Reviews

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

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!

mohawkm's review against another edition

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2.0

Ugh. It's like a meandering, early-Anne-Rice warm up of a unlikeable character. Shaun Hutchison wrote it best in his review (though he and I come to different conclusions):

"I honestly don't know how to review this book. Imagine you're watching Forest Gump, only Forest Gump is a corpse, and everything he does turns to shit."

Pretty much.

natalie001's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

1.75

pleasantbastard's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional funny mysterious reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

dianacantread's review against another edition

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4.0

A YA body horror that uses an undead teenager's decomposing body as a metaphor for the rise and fall of the American empire? Count me in!

4/5 stars

dianacantread's review against another edition

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5.0

How dare this book just hurt my soul like that.

5/5 stars

belacbooks's review against another edition

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3.0

What can I say? This book has flashes of genius. But—wow oh wow—is there bloat. I think the 1.5-year lag in finishing it attests to that. Even after 18 months, there are scenes and parables that remain: especially in the earlier sections dealing with the freak show and Dr. Leather. But, much like its protagonist, this book begins to become sickly sweet with rot. That being said, I assume I will eventually finish this duology. But, there were definitely places an editor should have stepped in to save the reader. Three stars.

leahbrarian's review against another edition

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2.0

Conceptually interesting and at times beautifully written, but overlong and, in my opinion, based on the nearly unanimously unlikable characters, the detailed violence and gore, and pervasive hopelessness of the narrative, misrepresented as a young adult book.

omnibozo22's review against another edition

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2.0

Ugh. Interesting premise beaten into the ground by borrowing tropes from a dozen other books that didn't resort to boring forms of magical realism. Bits of Sargent York, Sunset Boulevard, Oliver Twist... and on and on. Includes an looooooong section on WWI, and ends with the beginning of WWII. Not a single aspect of the WWI section presented information or insights that we haven't seen explored much better in dozens of books and films. Easily a third of this book could be cut without damaging the story. As it is, it was too much of a slog for me to consider reading a second volume.

sirlancelot2021's review

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adventurous challenging dark fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0