Author: J. P. Moore
Read by: J. P. Moore
Format: Podcast Novel told in three parts
Podiobook link: http://www.podiobooks.com/title/toothless
Author website: http://www.jpmooreonline.com/
Published Status: Published as a paperback by Dragon Moon Press.
One Sentence synopsis: A Zombie struggles with his identity after being raised from the dead to be n the army that killed him.
Since it is Halloween and I’m eagerly awaiting the premiere of Walking Dead I figured a Zombie Podiobook would be the best thing to review. This particular zombie story is a very different take on the genre. Two of the three parts are told from the perspective of the zombie himself as he comes to terms with what he is.
The first part of the story is told from the perspective of a newly created zombie named Toothless. He is named that because the injury that killed him took his upper lip and jaw. The zombies in this world are part of an army of undead with the generals being capable of speech and thought. The injury that took Toothless’s life has left him unable to speak so he is cursed with the ability to think and plan without having the ability to share these thoughts with his fellow zombies. It did not strike me as a completely original idea, but the more I thought about it the more I struggled to come up with another example.
The second part of the story is told from the perspective of a young girl with a psychic gift. Her gift gives her a deformed look that singles her out as being different. The frustrating part of this story is that most of the strong character development moments for the zombie occur while the story is being told from her perspective. Because of this as listeners we don’t know what is going on inside his head or why he makes the decisions that he makes. Since he starts behaving drastically different during this part of the story I personally felt like I was missing key plot points. It didn’t detract from the story pacing or hurt the overall story. In fact it helped to present a different perspective on the main character and helps to humanize him by referring to him only as the name he used before dieing. I feel that the story could gain much though by taking the time to tell these moments from his point of view as well. Perhaps even a short story set during this time would be good.
The Final part of the story is once again told from the zombie’s perspective. You see the struggle in his mind between who he was, what he became, and what he is now. These are all distinctly different and it is interesting to hear his thoughts about people who look at him now as a hero. This further drives home the feeling that we missed out on part of the story while it was being told from another character’s perspective. There is a sense of hopelessness in the final part of the story as these characters struggle against an enemy they do not truly believe that they can defeat. They accept that they will die, but still move forward because in a world where the dead are expanding and sweeping across the land there really isn’t any other choice.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this podiobook. The sound quality was excellent and the choice of music was spot on. I did not notice a single case of poor sound editing like I have complained about in previous reviews. The sound was consistently level and because of the perspectives of the book having only a single narrator worked very well. From a purely technical standpoint this podiobook is an example of how to do it right. I suspect it was this as well as the writers ability to explore a character that has done truly horrible things while still have you rooting for him that led to the tile being picked up for publication.