March 7, 2017
In the last week, I’ve been drowned, I’ve been stabbed. Sprayed with bear repellent (hyper mace). Torn apart. Chewed on. Shot. God, I’ve been shot so many times. Nearly had my arm ripped off.
And I also survived. I saved some lives. I wriggled and fought to escape. I rewired things. Plus, I found the Easter egg.
What I survived was PATHOGENS, a choose-your-own-adventure book at the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, in which a live-forever cure really works! Only you turn into a flesh-craving ghoul within a handful of hours. It is not, strictly speaking, a novel, but rather a half-dozen long choose-your-own style short stories. Short as in longish.
The pacing of the short, intense chapters is sometimes frantic, sometimes wonderfully slow, as with the old man’s tales of ancient Japan. Of the tone of each one, often it’s terrified and dark, but just as often it’s varied (peaceful calm for Tesshu or pissed at the world, for Cooper) which is the second best feature of the book.
The best, clearly, is your app’s ability to rewind: pick your bloody infected chewed-apart bullet-riddled corpse off the floor by pressing the back button several times, and choose the course that helps you live longer. Clicking is far superior to flipping through pages to find out what happens next.
Now for the bad: not too much here, actually. AIA reviews are based mainly on grammatical and typographical errors, and while I can speak to probably 90% of the book (one typo found) it wasn’t possible to read through every mini-chapter perfectly. The book did sport a few clichéd bunions: (the way the cookie crumbled, turn a blind eye,) but not enough to snub out a star.
Overall, if you’re into zombies, this one is good. If you’re all about choosing your own adventure, this one is great. Just don’t worry about getting blinded by super mace, or cutting yourself to the bone and bleeding out. These things can un-happen.
PS- this book contains references to sexual assault… you know, the grizzled, unwashed guys with the guns herding the womenfolk into pens for breeding. If you’re not cool with that, you may want to give this book a pass, or just don’t read Cooper’s storyline. 5 stars.