginning doesn’t desperately seek originality, but is far from just a re-hash of old plots either. The characters and their stories are unique and original, but the world created by TW Brown feels immediately like the familiar world of a Romero film. The novel is full of tastefully gruesome moments. Enough to horrify any reader, but not go over the edge.
Based on the quality of the writing alone, this book would be a 5 star novel.
While I understand it is a series, so I didn’t expect everything to be resolved, I still found myself baffled at the end of the book. It left me with more questions than answers, particularly what do any of the characters in this book have to do with each other? The stories are so unconnected it’s rather hard to consider this book a novel as opposed to a book of short stories. There is not much in the way of a narrative arc for most of the characters.
I could have still rated this a four star book, but the character development was also not as strong as it could have been. There are some intriguing characters in this book, but most of their motives, struggles, etc. still aren’t very clear by the end of the novel. So, in spite of some outstanding chops in the writing, I give this one a very high three stars. I think TW Brown is easily capable of writing an incredible novel with time. Definitely an author to keep your eye on down the road.