Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Book Review: Come to Dust by Bracken MacLeod

After Sophie is abandoned by her mother, Mitch takes on the role of looking after his niece. After Sophie tragically dies, his life is flipped upside down. But then across the world, scores of children inexplicably rise from the dead, and Sophie is one of them...

"He knew from experience, it only takes a single night for the whole world to change."
Come to Dust was a bit of a mixed bag, the start was really promising and had a few chilling scenes that would unsettle even the most hardened horror veteran. However, around the middle it becomes a tad stale and drags on for longer than necessary. It also becomes more action heavy, which is not to my personal taste. Towards the end it became more of a crawl to the finish line, than a race, which is always a letdown.

Horror set against a backdrop of grief and loss can be bookish heaven if executed correctly, but this one just fell short of the mark. He does a great job of tapping into every parent's worst fear, the loss of a child. The author has a note towards the back where he explains his inspiration for the story and although it's particularly poignant, it isn't enough to save it. One redeeming factor is McLeod's writing - it's polished, heart-wrenching and effective - however, (fully aware that every good thing is followed by a negative, oops) there was quite a lot of description, too much at times. But at least it was written well!

Another complaint is the use of character names that are too similar - why do authors insist on doing this? (Also looking at you, King). A Mitch and a Mike? Half my time is spent clarifying which character is being referred to and that just takes me out of the story. So to all budding authors: don't do this.

Overall it's a unique take on the "zombie" genre and does have a lot of positives, so it's worth trying to see if it's more to your taste. I'm also very open to reading more of MacLeod's work, as some of his writing was truly breathtaking.

3 stars.


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