By: Peter Stenson
Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book to review. As is my policy with books that I receive for review, if I don’t like it, I don’t review it.
What if the Zombie apocalypse came and the only survivors were addicts? It’s not a premise that you hear often when discussing the zombie genre. That’s the premise of Fiend, the breakout novel of Peter Stenson. Written from the perspective of Chase Daniels, a meth addict, who comes out of a bender to find the world he knew forever changed, Fiend is a blazing fast read.
I found this book to be a somewhat borderline book for me. The style is something that I just didn’t mesh with. Dialogue is strewn into the prose with no clear identification, leaving the reader to figure out what was said and what was thought. Maybe that was the purpose, but I struggled with it. The three main characters were moderately well developed, but needed more. And most of the secondary characters barely got a name and a few physical characteristics. And, while it’s dubbed as a zombie novel, if you’re planning on buying it strictly for the zombie genre it falls into, you might want to pass on it.
It is a zombie novel, but the zombies felt like little more than scenery that chased the characters into the different situations they found themselves in. Instead, the novel is far more a deeply moving story about addiction and how it plays in peoples lives. From the start, the characters are embroiled in the paranoia, withdrawals, and overall addiction and the real story is in how they deal with the end of their world and adapt to the new world they’re thrust into.
Without giving too much away, it’s a sad story, as most stories about addiction tend to be. Throughout, I found myself empathizing with the characters, as they struggled with the life and death scenarios they fell into, and how they slipped in and out of their addictive fogs.
Fiend is a dark tale about addiction that happens to feature some zombies. The characters, while not fully developed, drew me into their lives and the story of their attempts at survival. Don’t buy the book just because it has zombies in it. Buy the book because you want to read a story that is, ultimately, almost uncomfortably human.