Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Breadwinner: All Good Things review

    The Breadwinner Trilogy is a zombie series centered around a pair of survivors from disparate social classes who manage to find a luxury hotel which offers a brief respite from the struggle for life which defines the apocalypse.

    The books have numerous shocking swerves, unexpected deaths, and surprising twists. I admit, I would have preferred it to remain centered around the character of Samson and dealt more with his desire to serve as the "Breadwinner" for his fellow survivors but All Good Things wraps up most of the series plotlines in a satisfactory manner. We also get to see Veronica grow to become a heroine of quality.

    The premise is the group has a psychopath amongst then. Michelle is a character who is over-the-top but still a lot of fun. Michelle enjoys killing, relates to people only through what they can do for her, and racks up a large body count despite being part of a small group which doesn't like her. Despite this, she's entertaining and funny, which is worth its weight in silver.

    Much of the book is devoted to Michelle's activities and how they drive the group apart. This starts when Michelle kills a mentally unstable member of the group by throwing her over the side of the hotel. The group doesn't suspect Michelle but the act still backfires on her. Their friend's "suicide." inspires the group to try and do something with their luxurious lives by seeking out other survivors to take them in.

    All Good Things has a lot of good character development for its smaller role cast memners. We find out a great deal about survivors who had previously only been names. One is deeply religious, his brother is an atheist, another is suicidal without his love, and another is at her breaking point but no one notices because she's the psychologist. There's a several good bits like Michelle's poor attempts at seduction and a subversively cynical display of "humanity" where she helps a prisoner commit suicide.

    I was pleased by the books handling of religion as you rarely see anyone but crazy people have religious beliefs in the zombie apocalypse. The fact a man has gone deeper into his faith while others have lost it is only lightly touched upon but I found myself enjoying the contrast. I can't say I'm terribly fond of the villains, though. Neo-Nazis who keep female survivors as sex slaves are about as stock as you can get into the zombie apocalypse. Michelle, herself, is a far better villain and I find her silly as well as terrifying.

    Another flaw in the book is carried over from the first sequel, which is that Stevie Kopas never bothers to explain who any of these people are or how they relate to new readers. As such, this book is best read by people who are familiar with the previous two and isn't a good jumping-on point.

    Despite this, I think this is an effective end to the franchise. Those who enjoyed the previous Breadwinners will enjoy this entry. The ending was really well-written, fooling me several times into believing everyone was going to live or she was going to pull a "kill em all" ending. I'm not going to say what does happen at the end but it was surprising.


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