May 8, 2014

REVIEW: Through the Zombie Glass (The White Rabbit Chronicles #2)

Through the Zombie Glass (The White Rabbit Chronicles #3), by Gena Showalter
Published September 24, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: audiobook, purchased
Genre: young adult paranormal/romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

 Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Zombies stalk the night. Forget blood and brains. These monsters hunger for human souls. Sadly, they've got mine...

Alice Bell has lost so much. Family. Friends. A home. She thought she had nothing else to give. She was wrong.

After a new zombie attack, strange things begin to happen to her. Mirrors come to life, and the whispers of the dead assault her ears. But the worst? A terrible darkness blooms inside her, urging her to do very wicked things.

She's never needed her team of zombie slayers more, but ultra bad-boy Cole Holland, the leader and her boyfriend, suddenly withdraws from her...from everyone. Now, with her best friend Kat at her side, Ali must kill the zombies, uncover Cole's secret and learn to fight the darkness.

But the clock is ticking...and if she fails at a single task, they're all doomed.

I have no words.

Well... yeah. That's not true. I ALWAYS have words when it comes to good books. But, seriously, as I was reading Through the Zombie Glass, there were many moments when I just sat in my car (because, this was an audiobook for me), mouth agape like a fish trying to get a handle on myself so that I could function normally when I walked into my office. There was some of this:

A lot of this:

This too:

To sum up... it was a feels-free-for-all. But, it wasn't all feels and no substance. Through the Zombie Glass was an incredible story about sacrifice and salvation. There is absolutely no sophomore slump here - it built upon the groundwork laid in Alice in Zombieland, had its own ridiculously awesome storyline and laid the frame for what I'm sure will be an epic finale, come September. 

Ali survived a near-death encounter with Anima, and is now healing at the Ankh's house and enjoying some snuggle time with Cole. After two new slayers join the group, including pretty Veronica, Cole starts distancing himself from Ali, until he delivers the final blow and breaks up with her. On top of that, Ali is dealing with another voice in her head that is telling her to do awful things. None of it makes sense at all, and Ali is feeling alone, lost, adrift, and not just a little hopeless. 

My heart absolutely broke into itty bitty pieces for Ali in this book. Gena Showalter was masterful at creating the perfect mood for Ali's eventual crash. Everything was perfect. Cole was finally hers, she was a lean, mean fighting machine, and they had won the initial battle with Anima. The beginning of the book dawned with hope and positivity, and I was buying everything that she was selling. 

Then, Cole happened and everything went to hell in a hand basket. 

UGH! He acted like such a colossal douche purse (LOVE Nana), I found myself wishing he was a real person, just so I could walk up to him and smack him a few times. It was clear from the beginning that there was more going on under the surface, but you just didn't know what that was. So, like Ali, I had to take things at face value for awhile, and that drove me crazy! I refused to believe that my Cole was really that cold and callous to dump Ali while she was still getting better from her wounds for no real good reason.

Thing is, Cole wasn't the only crazy person in Through the Zombie Glass. Everyone was doing their absolute best to make me nuts. Kat kept pushing away Frosty. Reeve was dating a new boy of questionable background. Ankh was extra frigid toward Ali. And don't even get me started on newbie Veronica, who - oh yeah - is another one of Cole's exes. 

And then there was Ali and her alter ego, Z.A. (short for Zombie Alice). Z.A. would show up in a mirror or start talking in Ali's head, making her want to do things, like bite her friends. Ali's fighting skills were compromised and she proved to be more of a danger to her team than a help. It was here when I started yelling at my car's stereo almost daily. "Talk to someone, dammit! Tell Cole! Tell Gavin! Tell SOMEONE!!" Ugh - communication is never a strong suit among teens. 

Ali's fight to kill Z.A. and survive the break up from the love of her life was absolutely what I live for when I read. She was inspiring and strong and kicked some major ass. But, Ali had her moments when everything just was too much, and she allowed herself some time to break down. I think those moments are so important. Without them, there's no humanization of your character. They're either too hard and you have a difficult time connecting with them, or they're too soft and they drive you drink. Gena Showalter wrote Ali so perfectly - she's the perfect blend of hard and soft; strong and weak. I believed her, I rooted for her, I cried with her, and I rejoiced at her triumphs. THIS is what reading is all about. 

Just a word about the audio version - it was SPECTACULAR.

Through the Zombie Glass was told entirely from Ali's POV. It's YA, and Ali and Cole spend much of the book emotionally apart, so there wasn't much sexy stuff to be had. But, that's okay. The story about Ali's search for a way to defeat Z.A. AND Anima had me captivated from the very first word all the way to the exciting conclusion. This series has very quickly become one of my favorites, and I will be chomping at the bit (pun intended) for Queen of Zombie Hearts, due out late this September.

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