Friday, November 7, 2014

The Becoming: Under Siege review

    I'm a big fan of The Becoming series. It is a series about three survivors of a zombie outbreak: Ethan, Cade, and Brandt who are unusually badass. One is a cop, one is an Israeli Defense Force sniper, and the third is a Marine. The second book introduced the character of Remy who, if not as well trained, made up for it in sheer enthusiasm for killing zombies.

    In Revelations, our heroes managed to escape from renegade government agent Alicia Day and discovered a community of survivors. More importantly, they successfully synthesized a cure for the Michaluk Virus. This seemed like an excellent stopping point for the series but Jessica Meigs manages to pick it up with new problems. The cure has side-effects and they're unwilling to test it at random on "living" zombies.

    I like the divide the author makes between zombies who are physically alive and thus curable as well as those who are walking corpses. Not much progress is made toward curing the living zombies and the characters don't even discuss the prospect but it's something I haven't seen before. I hope we'll see more "cured" zombies in the future and how people react to these figures.

    Ethan has been recovering from his condition for almost six months, which has destroyed his relationship with Remy. I like this development as too few authors are willing to risk breaking up a popular pairing. There's no chance for reconciliation and I like the prospective new love-interests for both. IMHO, Remy was always held down by her relationship with Ethan. I think her new found freedom will give Remy the opportunity to develop into a protagonist on par with the other three.

    Cade is eight months pregnant with Brandt's baby and chomping at the bit to get back into action. While I hate to see any action girl in fiction sidelined, watching her struggle with Brandt going off into danger where she can't join him is great writing. Cade is overcompensating for this by becoming a controlling and aggressive leader, which is a nice extrapolation of where her character might go.

    We don't get much time in their new home before the tiny town faces a threat from a herd of six hundred zombies. Honestly, I think this is a little on the low side. There's seven billion human beings on the planet with more appearing every day. Surely, there's a lot more than six hundred zombies shambling about in just your typical "herd."

    Michaluk zombies are smarter than normal shamblers, however, being capable of reasoning and strategizing to some extent. So, a smaller number being more dangerous is probably realistic. It was good to get back to the zombies being a very dangerous enemy and not able to be slaughtered at will. The book also sets up a branch of the US government as an enemy, hinting at its continued existence. Why they're interested in Brandt is, as yet, unclear but I look forward to finding out the answer.

    Newcomers Dominic and Kimberly are not yet as developed as the main three but I liked them well enough to not want them to become zombie chow. Jessica Meigs tends to develop characters slowly so I'm curious as to what they were like before the apocalypse.

    Right now, they're not much more than prospective love-interests but I think that will change soon. The sources of tension in their relationships due to Remy once shooting Dominic and Kimberly's sister dying because of Ethan's bad calls are good sources of drama too.

    Under Siege is probably The best of The Becoming books so far. The characters have a depth, interaction, and development which they haven't been able to display until now. I always thought of this series as one of my favorites but this is a more than solid entry. It is a great entry and I believe fans of the series are in for a real treat.


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