Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review: Through the Zombie Glass

THROUGH THE ZOMBIE GLASS
The White Rabbit Chronicles #2
Gena Showalter
Paranormal Young Adult
480 pages
HarlequinTEEN
Available September 24th
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Inspired by the childhood classic Alice in Wonderland, this harrowing and romantic story features teen zombie slayer Alice Bell who has lost so much—family, friends, her home. 

After a strange new zombie attack, Alice fears she may be losing her mind as well. A terrible darkness blooms inside her, urging her to do wicked things. 

The whispers of the dead assault her ears and mirrors seem to come frighteningly to life. She’s never needed her team of zombie slayers more—including her boyfriend, Cole—than she does now. But as Cole strangely withdraws and the zombies gain new strength, Ali knows one false step may doom them all.

MY THOUGHTS
Through the Zombie Glass is a pulse-pounding sequel, the heat and action dialed up to an extraordinary degree so that the cadence of our rapidly beating hearts turns into a repetitive soundtrack that accompanies the dark and light, the highs and lows, and the love and pain on the page. Though there are some familiar second book elements–such as the dissolution of the main romantic pairing–they never stay confined to their neatly labeled boxes, instead spilling out in grand fashion to fit this story specifically, forcing us to evaluate what happens within in the context of this narrative and leave all comparisons to other books at the door. This second installment is a challenging read in many ways, a darkly foreboding prologue from Ali letting us know that the coming pages will leave marks, shaping and changing our emotional topography until we emerge from the concluding chapters different than we were when we went into the beginning ones.

The catalyst for our change in this book is Cole himself, a young man who has fully embraced his bad boy status and driven it to new heights, but in this story the pleasant sheen of fiction that grants us the freedom to crush on someone dangerous is startlingly removed, leaving behind the rough surface of reality we didn’t quite see in book one, too distracted were we by the heat and intensity of his presence. Where he was seemingly infallible he is now humanly flawed, where he was previously invincible he is now vulnerable, and where he was before a protector he is now the hand that delivers a staggering emotional blow, the force of which not only hits us where it hurts but also temporarily knocks him right off the pedestal of swoon-worthiness on which we had previously placed him.

While his fall from grace, so to speak, is a bitter pill to swallow, it’s also one of the highlights of the book for the effect it has on Ali, allowing her to step fully into the shoes she was testing out in book one and become the badass of this series we had mistakenly thought Cole to be. When Cole seems intent on pushing her away, blowing hot and cold, Ali remains even keel, refusing to stoop to his level and instead waiting patiently for him to find the strength and courage to meet her on the high road she’s currently walking. She has a few understandable rough patches in which she allows herself to feel the sting of his rejection, but she always pulls herself back from the edge, turning her focus to the other not-insignificant problems with which she’s currently dealing. She never wavers in her feelings for him, even when a new temptation presents himself, and she admirably continues to protect her heart even as Cole begins to realize his mistake, respecting herself enough to say no to him when it would be so very easy to just say yes.

The romance is certainly a prominent element, as it is in any of Ms. Showalter’s fabulous books, but there are also some significant developments with both the enemy and within the team of slayers, relationships changing and strengthening as Anima lays a few of their more terrifying cards on the table. The only thing keeping this book from a higher rating is the speed with which the issues of Ali’s darker half are resolved at the end, and though we’re certainly grateful it’s not an aspect that’s going to be drawn out unnecessarily, for all the problems it caused throughout the resolution seems a touch easy. That being said however, this second installment will likely delight and torture fans of the series at the same time, causing as much pain as it does pleasure as Ali and Cole battle for life and love.

*It should be noted that Ms. Showalter’s books are always on the sexy side. Sex is spoken of easily and casually, with lots of banter and innuendo amidst the teenage group of slayers, and while it’s in my opinion handled well and realistically, this series is recommended for older YA readers.

Rating: 4.5/5


Find Gena:


If you didn't get a chance yesterday, be sure and check out my 5 reasons why Cole is worthy of swooning over (even if he made me want to smack him while simultaneously drooling over him in this book), plus enter to win a copy of either Alice in Zombieland or Through the Zombie Glass!

