Apocalypse Idaho by Rich Lundeen


First published: January 29th, 2015
2015 Popsugar RC Category: A Book You Own But Have Never Read
My Star Rating: star_png1597star_png1578star_png1578star_png1578star_png1578

*I won this book through goodread’s First Reads program*

BLUF: Pass! This would make a good movie, but is not a good book. (A movie would likely take away the unnecessary asides and analogies that are on most of the pages of this book.)

Plot: Apocalypse Idaho follows a misfit of characters in their fight for survival. Three students, one janitor, and one “better-than-you” movie star wake one morning to find their town deserted and isolated by no electricity or cell service. While determining the best route forward, the group encounters a practically invincible vampire, which they don’t kill, but somehow manage to flee from after an intense fight. It’s not a question of if, but how long can this group survive?

Story: The story itself isn’t bad. It’s exactly what you would want from an apocalyptic novel. The problem is the characters and the narration.

Characters: The two characters which I most hated are one of the students, Nathan, and the movie star, Derek. Nathan does not shut up. He is awkward. His is annoying. What’s more, the author didn’t mention that he has albino white hair until the last third of the book. (These things are important for my visualization of the book. )

Derek, on the other hand, is a total a-hole. He thinks he is better than everybody and has no problem acting the part. He is an unapologetic, egotistical self-centered crazy b. Not my thing.

[Spoiler: On top of these two, we have Autumn. Autumn cold-heartedly dumped our janitor for Derek and spends the book hidden safely in Derek’s house. After release, she watches the video of her husband about to die and all she thinks is “That’s not even where I was, Johnny”.]

Narration: The author tries too hard to be funny/satirical/whatever.

“But the darkness doesn’t stop her. Julie can see in the blackness. Her last name is Black”

“During World War II the factory was converted to fight Nazis somehow, where it undoubtedly helped pave the way for an allied victory.”

“It looks Really Really Fucking Big. The underlined capital letters in Derek Darius’s voice were audible. It’s an inflection point that says, this needs emphasis. One of the vampires is really really fucking big.”

“One-Eye creeps forward, past Campbell’s tomato soup and well into Progresso territory.”

“Still, on the plus side,” Nathan says, “at least we’re not in Utah…”

and my favorite:

“Nathan, just because we were attacked by something doesn’t mean we’re part of a science fiction story. We’re a group of Idahoans. You’re with real people who care about each other. Yes, we’ve been through something none of us understand, but we won, and we’re still alive. It’s over. And even if it’s not, even if there are more of those things out there, we can get through this together. If we’re strong and we stick together, we can all make it out of this alive.”

Nathan’s eyes are intent. He’s pretty much speechless.

“Johnny, are you fucking retarded? ””

On top of this, the constant analogies made me want to throw this book against the wall.

“There are parallels to a hostage negotiation scenario, but the distinct difference is that instead of police trying to rescue hostages there are vampires trying to eat them.”

“It seems like the vampires are playing with the group. Nathan saw a documentary once where dolphins did something like this with fish they were eating. They would jump and play and even though they’re in the ocean you could almost hear them laughing as they ruthlessly rounded up and massacred the entire school. Fucking evil dolphins.”

“It’s opinions like these that separate the optimists from the pessimists “There’s a 99% chance we’re going to die horrible deaths here,” the pessimist might say. “No,” the optimist would disagree. “There’s a 1% chance some of us might live.” It’s the classic glass half empty half full question, but with probabilities of dying.”

If that’s not enough, you have circular reasoning.

“The omnipresent sense of dread is almost absent from Johnny/ Autumn’s home. Instead it’s replaced with a feeling of familiarity and also of creepiness. In a way, the creepiness is there because of the familiarity.”

““If you die while we’re out,” he says, “you’re going to be dead a long time.””

“If Derek Darius is the one who randomly does the expected, then Nathan Montgomery is the one who is expected to be random.”

The narration made it feel like the author was trying for a cult classic and, I’m sorry, it didn’t do it for me.

Side note: I am one of the 4% on goodreads.com who gave this a 1 star. While I am surprised, I feel like I have to disclose this as I am obviously an outlier with this opinion.


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