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The Zombie West #1
Description⎮Reviewed Mar. 2016
Narrator: Rebecca Roberts
Length: 7h 34m
Publisher: Evolved Publishing⎮2013
4.5 ★ Audiobook⎮ Wanted: Dead or Undead book really surprised me. I don’t think it’s something that I would have picked out for myself, but I was in the mood for something different from what I normally hear. I was actually able to get really into this. I’ve read World War Z and Warm Bodies, and I liked this better than both of them. The Old West setting paired with an apocalyptic zombie outbreak was an interesting and refreshing combination. I’ve never read anything that was set in the Old West, but I found that this setting lent itself quite easily to the storyline, especially the romance.
Two things that Wanted: Dead or Undead thankfully did not have were 1) insta-love and 2) a love triangle. Triangles don’t always bother me, especially if they add something to the story, but insta-love almost always does. I think the greatest thing about this romance was that it most definitely was not love at first sight. Kiss him or kill him? It was a toss up for nearly the whole story and that kept me highly intrigued. Besides, falling in love and doing the “frick frack” (pardon the euphemism, but my grandma reads this blog!) definitely take a back seat when fighting zombies in the Old West. That’s understandable.
I appreciate Angela Scott not forcing a romantic story line on us when there were clearly more important things to be dealt with. Romance doesn’t have to take center stage in order for a story to have worth. I mean, I don’t pick up a book about zombies looking for a Nicholas Sparks-type love story. With that said, I do think the romantic story line added to the stakes. I fell in love with each character separately before they ever fell in love with each other.
The main character’s name is Elizabeth, but she goes by “Red”. I have never known a character called “Red” to be anything short of badass. No euphemism could sum up the sheer amount badass-ery that “Red” encompasses and I can think of no better way to describe her. A few months ago, I started reading a YA zombie book about a teenager that loses her family to a zombie attack wishes to seek revenge, but mostly just winds up wallowing in self-pity. Needless to say, I did not make it past the first few chapters of that one. Elizabeth’s style is very different. She makes it her mission to become the most, well… badass zombie hunter the Old West has ever seen.
Red does indeed have a bit of a “hero-complex”, especially towards the end, but it makes for an interesting dynamic between her and Trace (the love-interest) and an incredibly compelling dynamic between Elizabeth and the traditional views on womanhood held at the time. That alone is worth the price of “admission”! Overall, my complaints were so minor that I can’t even recall a single one now. The 4.5 rating is mostly based on my enjoyment level which, while high, was not at a five star level as others have been. I will say that Wanted: Dead or Undead was an extremely enjoyable listen and probably the best zombie book I’ve heard. Those that have more of a passion for horror and paranormal fiction will likely get even more out of it than I did. I recommend Wanted: Dead or Undead to anyone who watches AMC’s The Walking Dead. My enjoyment level was high enough that I am not only willing, but eager to continue on with the next two installments in the trilogy.
Narration review: I thought Rebecca Roberts’ narration fit the mood of Wanted: Dead or Undead quite appropriately. The tone of her voice had a serious and mature quality to it, which separated it from those frequently used in the Young Adult genre and added to my enjoyment of the listening experience. There was an element of sass in her voice unique to “Red’s” character that I thoroughly appreciated. It distinguished the character in a way that I don’t think would have come across the same way in the physical book and really allowed me to get a firm idea of the character’s personality. She provided excellent vocal distinction for all of the characters, which made the listening experience both more convenient and enjoyable. In particular, I applaud her ability to narrate male voices. As I have learned from previous listening experiences, that is not something that all narrators can do effectively.
I have also learned that the way a narrator voices a character, especially a main character, directly influences my feelings about that character. I do believe that Roberts’ voicing of “Red” had an extremely positive influence on my liking of that character. As I said above, Wanted: Dead or Undead isn’t the type of story I am normally drawing toward and if the story or narration had been any bit less impressive than it was, I could have easily found myself giving up on this. Roberts’ narration was a huge part of what encouraged me to take a risk on this. I’m telling you, no matter how solid a story is, narration can either make it or break it.
The second thing I do when choosing an audiobook or agreeing to review one (after reading the synopsis, of course) is listen to a sample of the narration. In this case, I was intrigued by the plot synopsis, but still a bit undecided about whether or not I should take a chance on it. Hearing the sample of Roberts’ narration was the deciding factor for me. I know that enjoyable narrators can be hard to come by, so I always jump at the chance to hear one! ♣︎
➜ This audiobook was graciously gifted to me by its narrator, Rebecca Roberts, in exchange for a review containing my honest thoughts and opinions. Thanks, Rebecca!