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A Journey of Enlightenment and Discovery Across a Mountain Pass with a Spiritual Guide

By Kraken Attacken, member

Mar 16, 2018: The metaphor in the title is something I would use to describe this story.

While the themes, pacing and substance of the story are all amazing, there are a few niggling things that persist in terms of scope, and are satisfied juuuusst a bit too slowly at times. I’d like to start with some metaphor, but if you’d like to skip all that, then jump over the block below.

The harsh mountain winds, the chilling colds, and the dangers and pitfalls at every turn. But a gentle and guiding force drives you on, encouraging you to scale the mountains heights, discover the depths of it’s crags, and to delve deeper and deeper into it’s secrets.

Your guide whispers words of encouragement to you as you press on, making steady progress. You sometimes come upon amazing discoveries, basking in the quiet wonder of what you bear witness to. Sometimes you meet upon other travellers, both friend and foe, but you always learn something valuable from the experience. Sometimes you stumble, but with that steady hand guiding you, you always find your footing, and press on.

A lonesome journey, but never truly alone.

While all of this is indeed true, there are times where, in this harsh but comforting journey where you will struggle to fully grasp the world beyond the mountain. This lack of understanding is a non-issue for some who traverse, but a perplexing conundrum for others, and discovering artefacts of the world beyond only leaves you hungry for more.

The Zombie Knight Saga is, in my opinion, a story about identity. The story starts with a boy at the end of his rope, who has lost his sense of identity. Within the first few pages, he is rescued from himself by his new forever friend, an ancient, wise, and ‘magical’ mentor, who begins to help our MC Hector to piece himself back together. But as with any situation where one, with help, takes the hammer to the anvil of their own soul, there will be setbacks, there will be harrowing experiences.

And therein lies the dark, sombre, yet inspiring nature of this story. Through the many themes the story presents, like servants and reapers, emergence and soul power, a picture is painted that largely portrays a journey of personal growth and upliftment. The reaper encourages the servant, the servant inspires the reaper, and vice-versa, on and on, the two sharing agency in one another’s personal growth.

And it isn’t simply the struggles, it is the constant reforging of the MCs identity, and the strength he works hard to gain that give this journey it’s gravitas. As Hector’s reaper, Garovel, once states to him very early on in the story:

"We respond by becoming better."

While this interplay of personal growth and discovering and achieving new heights of power and understanding through trails and ordeals is fascinating, invigorating even, the scattered glimpses of the world at large can be frustratingly sporadic.

George Frost has painting an amazing world, it can be very slightly annoying sometimes when cultures, peoples, practices and ideologies are ephemeral at best, absent at worse.

This barely detracts from the amazing quality of the story, but does make the story feel a touch myopic at times. I must admit that this issue is slowly being solved, but that slight lack of full depth in the scope of the wider world can be like the few brambles that might prick you in an otherwise paradisaical wonderland.

Let me be specific here. The problem isn’t permanent, it’s just a bit persistent. Unless I’m some disaffected narcissist, I’m gonna have some knowledge of the aforementioned highlights of this planet I live on. While there is much cultural depth in the story, it isn’t as ubiquitous as one might like.

All in all, the story is a must read if you are looking for an excellent dark fantasy which deals with triumph of growth, identity, ideals in spite of hopelessness, and sensible and rules based power fantasy.

2 of 4 members found this review helpful.
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Awkward Execution Meets Interesting Premise

By Carcharocles, author of The Revelation

Aug 11, 2017: Two disclosures: Most of this review focuses on the chapter Demon Night, as well as the first entry into Dinner and a Movie. This won’t be indicative of the serial as a whole. This review was done as part of a review exchange.

Don’t Feed the Dark describes itself as an apocalyptic zombie series, but that’s a bit misleading. The zombies in the story are a rather unique take on the genre, being halfway between simple undead and mutant creature; it’s a fresh take on the genre, but could use some work, at least in the early chapters.

The biggest problem with the story is that the author focuses too much on the details. He’ll spend an entire paragraph describing an individual zombie in such a way that breaks the flow of the story. Although he improves quite a bit in the first five entries, he doesn’t seem to have formed a balance between narrative and description—it’s mostly tell rather than show. He can also be rather wordy at times, forming sentences that seem overly long and clumsy. He improves rather quickly in this regard, but it can be hard to look past these flaws.

The story itself seems interesting. It begins with a serial killer—an unlikeable character with some rather stereotypical "symptoms," breaking into a house to take a life, only to find himself fighting for his own and that of his intended victim’s—if only temporarily on her part. This can be off-putting to readers who would prefer their heroes have at least something about them they can root for, but it fits the setting well. After all, what zombie movie doesn’t have that one psychopathic character wreaking havoc on the dead and living alike? However, the story shifts away from him and his "victim" after only four entries, moving on to a different character and setting entirely. While this would not necessarily be a bad thing, the two chapters don’t have much in common, and the rather sexual nature of the second chapter’s first entry stands in stark contrast to the graphic events that preceded it.

It’s not that this is a bad thing—it just won’t suit everyone’s tastes. Fans of B horror flicks will likely love this serial, especially since that fifth entry lacks many of the pitfalls of the first chapter. However, it won’t attract many readers outside of its rather narrow base—fans of the Romero movies will likely find it cheap. Instead, this story will likely appeal mainly to the fans of 80’s exploitation flicks and low-budget zombie films. I recommend it for those fans, although there’s no reason for other horror fans to avoid it.

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Worth a Read

By Lyn Thorne-Alder, author of Side Quest

Jan 9, 2017: I read this story – what there is of it so far – in one sitting, and found it engrossing, the kind of story that keeps me on the edge of my seat.

I have so many questions, which means I’ll come back to it over and over again, hoping my questions get answers – who is Bishop? What is going on?

This story builds suspense well. I am not always a fan of prologues, but this one got me involved in the story before I’d barely started reading. The world that is built is our own world – and yet not. The surveillance state is entirely believable; the slight deviations from our world make the story that much more creepy.

Although it’s titled After Z-Day and subtitled "zompocalypse," I haven’t encountered any zombies yet. This isn’t a deal-breaker for me, but it does speak to a slow-burn sort of start that is more in my tastes than it might be in others’.

Well-written, intriguing, and with an interesting hook, After Z-Day is worth a read.

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