Jamie Reviews: Madeleine Roux's "Allison Hewitt is Trapped: A Zombie Novel"
Occasionally it is good to see someone doing something different with an established medium, seeing things from a different perspective, retelling in a different direction, or just focusing on an element that is usually ignored.
Allison Hewitt is Trapped manages this with surprising agility.
While most zombie media focuses purely on the survival side of the theme, Madeleine Roux approaches the story from a different angle and hits up the human interaction side of the whole outbreak process. She also tells the story in a way that separates it from its fellows in much the same way that an axe separates a zombie from its head.
AHiT started life as a serialised story in blog form, inviting others to supply their own snippets of imagination to the story. The audience was kept on the edge of its seat waiting for the next update. The novelisation tells the complete story with the inclusion of the comments that helped the tale progress, and it’s easy to see that, without the assistance of the supporters and their many comments, certain elements would not have come to fruition.
Story wise the plot is the usual survival tale, with narrow escapes, vicious fights with the undead, friends becoming zombies and scrounging supplies to survive another day. There is enough gore and shifts in the plot to keep you interested even if you are just in it for the action.
What really hooked me, though, was the character development. The protagonist – Allison – is emotionally stripped to the bone and put in situations far too dire for most of us to comprehend but, due to the unique perspective, you get this great firsthand view of how desperate situations change us. She is pushed into uncomfortable relationships, forced to act in ways that previously would have been against her nature and generally tortured by the author in a way that I find most entertaining.
This is a novel that hangs perilously close to the Young Adult / Adult borderline. It is often violent, frequently filled with abusive language and includes quite a few sexual references. But then it is a zombie novel so it wasn’t likely to be a PG affair in any case.
Allison Hewitt is Trapped: A Zombie Novel – Madeleine Roux
Published January 18, 2011, by St Martin’s Griffin
Paperback, 352 pages