This book was sent to me free of charge by the publisher for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

33 comments:

  1. Yep total torture here! And as many times I wanted to smack Cole I also loved him, I cannot help it! Gena Shwoalter just always does it right, with a great amount of hot smexy times and swoon worthy romantic moments! Plus, the action!

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    1. Oh yes, Cole was deserving of some smackage in this one, but I loved Ali so much that I couldn't even get frustrated at the whole situation. She handled it so much better than I would have:)

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  2. And it's by Showalter...I want it

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  3. I don't know how well I'd handle this, to be honest. I just spoke (wrote) very highly of Cole, only to find out that he shows yet another ugly side in the sequel. I'm not good with these types of plots/issues, I much prefer it when couples face outside enemies or problems together. I'll probably try to read this at some point because I have no doubt that it's well written, but I'll approach it cautiously.
    As always, gorgeously written review, my friend.

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    1. Normally I'm not either Maja! It's one of my pet peeves when the main couple is pulled apart because one of them is being difficult, but Ali made this whole situation okay for me. She didn't completely fall apart or pine for him, and when he started to come around? She stepped up and let him know that a few kind words were not going to fix what he'd done. She holds her ground and I had so much respect for her in this one!

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  4. I love dark, enthralling sequels and while I haven't picked up the first book in this series yet, I'm thrilled to see that it continues to be just as good. I find that middle books are improving - slightly - these days, which is such a relief. Wonderful review, Jenny!

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    1. This is definitely a dark series and is getting darker as it goes, but Gena also has such a great sense of humor, so things never get so heavy that you don't feel like you can continue on:)

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  5. Oh, Cole. I can't wait to meet up with you again and see all the lovely trouble you get into. Plus, I do enjoy how Showalter uses the banter between the characters -- it *is* very realistic to high schoolers, though I'd agree about the more mature of teens reading it.

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    1. He's a bit of a-hole in this one Mary, not gonna lie. But, he has some internal demons that rear their ugly heads, so it's at least understandable even though it's frustrating. I still love him though!

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  6. I was not a big fan of the first book and I had no plans on continuing the series, but I have to say, you're review is slowly changing my mind. It seems that there's a lot more development when it comes to the characters and the plot. I'm curious as to what new side of Cole emerges in this sequel although I disliked his character in the first book.
    I'm happy that you enjoyed this sequel, Jenny! Lovely review! :)

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    1. Sorry the first one wasn't for you Nick! Maybe give this one a try and see if you like it better? I adored Ali in this one, I liked her in the first book, but I feel like she really came into her own in this one. I'm guessing though if you didn't like Cole in book one, you'll like him less in this one. He shows some unattractive colors, but I think he redeems himself well:)

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  7. This series seems to be so hit or miss for so many people. But, since my Jenny likes it, odds are I will too.

    Because you are MY Jenny. Even if you fled the country for 2 weeks.

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    1. I LOVE YOU HANNAH! And since we're often of the same mind, I encourage you to give this series a try. COLE.

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  8. You know, I haven't always liked Gena's work, but there's something about this dark and edgy style that speaks to me. Because I'm totally dark and edgy, obviously haha I'm definitely going to add this to my TBR though. Great review, Jenny!

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    1. Dark and edgy is a good way to describe it! There are a few cliche elements, but she writes really great characters I think, and that always makes up for most flaws for me!

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  9. I adore the covers and will get to the books one day. I think I am just waiting for all of them to come out :) However, GS is always very hit/miss for me so I am glad this is a win!

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    1. Aren't the covers gorgeous? I love the border with the skulls and the playing cards:)

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  10. Your reviews are always so well worded and just beautiful Jenny!!

    I really want to try and squeeze the first book in for October, I think it would be the perfect book to review during Something Wicked!

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    1. Thank you Ali! I hope you make time for this series, they're just fun, really entertaining books with I think strong characterization. And they would be PERFECT for Something Wicked!

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  11. Ooooh. I'm intrigued by a hero's fall from grace and a heroine's empowerment. Also good to know that the sequel holds up.

