Review of Vaxxers by Brea Behn

Seventeen-year-old Ace is running out of time. Any day now, he will become a Flesh Faller. Just another teen fallen in the seventy years since it began. With each generation, hope slips further for humanity. Then Ace’s long lost father returns with a message. He may have found a cure. Ace leaves the safety of his hometown of Lakelan to travel through many dangers. Facing gangs who sell Vaxxers, Flesh Fallers and waiting to turn any day… will he find a cure in time? Will he find a cure at all? Find out, in Vaxxers.

The premise for Behn’s zombies in her novel Vaxxers felt stretched. Choosing this medium for spreading awareness of Chiari Malformation though was quite a surprise. (It certainly made me do my research.) There was a lot of word confusion in the novel as well as grammar errors that really brought the reader out of that world, and for all of these reasons above, it did lose stars. The progress of the story also seemed to be largely driven by testosterone and convenience. For example, the main protagonist, Ace, is close to turning eighteen, and becoming a teenager is the supposed trigger for turning into a zombie at the start of the novel. With this in mind, he notices that he is the only person of his age in a small community (something that has obvious answers provided the backstory that the reader has up to this point) just before the community leader explains that he will be locked up for the night in order to protect everyone. In general, Ace is an angry person, and many of the actions that he takes in the book are motivated by temper, like storming into a neighboring city where he meets a few of the lesser characters in the novel. Things like this happen periodically throughout the book, and again, the convenience of it is a bit disorienting. Outside of that, there is comic relief in the fact that parents name their children after technology from “Before”. Ace is short for Acer, like the computer, and Acer’s brother’s name is Ap, short for Apple. There is a lot of excitement, and the scenarios move quickly. Similar to The Walking Dead, there is just about enough time to get attached to a character before the character is gone again by one literary mechanism or another. By and large, Behn has talent, and the writing is solid even if the story arc could use work. By the end of the book, it was worth the read. I would call it a good snowy weekend project and give it three stars.

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