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And Then I Woke Up

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The ending reminds the reader, it’s truly hard to trust anyone, especially if you can’t trust yourself, but it’s what one must do.

A certain sort of vulnerability to look at someone, a group of people and think: monster, zombie, Other. The central idea of a narrative turned literal virus was intriguing, and for the most part worked well until the "is it or isn't it real" was debated one too many times, or maybe one too few. Secondary characters are ignored until a scene requires them to assist Violet or to be killed in the endless violence that plagues their school. There is always the temptation to leave the convoluted and frustrating real world behind in favor of a fantasy that someone has laid out for you, but And I Woke Up is a scary but compelling argument that a messy truth is still one worth fighting for. This is a beautiful exploration of the seductive power of narrative, the need to be a part of something, and the toxic influence of propaganda.But then again, had it been longer it might have moved more into the typical action/adventure plot line and lost the creepiness of just getting a snapshot into this world and scenario. She was also the first rider to ever bond with two dragons: Tairn, a powerful black dragon with a distinguished battle history, and Andarna, a baby dragon too young to carry a rider.

If that logline sounds overly familiar, don’t worry, there’s a wholly unique spin that sets this story apart that I will try not to fully reveal. The plot twists in Devlin's novel turn the archetypal zombie story on its head and make for a thoughtful, if quick, read; readers who balk at metafiction can enjoy it as a horror story, while others can have fun with the novel's genre savvy. Really interesting, thought provoking novel but I really wanted some more action to get me through the slower middle section.We're hungry for fresh listeners, because the more you tell your own story, the more it makes sense to you. Over months scavenging for food and supplies while defending himself and other survivors from the ravenous “Others,” Spence gradually awakens to the truth: He and his compatriots are afflicted with an illness that makes them see the uninfected as monsters when in reality they are just innocent people living their lives. You end this really not knowing where the line between cruelty and mercy really lies – and you have no idea how you personally would handle this.

In the tradition of Mira Grant and Stephen Graham Jones, Malcolm Devlin's And Then I Woke Up is a creepy, layered, literary story about false narratives and their ability to divide us. Imagine that those of you who are seeing this, hearing this, quickly devise a plan to blow the place up, to stop the monsters or others or z-z-zombies or whatever from spreading their disease any further. Full of empathy, Devlin's book embraces hard questions but doesn't lose itself trying to provide easy answers. After all, even if there is a zombie apocalypse going on, Spence is now convinced that he is the one who is infected with this disease.

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