Remember back in high school your weird friend that always sat by herself in the courtyard during lunch scribbling in her notebook? And how one day you were curious enough to ask what she was writing? She said, "A zombie story. I'm almost done. You want to read it?" You didn't want to hurt her feelings so you said, "Sure." The next day she asked you, "What did you think?"
Now, I'm not suggesting that Ms. Hocking is a weird kid or anything. I think it's cool that she's found success writing stories. It's a pretty amazing feat for a self-pubber, so that's good. But all the while reading Hollowland
I got the feeling that I was back in high school reading a high school kid's fantasy.
I won't even start with the typos and, even worse, incorrect language issues (accept vs. except, etc.). Well, I guess I did start with those, but I needn't go on about it. Suffice to say they were conspicuous. Also, I hate the phrase "come with" vs. "come with me." Hocking seems to love
that phrase. The prose wasn't polished, but it was functional, in a very loose sense. I could roll with it, for the most part.
But the characters were total groaners. Everyone--everyone
-- was an idiot, including Remy, the protagonist, who is somehow some kind of badass veteran zombie killer at the ripe old age of nineteen. She must have something going on though because Lazlo, the rock star (!) managed to fall in love with her. Lazlo was an idiot and, I thought, kind of a creep, always trying to cozy up to Remy despite the fact that was probably the last thing she'd want to do, her being covered with cuts and bruises and a zombie bite and all. Harlow was a super idiot. She didn't seem to be at all creeped out by the cult leader Korech. I would have thought a thirteen-year-old would have more sense than that. Speaking of Korech, what a name. Does the name remind you of any other famous cult leaders in recent history?
The award for the most ridiculous character goes to Ripley, the zombie eating lion. Hocking must have been high when she got the idea to have Remy befriend a lion. That was so left field. That was some domesticated lion. Not that it wouldn't be cool to have a battle cat on your side, but if you're going to have one why not let Remy ride her around while she's annihilating zombies? That would have been just as
I won't necessarily discount Hocking based on this one story, this being the first of hers I have read, but it doesn't bode well. Not the worst
zombie story I've read, but that's not saying a whole lot.
One thing I did learn was this: "Zombie blood is hella gross."