Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date Published: October 1st 2013
Audiobook Narrator: Emma Galvin, January LaVoy, Zachary Webber
Description: For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.
When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.
Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?
Red Hill grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go until its stunning conclusion. This is #1 New York Times bestselling author Jamie McGuire at her unforgettable best.
So, Jamie McGuire’s new book, Red Hill, good? Bad? Ugly? Well I can tell you one thing, it definitely is not Beautiful. I mean, duh, it IS about Zombies, so who would expect beauty, but it also isn’t anything like her previous two books, Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster. The main difference is that this book is not New Adult. Despite the tag line on the back cover of the book, “When the world ends, can love survive?” this is not a romance. While there is romance in the book, it is never the plot’s central theme. My overall impression of Red Hill was that it read like an episode of what I imagined the TV series, the Walking Dead to be like. I have never seen a single episode, so I could be way off, but that was my main impression. The book is told from the alternating viewpoints of Scarlet, an x-ray tech and single mother of 2 girls, Nathan, who has a daughter and a less than present wife, and Miranda, a college student en route to her father’s ranch with her sister and their boyfriends. While the different narratives are all told from the first person, I still felt slight removed from these characters. Scarlet is tough and determined. Nathan is nurturing and likable and Miranda is confused about her relationship with her boyfriend and her intense attraction to a new comer to their little community at Red Hill Ranch. The story tracks these three until they all make their way to the ranch. On the way to the ranch, they each see or unknowingly interact with each other, but never realize it until after they reach the ranch. The relationships in this book are all over the place. Nathan and Scarlet’s love was a little unbelievable to me and Miranda and Joey’s story was too underdeveloped for me to feel any real emotion. While the characters go through a lot, I cannot say for certain whether they truly grew or not. The plot was exciting, if not predictable. However, the ending I did NOT predict. The entire book, Scarlet is waiting for her two girls to find their way to the ranch. After months, everyone but Scarlet thinks the girls must be dead. I will not tell you if the girls ever make it to the ranch or not, you have to read the book to find out for yourself, but I will say that McGuire kept me guessing until the end. I do not know if the ending of the book is satisfying enough given all that these characters endure. One complaint I did have is that the end is told only from Scarlet’s point of view and I felt that there really should have been follow up with Nathan’s and even Miranda’s characters. There was a lot of action in this story and the plot advanced at a nice pace, never leaving this reader bored. While it was not my favorite, (I never truly connected with the characters or felt any real emotion with this book) I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in reading an intense, plausible survival account of a zombie apocalypse. As a side note, I did read this book in audiobook format and thought the narration was top notch. And just a small tid bit of “neat-o” the voice of Nathan is read by Zachary Webber, Tammara Webber (author of Easy)‘s son.
Red Hill is a typical zombie novel where the focus on is on the survivors and their lives, issues and all. Red Hill is very different than the other books I’ve read by Jamie McGuire so far, so that made it interesting. The story is told in three different points of view and the characters are completely different. What I really liked was how interconnected everyone was – this really was an example of “six degrees of separation”. The characters are each somehow connected with the owner of Red Hill Ranch or at least were told the ranch is a safe place to go to try to survive the end of the world. The plot itself moves along like you would expect in a zombie novel, with the various characters running from the Infected/ Shufflers/Dead/Ted/whatever everyone calls them. We do get to know the characters a little bit so it is sad when some people inevitably get bitten. However, I didn’t feel there was much character development except for maybe showing how strong Scarlet is or how compassionate Nathan is. Scarlet goes out and “clears” a path to the Ranch free of all the zombies in hopes that her daughters can safely get there. We spend the entire novel waiting on her daughters and it gets a bit old by the end. I found myself getting as irritated with Scarlet as many of the other characters get. Scarlet also did not allow herself to be happy or feel love while her daughters were out there. I did really like Nathan and his patience. I’m still not sure how I feel about Miranda. While I can’t say the ending was really satisfying, it did end on a positive hopeful note, which is all you really can expect from a zombie apocalypse book. Overall, I liked it, and I liked the narration in the audiobook, but I don’t have anything significant to say about it and didn’t really connect with the characters that well. It was a good read, an interesting zombie book, but I can’t say it is really as spectacular as some of the early reviews would lead us to believe.