This is one of those books that I can’t tell if I liked it or not. The genesis idea is interesting; swine flu vaccines mutate and turn people into crazy monsters. I guess my first point of mild contention comes with the whole sleeping-at-night-to-regenerate. Instead adding another layer of fear, it just sort of made me think the author was maybe trying to hard to give his monsters some invincibility. you have raging crazy people who want to eat you–that’s enough to scare the shit out of anybody. Why do they have to be so hard to kill, for such a vague reason?
Second thing that bugged me. Everybody in this book has a gun. Everybody in this book, save for a few minor characters, has extensive experience with guns. Cops. Soldiers. Hunters. More hunters. More soldiers. Where are the regular people? There are insanely vast amounts of bullets. Everybody can shoot pretty much on target, except, oddly, the one dude who should be able to shoot a target–the patrol cop.
There are no real female characters in this book, save for a doomed secretary, a doomed daughter, a doomed wife, a meek nurse, and two hot lesbians who appear in one scene. Sausage-fest, totally. Every character with a vagina, save for those mentioned above (and a straggler who appears at the end of the book and serves no other purpose and a half-hearted attempt at evoking sympathy) dies.
I couldn’t sympathize with the main character very much. He went from determined father, to grieving dad, to heartless militant in no time flat. The blurb promises some dark character development, all in the name of love for his family, but Matt pretty much stayed on an even keel the whole story. He never did anything that would impress me.
I did, however, feel that the author handled the post-apocalyptic situations well. There will be assholes who demand fealty. Violence. Power struggles. I ended up wondering if I could survive in a lawless society, where the rules are created by those who have the most firepower and minions.
I don’t know if I would recommend this book to a friend. The writing is sort of flat. Over-edited, might be a good way to describe it. There are long conversations between characters planning schedules and discussing how many bullets, what kind of bullets, and so on. For looooong stretches of pages, nothing happens.
Mad Swine may not be the best book I’ve read over the last few days, but it was definitely interesting.