Erryn reviews Kick at the Darkness(Kick at the Darkness, Book #1) by Keira Andrews, published May 26, 2015 by KA Books 274 pages. The audiobook was released May 12, 2020, is 8 hrs and 43 mins and is narrated by Tristan James. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read the book: Keira Andrews? Werewolves and zombies? I’m in.
To live through the zombie apocalypse, they have to survive each other first.
College freshman Parker Osborne is having the worst day ever. He humiliated himself trying to pick up a cute guy, he hasn’t made any friends at school, and his stupidly hot jerk of a TA gave him a crappy grade on his paper. He’s going to drop Adam Hawkins’ film class and start fresh tomorrow after he’s had a good sulk.
But Parker’s about to find out what a bad day really looks like – if he can survive the night.
A virus is unleashed, transforming infected people into zombielike killers. After these quick and deadly creepers swarm campus, Parker only escapes thanks to Adam swooping him onto the back of his trusty motorcycle. Now they’re on the run – and stuck with each other.
When they’re not bickering, they’re fighting off the infected in a bloody battle for survival. Their only hope is to head east to Parker’s family, but orphaned Adam has a secret he’s not sure Parker will accept: He’s a werewolf. Can they trust each other enough to find some light in these dark days?
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This book was written back in 2015. At the time I’m sure there was a market for zombie books with werewolves. Today, though, listening to the book, I couldn’t help but be drawn into the story in a way I’m not sure I would have been otherwise. I freely admit this book is the first zombie book I’ve read. What took me so long? Wasn’t a topic that interested me. Why now? Keira Andrews is an author whose books I really love so I was willing to try something new.
How prescient this book has turned out to be. Yes, a zombification of the entire world is a bit beyond credulity – all those people all at once? Not terribly believable. But a virus that tears across the world and fells millions if not billions of people? Hello, today that’s exactly our lived collective experience. In the book’s world, almost everyone is infected and only those able to escape big cities and head for rural areas are able to survive. And I have to say the zombification process, as detailed in the book, is pretty disgusting. From the bulging eyes to the teeth chattering that sounds like cicadas on crack, the imagery was pretty vivid. And nausea-inducing. But that’s the point, right? These creatures may still be alive but aren’t living with consciousnesses. They are attracted to the light and like to feed on other humans. Not a life most of us aspire to.
Before all this happens, Parker is an entitled Stanford student. He’s studying economics with an eye to becoming a corporate lawyer. His whole life is planned out and getting a ‘C’ in a paper for a cinema class doesn’t fall into that neat little plan. He challenges his TA, Adam, but that gets him nowhere. In a huff, he decides to drop the class and then he takes a nap. When he wakes up the whole world has gone to hell. A chance encounter with Adam has Parker leaning on the man in a way he’d have never predicted. Suddenly they have only each other for survival.
This is a decently long book with plenty of action as well as moments of rest and reflection. Parker finds himself attracted to Adam but, believing the man is straight and has a girlfriend, says nothing. In the end, Adam admits not only that he’s gay but that he’s into Parker. Then there’s the whole werewolf thing whose rules I don’t entirely understand but hey, this is fiction, so I just decided to roll with it.
From pandemics declared by the CDC to asymptomatic carriers to immunity to vaccines, I felt like the book could be talking about the coronavirus instead of some made up bioterrorism weapon in a work of fiction. A little too close to reality in some ways, but well-grounded in the realm of fiction in others. This book made me think in a way I don’t think I would have five years ago and isn’t that the point? Good fiction makes us reflect on our own lives. From the ridiculous to the suddenly possible.
At the heart of this book is a love story. Two men thrown together with almost nothing in common find themselves not only attracted to each other physically, but becoming closer emotionally. Rational Adam finds a way to ground Parker while Parker’s persistence keeps them moving forward. The goal is to get across the country and I kept wondering what would happen when they got there. I found out and that set up the next book brilliantly. And it happens to be out on audio now so, yay!
I always enjoy Tristan James’ narration and he did a great job again on this one. He suited the two men perfectly and I’m glad to see he’ll be helming the next book. Hang on tight because this book is a bumpy ride while I suspect the next one will be rough seas.
9.5/10 pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars