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The Ghoul Archipelago by Stephen Kozeniewski

The Ghoul Archipelago - Stephen Kozeniewski

The Curien Island chain is infested with the walking dead… and they wear glass jars on their heads tightly sealed to their necks. Yeah – that should give you a horrific visual. Drug traffickers collide with the locals and the US Navy. It’s really quite a mess as the world falls apart. On top of that, Rand Bergeron, creator of the virtual reality gizmo and sex programs, is right smack in the middle of this as well. It’s quite logical that a twisted religious cult would rise up out of all this mess, lead by Sonntag. I loved hating on Sonntag! He was the most despicable character but also a powerful force that pushes all the other heavy hitters around.

My favorite character was Libby West. She’s trapped walking this thin line under Admiral Fall. She wants to keep her men safe and also help the remaining humans but Admiral Fall has some twisted ideas. West tries again and again to hold to some healthy morals as people around her stray ever further into one flavor of depravity or another.

It took me some time to get into this book. First, the zombies jar heads (while an awesome scary image) just wasn’t practical. Where do they get all these jars? What happens when they break? Zombies are clumsy. Then the story spent time on this fancy new tech from Bergeron which was at odds with this nitty gritty zombie infestation. But once all the characters clashed together, the story worked a lot better for me.

Tuan Jim was a fun character because he kept popping up in unexpected places. I loved it when he squared off with Sonntag. Martigan, while an important character, was only so-so for me. Hannibal Mo was more memorable, along with Kurtz and how they lend a much needed helping hand to Butch (a stow away).

The story takes a devious turn in the last quarter that I didn’t see coming. Yet I did wonder about Bergeron’s virtual reality collars. They have a little needle that slips between the vertebrae…. and injects something? There was line about the collars needing a refill? So I had questions about the collars and their final use.

All in all, it was a mash of fun ideas that could have been tightened up a bit. Most of the characters were one-dimensional and I wanted the details about the tech to be clearer. 3.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Jennifer Fournier did a great job with this narration. She had a variety of character voices, complete with accents. Her male voices were believable. There were plenty of emotions in this story and Fournier portrayed them well. 5/5 stars.