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The Harvesting (2014)

by Melanie Karsak(Favorite Author)
4 of 5 Votes: 5
Clockpunk Press
review 1: THE HARVESTING is an interesting take on the Zombie Apocalypse. Layla Petrovich is living in Washington when she receives an urgent call from her grandmother to come home immediately.Packing up her precious collection of medieval weaponry, Layla hurries back to Hamletville, New York. Her grandmother had raised her ever since her mother ran off with the town drunk. Her grandmother has "the sight" and never asks Layla for anything. If her grandmother says something must be done, it must be done.She has Layla assist in boarding up the windows of their home and a fence has been installed around the property. Obviously something big is about to happen. It does not take long before Layla discovers that Grandma Petrovich was right to be worried. A virus has quickly spread through... more the entire country and people are dying. The virus has a 100% mortality rate.The problem is, people are not staying dead. And they seem to turn violent when they reanimate. Layla must protect the town's small population. She has been given a gift by her grandmother that now allows her to have the sight as well.Layla's skills with both blades and guns will come in handy and she must protect the innocent at all cost.Meanwhile, she must also face the man who broke her heart many years ago. There are multiple twists and turns in this story and many supernatural creatures will put in an appearance. It is a unique story and is very much worth reading.Readers will enjoy Layla's fighting spirit and her strong personality. This woman is no shrinking violet.The only issue I had with this book was that the copy I received had some editing errors, especially in the first few chapters. There were instances of words missing and some typos. For example: Layla puts on a JACKED instead of a JACKET.If not for these editing errors/typos, this book would have received a 5 star rating. As is, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I look forward to the next book in the series to see where Layla and her band of survivors end up.
review 2: EDIT: My first review of this was more a rant than a review just because I was SO angry at the book at the time:It does truly baffle me that this book has 4/5 stars. I do not find the writing, the plot, or the characters up to par with what I would consider a 4 star book, hence my 1 star rating. Now here's a breakdown of why I personally think it's bad. There will be some SPOILERS but if you're looking at a One-Star review you must suspect there's something bad, wouldn't you want to know what it is?The writing: In a couple of sentences certain words were entirely omitted and I had to fill in the blanks of what the author was trying to say. I found this extremely annoying as it constantly removed me from the story and I concentrated more on the grammar than the content. Then there's just the writing itself. I wish I could go back and count how many times the author used the phrase "I rose," as part of the paragraph. That's it. "I sat down. I rose." Why? It just leaves for stagnant and clipped writing that does nothing for the story. The author also had trouble describing action sequences. What should have been exciting, action filled fights between survivors and the undead really fell flat with a basic overview of what happens. It would have been nice to get a bit more detail, to actually see our protagonist kicking butt instead of just being told that she did. It was more boring than riveting, and that's sad coming from a fantasy genre book.Then there's the content. The main words I would use to describe this book are "convenient" and "too much." First, let's point out all the convenient happenings:Isn't it wonderful that in a book about the zombie apocalypse the main character is a weapons expert? And not just knowledge but using them? And even though she states she's not comfortable using a gun, man, she gets a lot of head shots "right between the eyes."Convenient. She's back in her hometown where her ex-boyfriend is with his new wife, and lucky for the main character the wife gets bit and dies in the first attack. Convenient! (and predictable)Oh, but when the ex-boyfriend (Ian) turns out to be a self-absorbed moron enter in Jamie his brother. You know, that kind of character that was there all along in the back story but the girl just never noticed before. Well she's noticing him now and if it isn't love at first sight? (You get the sense Jamie loved her all along).Convenient! Towards the end of the book, Ian the ex gets sick, but not with the zombie virus, no-no that would have made sense. Instead, he gets cancer (a true "Wait, what?" moment). But let's look at this a different way: now, the only character who had issue with Layla and Jamie dating is sick and terminal. So he went from a mere thorn in the side of their romance to...well, a cancer patient with only a few weeks left to live.If that isn't convenience, I don't know what is.Then there's the second issue of "too much."1) The characters. There were too many of these random town folk and only 2 stood out to me besides our love triangle. First is Jeff (only recognizable because he's a bigger and dumber jerk than Ian). This is the guy who during the zombie-freaking-apocalypse wants to blast his metal music while driving around a field in his truck. I know people make dumb choices during a crisis but really? Is there