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  12. Jenny, you know zombies and I don't get along but I'm glad to hear the sequel is just as strong as the first book though the resolution is a bit too easy. I have teens who loved book 1 and I'm thankful for your lovely review so I can now discuss this book with them and not be a complete dunce. Lovely review!

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  13. Falls from grace, empowerment..ooh you tease me so! I am so glad you loved this, since we so often agree. I cannot wait!

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  14. I still need to read the first book. Did you get the second one at BEA. It's sad...I can't remember whether I have the second book or not. Hopefully I'll get to this series soon.

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  15. I read ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND last year and enjoyed but wasn't blown away by it. I've been hesitant about the sequel, but you definitely make it sound appealing. I'm very curious/nervous about what exactly happens with Cole in this book. Though I'm glad that the story doesn't seem to dissolve into a love triangle (at least from Ali's perspective, am I reading that correctly?). I do like that Ali handles herself at least, and that she gets stronger and doesn't just give in to him. But I'm hoping that whatever happens with Cole is believable, instead of just to cause tension. I'm glad that you still found him appealing despite it all though. Anyway, thanks so much for bringing this back to my attention. I will endeavor to get myself a copy to read at some point.

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  16. I haven't read the first one. Jenny! I HAVEN'T READ THE FIRST ONE! *cries*

    Gah! I've been drooling over the first one and now you tempt me with this one??? I love her adult work (which I haven't read all of yet... but will) and I'm glad that it looks like she rocks with the YA genre as well. I'm actually surprised she didn't go NA with the sex aspect of the book.

    Oh darn it, I must read this soon. I so want to meet Cole. I'm blaming you. :)

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  17. Jenny, Cole frustrated me sooo much! I mean, the whole be with you/can't be with you...UGH! I loved your review. I can't wait to read the next book to see what happens next.

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  18. As I mentioned yesterday, I haven't started the series yet. I have the second book but not the first. I might be a little frustrated with the romance- the back and forth I have heard a bit about from people- but I'm super anxious to meet these characters! And the banter, so excited for that!

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  19. Cole sounds like a paradox. I think I'd want to smack him from what you've said, but I think he'd also make my heart hurt. Lovely review, Jenny. I need to read book one, which I think I have here somewhere. :)

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  20. AHHHH I will have to come back and visit your other post on Cole. Right now just finishing up blogging commenting rounds, but your blog has been on my list of to-catch-up-on for too long. So soon.

    I haven't read the first book, but you do a great job of not spoiling it for me :).

    THE SECOND BOOK ELEMENTS!!! You said in my Burning Sky review that you hoped that Thomas wouldn't separate Iolanthe & Titus but meerrr. Even Showalter, an adult romance writer, has done that to her couple o.O.... but I guess you just said I'm not supposed to compare the two :P. I love it when sequels are darker than the first novel though! It makes me feel like the stakes HAVE been risen!

    Ahh, so when I was writing a discussion post on bad boys, I should've read the first book about Cole. Not swoon-worthy now but kind of cruel? But also realistic? Nice that that made the heroine take charge though! And that she wouldn't accept him until he was really and truly sorry about his mistakes.

    It's nice that the romance, while a central player, isn't the only thing to discuss about the book :D. I am very intrigued by this mention of a darker half to the protagonist, Ali. Also it's nice that you included that little note at the bottom about the book being more toward the sexy side; I always forget to mention things like that.

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  21. I love the covers in this series! I liked the first book in the series and am thrilled to hear how Ali deals with Cole. I'm not generally a fan of love triangles and really hate when the heroine falls all over the jerky romantic interest simply because he's hot.

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  22. I like that you said this book (and all of her books are on the sexy side) that's an awesome way to put it. I still need to read this series and I am hitting myself for not starting it yet!

    Thanks for the great review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

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  23. I'm so glad to hear Ali has a backbone and doesn't just say yes to Cole, but it does sound like this installment is going to have me angsting over the romance. Glad to hear you enjoyed it, I can't wait to pick up my copy Tuesday! Wonderful review as usual Jenny!

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