Dec 16, 2013

Red Hill by Jamie McGuire Review

Red Hill by Jamie McGuire
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Atria Books; 368 pages
When the world ends, can love survive?

For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone means fighting for tomorrow is an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.

When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?

Red Hill grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go until its stunning conclusion. This is #1 New York Times bestselling author Jamie McGuire at her unforgettable best.

Jamie McGuire's writing is addicting.  Plain and simple.  No question about it.  When I first read Beautiful Disaster, I found myself going back and re reading my favorite parts weeks after I finished reading it.  So I was very excited to pick up her latest read Red Hill.  I admit that I put it off for a few months because I am a wimp.  I don't do well with horror.  Horror movies give me nightmares, and make me look over my shoulder constantly.  But I am a fan of the Walking Dead and with the show going on a recent hiatus, I found myself with a major zombie withdrawal.  And Red Hill was a perfect read to give me my zombie fix!

Red Hill has an interesting take on zombies.  Specifically how your average human reaction to the zombie apocalypse would go down in the 21st century.  A lot of times when you watch a zombie movie, or read a book the apocalypse would take humans by surprise.  No one knows what to do because it's not expected, and the human population quickly is overrun.  But the characters in Red Hill aren't.  They know exactly what do.  It's how I imagine I would react in a zombie apocalypse.  You know the basics.  Gather your loved ones.  Get out of the city.  Hoard food.  Stock up on weapons.  Seek shelter, preferably underground.  The three main characters of Red Hill Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda pretty much attempt this right away.  Miranda even says, "I knew I wasn't dying on day one of the fucking zombie apocalypse."  That line had me laughing quite a bit.

I thought having 3 point of views was a good thing.  Especially in the beginning of the novel.  First there's Scarlet who was separated from her young daughters and will stop at nothing to find them.  Then there's Nathan who tries to seek shelter for himself and his young daughter Zoe.  Finally Miranda, your average college student who just wants to have fun with her boyfriend and friends.  At first I wondered how this would work.  Having 3 distinct characters with seemingly no relation to each other, but I quickly discovered that each were pretty much on the same path.  And it was interesting reading how each person solved each obstacle to get to safety.

Jamie definitely did her zombie research.  But there is nothing about these zombies that differ from other zombies in pop culture.  With the exception of the interesting names for the zombies, (Teds and shufflers) they really aren't unique.  But that isn't really a bad thing, sometimes you really don't need unnecessary descriptions of something that you already know.  But this book is definitely a tamed version.  Not too much gruesome details.  Which I liked.  I can get very squeamish, and seeing something on tv is definitely different than reading it in a book.  Reading descriptions about blood and guts isn't very appealing to me.

I was enjoying this book.  Like really enjoying this book.  Nathan was definitely a favorite character of mine.  I was attracted to how loving and caring he was.  Scarlet's determination made me want her on my team if an apocalypse ever occurred.  Miranda wasn't really a favorite, but I enjoyed reading her story.  Until I got to the end.  The ending of this book really didn't sit well with me.  I think I just found it to be too unrealistic.  I don't want to say too much, because it would spoil it.  And luckily for me, it didn't affect my overall feelings for the book.  The first 3/4 were really enjoyable to read and addicting.  And just because the ending didn't sit well with me, doesn't mean it will be the same for others.  So I would definitely still recommend it to readers.

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