This is a hard review to write because this is one of those books that might be best gone into blind. Everything I want to say most is kind of a spoiler (so are some of the post tags and book tags—don’t read those if you want to stay entirely spoiler-free) because it’ll ruin that mysterious element. But one thing I can say is that I went into this book not knowing what to expect, and still it ended up being something unexpected.
From the blurb you’ve at least gotten that it’s a zombie book, right? Well, it’s not. Oh, it’s got zombies, but it’s not about them.
Part of the reason I say that is because for a good portion of the book, it was really about the characters. Sparrow’s quirkiness was endearing, Meg’s growth from her painful past made me sympathize with her, and the way they were getting to know each other, depending on each other, and caring about each other was fantastic.
“What the hell is wrong with your weapon?” I shout.
“It doesn’t like you,” Sparrow chokes out as he pushes at the dead man’s face.
“What the shit is that supposed to mean? Your machete has feelings?”
The other part of the reason is because the zombies ended up being a footnote among a much bigger scope of supernatural-ness that was revealed in a big twist. (In case you do want to know want to know what you’re getting into, the main supernatural creatures were actually *SPOILER ALERT* angels and demons *END SPOILER ALERT*.)
But that was the main issue I had with the book and the reason this review is so hard to write—it almost felt like I read two different books.
See, for the first half, the cover and blurb actually do a great job of portraying how the book felt, the offbeat nature of it. The best way I can describe it is that the perfect playlist to go with it would be one with alternative, subdued, chill, folksie kinda music. There were sweet moments, there were funny moments, there were beautiful moments, there were heavy moments, and then there was this one moment that was like the Wilson scene from Castaway. I swear I literally gasped, said, “Oh no!” out loud, and felt devastated for the character. It always marvels me when an author can make me that emotional over inanimate objects. And the “snowy owl words”… I don’t know why I loved that so much, but I did.
The second half, however, wasn’t quirky and beautiful the way the first half was, and it changed focus. Don’t get me wrong, the twist was completely unexpected and possibly the most unique, intriguing take I’ve seen on something that’s been done quite a bit in fiction, but the new focus (the thing I mentioned in the spoiler) was just something I personally don’t care to read about.
I also felt that near the end Meg started making some bad decisions and the book started to drag a bit, like it should’ve ended sooner after the climax and saved the rest for the next book.
After all was said and done though, everything did make sense, I enjoyed the character development and offbeat feel, and I thought it was a very unique take on things!
Meg Clark has turned out to be everything her father and the people of her little North Country town of Gouvernour, NY, have been saying her whole life: nothin’ but a piece of white trash. In an effort to hide her past and turn herself around, she spent her inheritance from her dead mother on the perfect little house with a white picket fence. Then something terrible happened and Meg got sent to county lockup so her fiancé, Jim, wouldn’t have to. And then everyone started waking up…dead.
Good thing escaping from County wasn’t hard. Jim told her exactly how to get free. Now Meg is running and the walking dead are following. In a last ditch effort to find weapons to protect herself, Meg finds Sparrow instead. A tall, strange man with a quirk, Sparrow has an obsession with feathers and the only goal that’s on his mind is finding an old barn on Route 37 with a snowy owl in its rafters.
Meg’s headed to Kingston, where she and Jim agreed to meet if they ever got separated. But sometimes, crossing the border brings more than just freedom and protection and safety. Sometimes it brings questions that someone like Meg would prefer not to answer. And everyone keeps asking questions, including Sparrow. He thinks she’s hiding something and he’s not impressed by her stories of the sins she’s been committing all her life. While Sparrow’s the one who’s a bit cracked in the head, it never occurs to Meg that she could be the one who’s not remembering something. Like what really happened that day she killed those seven men.
Book Author: M.R. Pritchard
Publisher: Self Published
Series: Sparrow Man
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
My Book Rating: 3.5
Series/Standalone: Part of a Series
Setting Location: Afterlife, Heaven, Hell, USA