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Friday, January 24, 2014

Chasers by James Phelan

My mother chose today's book :) I showed  her the covers for a few of the stories I wanted to write about and she said "this one looks interesting". So everyone, I present today's book

Chasers by James Phelan
Jesse is just a normal Australian at a UN Youth Ambassadors camp in New York City during his break from school. Everything is going great until he and the rest of the students in his camp are involved in a subway accident. When Jesse wakes up he finds that nothing is as it was before. Him and three friends must fight to find other survivors while staying clear of the Chasers that want to drink their blood.

This is a great post-apocalyptic novel! When you think of "the end of the world" you think of one thing: Zombies. That is what this novel is about. A world that is suddenly in chaos where survivors fight against creatures that look like your teachers or your friends or former lovers. Phelan creates a new world from the one we already live in. He takes iconic buildings in New York City and changes them to fit his story. For example: 30 Rockefeller Center does not actually have apartment buildings located inside. However in Phelan's world, it does. And it works. The novel would not have been the same without the apartments in the same building as all the food.

Now let's talk about these Chasers. So rightly named because they literally chase anyone who is not one of them so they can drink their blood. In a true zombie storyline the Chasers don't really know what their doing. All they know is that they are so incredibly thirsty that they co gregate around bodies of water and use blood to quench their thirst. The Chasers begin to learn however. They adapt to their surroundings and begin to regain their previous knowledge. At the end of the novel you see two separate forms of Chasers: those that are evolving and those that are staying exactly how they are. This leaves a question for the sequel to answer: Is there a cure for being a Chaser? 

Now I absolutely have to talk about the ending. MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD! READ ONLY IF YOU DARE. The ending of this novel is the sole reason I think so highly of this book. The final pages reveal that Jesse was always the sole survivor of the subway crash. His three friends never made it out alive. They were figments of his imagination used as a coping mechanism for the apocalypse. It. Was. All. In. His. Head. All the conversations. He pretended not to notice that the majority of the food was not eaten. The cars were never checked because there was no one to check them. Jesse recreated his friends in his mind. This ending blew my mind. I am able to predict many different plot twists in novels but this was not one I saw coming. 

Just because of the ending iI give Chasers a 6/10. The story line could have used some work overall but the ending was gold. I did attempt to read the sequel Survivor but I couldn't get through it. The beginning was just too slow and the characters were not what was needed for the plot. Sadly I don't have a lot of questions that were not answered during the first installment and that could be one reason why the sequel was not as good as it could have been. However, I do recommend Chasers and if you have a talent for getting through boring novels you might finish the series. 

-Shawnee Smith

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