Sunday, 14 December 2014

'The Queen of Zombie Hearts' by Gena Showalter

Date finished: 14 December 2014

Series: White Rabbit Chronicles, #3

Rating: 4/5 stars

I think Gena Showalter needs to be bought a castle on her very own island for Christmas this year.

Not solely because her series is just so freaking incredible, but also because I think she has to be just a little bit crazy to be able to imagine such a phenomenal, heartbreaking and gut-wrenching plot about something so gruesome – and then be able to pull it off so majestically. And honestly, given her mind was able to draw up the bloodthirsty, venomous Ali that emerged just after halfway through The Queen of Zombie Hearts, then I do not want to know what goes through the author’s head when one happens to get on her bad side…

Few authors are able to pull off writing about supernatural creatures (given that shortly after the success of Twilight most people jumped on the YA-fiction bandwagon to try their luck at vampires, angels and werewolves), and even fewer are able to pull off turning their often-bizarre ideas into a series. By abandoning the popular, newly-romanticized ideas of tall, dark, supernatural strangers, Showalter was able to indulge her readers in a gripping series that exploited the blood and gore of having to deal with the undead. Pair this with a lovable, hilarious and seemingly too-real protagonist, dry and witty humour, and the absence of a clich├ęd love story, and it’s pretty damn easy to see why her books are so popular with teens sick of the soppy “vampire love triangle” nonsense.

Not that there isn’t plenty of romance in her books – undoubtedly in The Queen of Zombie Hearts Showalter couldn’t help but give in to popular demand and supply her readers with melt-in-your-mouth romance between the constantly oh-so-complicated Ali and Cole. (Honestly, it was necessary. The trauma of their relationship in the first two books of the series was nauseating, and I’m sure other readers will agree that we needed to see that they would both finally be maybe happy… for a little while at least.) But the author punctuates the almost soppy love story with hardcore, exhilarating combat scenes that leave the reader’s mind whirling.

I wouldn’t say that The Queen of Zombie Hearts was my favourite book in the series, but it was definitely an amazing read. Also, Gena Showalter managed to break my heart only a little bit by the time I’d finished the book – another success, I’d imagine, that she can add to her list (after Allegiant I didn’t think I’d ever be able to trust another author again, so Showalter has my gratitude for supplying me with a halfway-decent ending). The White Rabbit Chronicles will forever remain very high up on my list of recommendations for YA fiction.

Side note: Alice Bell (a.k.a. Ali) is by far the best protagonist in YA fiction ever. She's just too funny, and doesn't spend all her time trying not to be the damsel in distress, she kicks butt and saves people without even trying to "prove herself" like so many other female characters in teen literature. She's dedicated, loyal, fierce and determined, and although she has flaws, she is able to acknowledge them in order to become a better person. She developed so much throughout the series, and I really admire her as a fictional (*sob*) character.

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