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Jam (Yahtzee Croshaw): A Joint Review

CleverHandle’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Penguinhegemony’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
P: I found Jam to be a unique take on the standard apocalypse genre thriller. The setup is unique and playful and deserves praise for its creativity and execution. The character aspect suffered a little with a protagonist that could have been more intriguing and the supporting cast seemed a bit stilted, but overall this weakness didn’t detract much from the overall quality of the book. I would definitely recommend Jam to fans of the genre looking for a bit of fun, or strawberries, to go along with their apocalypse.

CH: I’ve said before that I’m no fan of zombies; here, we have the standard zombie-apocalypse setup sans undead; instead, man-eating strawberry jam quite suddenly takes over Australia. Like most of my favorite apocalypse stories, the tone is humorous, but Croshaw doesn’t use that as an excuse to shy away from exploring humanity at its worst. I agree with Penguinhegemony that the characters were rather weak, but I found this to be a bigger flaw than he did. I also found the plot to be a bit weak or forced in places, sometimes in an attempt to fit in humor. Overall, though, this was an enjoyable book, and it’s made me want to check out Croshaw’s first work, Mogworld.

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Day By Day Armageddon (JL Bourne)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is a day by day chronicle of a zombie apocalypse from the perspective of a naval pilot writing in his journal.  Overall, the effect is quite good, although much of the suspense is removed due to knowing that the protagonist will survive due to the existence of later journal entries.  If the lack of suspense doesn’t ruin a zombie apocalypse story for you, though, this is quite good.  The protagonist gets into a series of genre-consistent, believable, interesting situations and has fairly ingenious methods to escape from them.  It also abandons the tired cliche of devoting most of the novel to banal human-on-human interpersonal squabbles and has most of the emphasis on human vs zombie interactions, so if you are hoping for a discourse on the human psychology when faced with insurmountable odds you will be disappointed.  Overall, I would definitely recommend this book, even though I realize its treatment of the zombie apocalypse might turn off fans of the genre who are most attracted to the elements of horror and the fragility of human psyche.
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Magic Time: Angelfire (Marc Scott Zicree)

1 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
In this miserable wreck of a fantasy novel, a band of companions wander a post-magical-apocalypse United States searching for the cause of the disaster and hoping to return things to how they were before.  This is the second in a series, and,  I assume entirely filler for a larger storyline.  The book is overall uninteresting in every detail, ranging from the characters to the setting.  This felt like a chore to read all the way through, and I would not recommend it to anyone.
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