anyone who is THAT stupid?The second is Buddie and he's memorable because he's running around with a bow and arrow (archaic, but awesome) and is actually smart(er than Layla our heroine). He was the only one out of all the townsfolk to recognize the "rescuers" are actually vampires (which for me wasn't difficult either). But he was a cool secondary character that was actually worth something BUT was unfortunately introduced around page 200 and only had a handful of scenes. At least in all of his scenes either his prowess with a bow or with his mind was demonstrated.2) Here's probably the biggest point for why it's "too much." It's not enough that this book has zombies and psychics and forest spirits (???) but all of a sudden vampires show up and want to turn cancer-stricken Ian and kidnap these two kids and eat them? Turn them? I don't know. But it's like Melanie Karsak didn't know where to go with all of the zombies, and psychics and forest spirits (Oh My!) and then thought, well vampires, that makes sense to have. Except it doesn't. In fact, it comes way out of left field. Apparently they've been around all this time and were just waiting for an opportunity for world domination. Huh? Vampires. Real vampires (not that Twilight crap). I'm sorry, real evil vampires don't just sit around and wait for the zombie apocalypse to make their move. They're attacking, they're turning people or enslaving them, they're EVIL! Ugh!It wasn't just that there were vampires in this book and it felt like overkill of content. But the story shifted and went in a whole new direction once they showed up.So, the vampires get about a third of the book devoted to them taking Layla, Jamie, Ian and the town back to this hotel on an island. It felt completely disengaged from the previous part of the story with the zombies. In fact, once they're on the island the zombies are barely given a thought. Well they were mentioned once. The main characters think to themselves "stay here with vampires? or go home with zombies?" So what once was the main evil, the big bad, is now nothing more than a plot device.Those were my main issues but I still have loads more. So this part is the nitpicking section of this review.NITPICKING:1) The forest spirits. No. I'm sorry. What? Literally: random deer leading her to fairies dressed in white gowns that gave her cryptic messages about her next course of action. Personally, why not just have the "psychic" bit play out like a real psychic? Why can't she just "see" in a premonition an attack on her friends, or a breach in the perimeter and be able to use that as a way to save the day? Almost like a sixth sense. It would have been easier to work into the story and not felt so displaced.2) Necrophilia...really? We have to get some sort of vision of Ian being evil and doing a dead person? Is that in there to drive it home that he's bad? Is it in there for shock value? Because honestly, all it did was just make me feel awkward. 3) Layla's hissy fit. When she asks the town not to go with the vampires everyone thinks she's nuts (which was rude considering she saved their lives but I digress). But what does she do? She says "screw 'em" and goes and has a temper tantrum. Really? Our strong, heroine simply asked them, they refused so she complains? She doesn't, oh I don't know, try harder?4) Why can't these people just TALK about important things? Everything's a secret. Grandma didn't tell Layla about the impending apocalypse, or her future psychic powers. Layla didn't tell the town the rescuers were really vampires until it was too late (cause they were there!). Ian didn't tell Jamie it bothered him that he'd try to date his ex he clearly had feelings for. Like, this is still real life right? People have conversations and explain things am I wrong? It just frustrated me as a reader that instead of screaming out in fear because of the zombies, or the vampires, I'm yelling "Oh come on moron! Just tell him what's going on!"5) Ugh, these random spirits! Just as Layla is wondering what to do, how can she save everyone and get them away from the hotel...? A deus-ex-machina fox spirit shows her there's an island only a swim's length away that vampires cannot set foot on. Convenient! (Man, that word keeps popping up). It was just too ridiculous.6) The ending. Apprently on "Sunny Island," where vampires can't set foot else they BURN, there's a portal to take them to another world. So of course the idiots go through a random portal they find...aaaaaaand... Nothing. That was it. End of the book. Roll credits.I get it you want to use a cliffhanger to use tension and make readers want to read the second novel. But because of the aforementioned reasons I won't be doing that. So I like to think they all just died.So in short (even though this is super long) I really don't understand how this book has 4/5 stars. I know I ripped on it in my first review, and I kind of still am just with more sophistication (I hope) but that's because I feel the masses need to know what they're truly getting into. When so many people find bad books good it gets to me. I really can't recommend The Harvesting to anyone looking for a good read. less
Reviews (see all)
Very good book. I was a little thrown off by the new developments at the end but really liked it :)
A little different than the usual Walking Dead.
One of my favorite books of 2014!! #LOVEDit
Not bad, it was a Short quick read.
Review to come as part of blog tour
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