Reviews

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume Two: Empire Decayed, by Daniel Kraus

biblio_mom's review against another edition

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4.0

This author's work is so underrated. I had fun reading this and about to start the vol 2.

My thoughts for each parts :
Part 1 : Author introduced all and each one of the characters very well. This does not happened only in part 1, but the rest as well. The story lines, plots, settings and characters has been written structurely.
Part 2 : I laughed at a point, where Zebulon tries to say his first word after his resurrection. Let me tell you. I think this is the first time I actually laugh while reading! And also, this is the part where the his violence continues on from the last pages of part 1. But its not really violent. So it can be read by the youngsters.
Part 3 : Now. I am really desperate to know how did he got resurrectes? By who? Barker? Im confused!
Part 4 : from desperate to know how he got resurrected, i got distracted completely by this part

biblio_mom's review against another edition

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3.0

Horrifying but sweet, gruesome but beautiful story of Zebulon Aaaron Finch, a rich 17 years old teenager raised perfectly fine by his mother but chosen a different path of life because in my opinion, he’s just plain ignorant. But he sure did learnt his lessons after he was shot down by the shore of Lake Michigan, got mysteriously resurrected to live the rest of his life as a corpse.

He does not eat & drink, does not sleep, bleed & breath, but he have feelings. He stays 17 years old though he lives a decade. He fell in love, became a thug, does odd jobs, went to a different countries, fight in the World War 1, became a movie extra, got involved up by the most controversional woman in Hollywood, became an astronaut, joined the Nazi, become a cult leader. He does EVERYTHING and that is why it makes it irresistable to continue reading!

It took a lot of patience reading this duology not just because both of them are 1413 pages, but the way he talks, oh boy, there is nothing decent coming out from his mouth. As a mother myself, I feel like stuffing chillis in his mouth 

seneca_magpie's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

 This book is absolutely NOT for 14 year olds- I don't know who said it was ok to print that on the bottom of the back cover, but clearly they didn't read it. 

This book is meant to make you uncomfortable. If you read it and recoiled, then Kraus did his job as an author. There were many instances where I found myself shaking my head in horror and/or disbelief. "The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Vol. 1" is not a pretty book. It's a tragic, gory story about a dead teen walking through life, passing through the centuries. 

I give it a 4/5. It was a masterclass in abjection, but I'll need a few days before reading the sequel. This one stays on the shelf. 

Content Warnings (in no particular order): Gore, Death, Sex, Derogatory Language (aka slurs), Self Harm, Suicide, War, Murder, Violence 

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xtine's review against another edition

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5.0

I just... I'm going to have to read that again. Simply because I'm sure I missed things in this "massive piece of insanity," but also because it is incredibly intriguing. Can I have volume 2 now please?

rabbitandtree's review against another edition

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4.0

oh my. how do i say this?
reading this is like browsing through an autobiography of a madman (a sophisticated one, that is) that grew even more morbid yet amusing by the minute.

this book has been a journey through a lifetime. wait, it hasn’t even been a lifetime yet cause it was only half of his lifetime (volume one out of two). YET SOOOO MUCH HAPPENED IN A SPAN OF FIFTY YEARS. FIFTY YEARS OF THIS SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD BOY-CORPSE.

This one hell of a story is grotesque, full of action, emotional trainwreck, amusing and f*cked up in so many ways.

and i must say, i did enjoy the story. but this one is for sure a book that’s not to be rushed through.

(TW: graphic violence, physical abuse, sexual abuse, suicide, suicidal thoughts, racial slurs, profanity)

cford04's review against another edition

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challenging dark informative lighthearted tense slow-paced

3.5

vienna355's review against another edition

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adventurous slow-paced

2.75

rebecca_maybe's review against another edition

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5.0

★★★★★

It's odd to rate a book five stars and not neccessarily recommend it. The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Vol. 1 was excellent, though I'd never re-read it, and I think many (if not most) readers would find it particularly unenjoyable.

Kraus' writing is stunning. His use of language made the novel vivid and, at times, violently disturbing. Categorically, this books leans toward historical horror, though it's written as a memoir. The main character is unlikable, sometimes detestable, but unfailing human. I found myself rooting for Finch despite never actually believing in his ability to be good.

The novel is bleak, and it's long, and it has no discernable path save the general direction of one man's disturbingly long life. It isn't happy. It's barely hopeful. But the brushes of goodness and joy feel earned and the reader finds themself clinging to them like Finch does. Perhaps that's the most bizarre thing about this book--it makes the reader empathize with an awful, 19th century gangster who lives forever at 17.

Anyone wishing to read this book should download a sample or grab it from the library--you'll know fairly quickly if it's something you want to look at for 600+ pages.

sydthekyd31's review against another edition

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4.0

A great way to be entertained by a new idea and story while brushing up on your history. I will definitely read volume 2!

acej8's review against another edition

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5.0

A great expansive book with an astounding narration in my opinion! I love Kirby Heyborn's narrations, his character voices make whatever he's reading so much more enjoyable! Having listened to Rotters previously, I jumped at the possiblity to listen to another of Kraus' books narrated by Kirby! As soon I as I finished Edge of Empire, I immediately used another audible credit to buy Empire Decayed! I'm already three hours in! Funny thing is I own all of Daniel Kraus' physical books including those with Guillermo Del Toro, but in edition to those I have the audio c.d. of Rotters and now the audible editions of Vols. 1-2 of The Death and Life Zebulon Finch.

But I digress. The only qualms I've had with Vol. 1, were mainly that it wasn't set earlier in U.S. history, say starting around the early colonization/Revolutionary beginnings. I would have loved to see how Finch interacted during the revolution, and The Civil War. However Kraus' writing, whatever shortfalls may be, mixed with Heyborn's narration are enthralling, descriptive, and entertaining. Couldn't ask for much more!