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Feel like a good scare?

December 20, 2013

There’s nothing quite like a good horror novel, is there?  A narrative that’s initially merely intriguing, then develops into thrilling, and finally becomes downright terrifying. You want to keep reading to find out what happens – but you also don’t as it’s too scary!

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Terminus by Adam Baker (2013) is set sometime in the future, humanity has been infected by a virus that renders it’s victims zombie-like, and horribly, the victims consciousness is still “in there”, trapped by an alien presence that dominates the body. Not only that, but their skeletons start growing metal spikes and extrusions, and if left unchecked, fuse to any nearby electrical wiring.

In an effort to save mankind, the USA government nukes it’s cities with special weapons that penetrate all surfaces, and the uninfected remnants of humanity retreat to the wilderness leaving the zombies to die off.  But at the last minute, the survivors hear a message from a group of scientists trapped within the subway system in the city, saying they have found a cure.  A mixed group of soldiers, prison guards, emergency personnel and ex-prisoners are sent to retrieve them. And then the terror begins as these people have to cope with the zombies outside, and the things underground too, including mutant rats…. (ugh).

Unfortunately, this novel didn’t quite get there for me, although it wasn’t bad by any means.  I felt that the author went right up to the line and dipped a toe over a few times, but didn’t fully explore the depths of darkness as much as he could have.  The characters died too regularly in predictable ways,  and I found the ending slightly ambiguous and vague – possibly setting up for a sequel?   Maybe I’m just too hardened after one too many scary stories, or viewings of ‘The Walking Dead’!  That said, the story is quite original really and I find myself still thinking about it on occasion – I guess my gripe is that it didn’t actually really scare me.  You might find it quite suitably terrifying, and I wish you many sleepless nights should you give this novel a try.  3/5

– Natalie

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