Review of Wanted: Dead or Undead (The Zombie West Series #1), by Angela Scott

Wanted: Dead or UndeadI downloaded a copy of Angela Scott‘s Wanted: Dead or Undead from the Amazon free list. At the time of posting, it was still free.

Description from Goodreads:
Trace Monroe doesn’t believe in luck. He never has. But when a fiery-headed cowgirl saunters through the saloon doors, wielding shotguns and a know-how for killing the living dead, he believes he just may be the luckiest man alive. Trace wants to join “Red’s” posse, but she prefers to work alone—less messy that way. 

In order to become her traveling companion, Trace has to agree to her terms: no names, no questions, and if he gets bit, he can’t beg for mercy when she severs his brain stem. He agrees, knowing only that Red is the sharpest shooter he’s ever encountered. The fact she’s stunning hasn’t escaped his attention either. 

What he doesn’t know, is that Red has a very good reason to be on top of her game. She not only has the answer for how they can all outlive the plague taking over the wild, wild west, she is the answer.

Review:
I was seriously disappointed in this book. Not because it’s badly written, it’s not. But because it contains so many elements that I dislike in a book. So, while not everyone will share my opinion, as everyone has their own hot buttons, this book was a fail for me.

You see, the blurb led me to believe that the heroine, Red, was a strong, kick-ass, take charge kind of girl. And she was in the beginning, right up until the point at which she started to fall in love. After that, she became progressively weaker, more often confused, more frequently in need of care, less capable of defending herself, drastically more easily moved to tears, more willing to be told what to do as opposed to instruct others and much more likely to make stupid, ill-thought out, life threatening decision based on misinformation and jumped to conclusions that could have been avoided with a mere conversation. She basically became a weepy, Too-Stupid-To-Live girl in love. Why does this happen so often in YA/NA literature?

Now some readers might read this book and think, ‘awww, she found a good man to take care of her, how sweet.’ Me? I read it and wonder where the girl who’d been taking care of herself went. I was MUCH more interested in her than the damsel in distress who was lucky enough to attract Trace’s affection and protection.

The book could have done with a bit more character development. I can forgive its lack of worldbuilding. Zombie novels don’t really need that much to be understandable. But these characters were hollow paper cut outs, with very little depth. The whole thing also felt very anachronistic (if I can use that word to say present things seeped into the past, as opposed to the other way around). Dialogue and personal values felt far too modern, as did money. People gambled in $50-100 increments and at one point someone bought a bag of cornmeal small enough carry for $100. That’s roughly $3,000 according to a handy-dandy online inflation calculator.

Also, the last quarter of the book is painfully cliché and predictable. The premise of the plot is a good one and the set up for the rest of the series seems interesting. And, like I said, the writing (and editing) is pretty good. But I won’t be continuing the series.

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