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A Book, Reviewed: Fighting To Survive by Ray Printer Friendly

One of the few stipulations I made when I got my job a while back was that I would not eat 88-cent hotdogs. See, I've been living off of my princess for a while now, taking a pile of hours instead of balancing school with a job, like intelligent people do. So when she asked tentatively what kind of plans I had for my new flow of income, I told her it was up to her.

"What if I just want to put it all towards getting our credit cards and student loans paid off?"

"Fine with me," I told her. "Under two conditions.

You see, when she decides to get hardcore about paying off debt, she goes hardcore. You get ten cents back after buying a pack of microwave noodles, she deposits it into the bank and uses it to pay down a credit card. And it works, man. When you apply literally every extra cent towards paying bills, you get them paid off pretty quick.

But it sucks, because you never have any money. Ever. Also, you can't let her grocery shop when she gets like this, because she buys cheap-ass food that's like a half-step above dog food. Not that fancy makes-its-own-gravy dogfood, either. The crap that's mostly sawdust and horse eyeballs.

The last time she went on a bill-paying bender, she brought home a pack of 88-cent hotdogs. I took a bite and almost threw up. Spit it out in the trash, ate the bun, and went to bed pissed off. She's a trooper, so she ended up eating the rest of the hot dogs for supper each night. I had whiskey, if memory serves correctly.

It was not a pleasant time. So this time, I wanted it to be different. Two conditions: no 88-cent hotdogs, and I get to buy two books with every paycheck.

Although these seemed like very reasonable and feasible stipulations, there has been somewhat of a compromise. I only get one book per paycheck. And although we haven't had the 88-cent hotdogs, yet, we're dangerously close. We did end up with this weird turkey that was on sale, and I've lost three pounds since she started doing budget shopping--most of the time, it's better to just drink a glass of water than eat the crap we have in the refrigerator.

Still, though, I get a book every two weeks, and that's pretty awesome. I'm not talking used books, either, although Half-Price books has been beckoning me. I decided I wanted to show support to people who maybe haven't made it into the big-time just yet. Indie authors, internet writers, people who are under the radar.

So each paycheck, I get online and buy a book. I would like to tell you about one of them right now.

Fighting To Survive

If I would've known how long it was going to take me to come up with a mediocre picture for this post,

I would have just jacked the artwork from her blog.

I was worried about this book, I gotta tell you. The first time I read Rhiannon Frater, I was inspired enough to write a post about it (you can read all about that here). I really liked her writing, and wanted to read some more of it. Not bad enough that I'd drop my ban on vampire books (which she also writes), but still.

I knew I would be purchasing the second book in the As The World Dies trilogy.

So I did. I bought it and I was childishly excited as I unwrapped it--it was like Christmas morning, but without all the cigarette burns and tears.

And then I put it on my shelf.

You know what sucks? Part two of pretty much everything. Part one will be awesome, and part two is a razor-teeth blowjob, and then number three is either awful or it's okay. The second part of the story is never any good. I'm pretty sure that's why they call pooping "number two." Because it's shit.

That's just how it goes. My theory is, it's because the creator gets that first story, and is kinda done with it. But then they get money thrown at them and go, "Sure, I can do some more." So they dump out whatever crap they can, in the shortest amount of time. Or even worse, they make the second part knowing that there's going to be a third, so you don't get a complete story. You get the middle, and then you have to wait.

That pisses me off to no end.

There are exceptions, of course, but they are rare, so it's usually best not to get your hopes up.

I really dug the first book in this trilogy. I didn't want to ruin it, didn't want the storyline to die an Elvis death, all bloated and shitty and nothing like it could have been. That is why the second book went onto my shelf for two weeks instead of being opened immediately and consumed like a meth-head's bathtub dope.

And then I read it. In one day, because I didn't want to put it down. People say that shit all the time in reviews, "You won't want to put it down." I live the kind of life where if I don't want to put down a book, I won't. But most books don't demand that kind of attention.

This one does. If you like zombie stories at all, or if you like horror stories at all, you need to read this book.

Frater writes characters I can believe, she writes a story that I want to read, and she writes it in a way that I can fall into it. Serious talent here, boys and girls.

"What's it like?" My princess asked me.

"Horror," I told her, "But more."

More, because it isn't just the regular bullshit, the there's-another-zombie-about-to-eat-you kind of stuff. There are zombies, yeah, but there are people dealing with people, with themselves. It's not just a zombie story, although the way this chick writes horror, just a zombie story would have been enough.

I hate to do the cliche thing and compare Frater to Stephen King, but I remember the first time I read a Stephen King story. I was in fifth grade, and although I was scaring the absolute shit out of myself, I couldn't stop reading. I had to know what happened next. And when I knew, it didn't make it any better.

That's how this book was--I just wanted to know what happened next. The kind of book where you're tempted to flip ahead just to see what happens. To make sure it turns out okay (because there's that part of your mind that tells you of course it doesn't turn out okay, and that part is right a lot of the time).

I'd expect myself to be too old and desensitized to get scared by a mere story these days. Again, Frater bends my expectations over and forcefully violates them, just to show them who's boss.

I finished this book just a little after midnight. I woke up the next morning at four-eighteen, my heart racing, the phantom zombie grasp around my ankle, and the nightmare still fresh enough in my mind that I could enjoy it.

So, yeah...good stuff. Buy it here. And look, I know people pimp shit on the internet all the time. If you don't like horror stories, don't even click that link. I don't care. But if you've been sitting around craving a good horror story, this is the way to go. It's better than whatever nonsense Koontz has crapped out lately, I promise. It's better than the glittery vampire garbage. Hell, man, it's better than Stephen King's last few books, for sure.

Could it use some super-pro editing? Yeah, a little. I found a couple mistakes, and there were a few sentences that could have flowed a little better. But even with that, it's the best horror story I've read in years, hands down.

Note: Throughout this post, I linked to the author's Createspace account, because that's how she makes the most cash off her books. I haven't ever actually used Createspace to make a purchase--I found her first book at Half Price Books, and ordered the second one off Amazon, because I didn't know she made more money the other way. If you can, buy the books through the above links. If you'd rather, though, here's a link to her Amazon page.

Another Note: Between the time that I wrote this post, and the time that I put it online, she put her third book out. Only the Kindle version is available on Amazon, but you can get the print version here. Which I'm going to do. Right now.

posted 8/15/09

Entered By QueBella From The Hinterlands
2009-08-15 16:02:27

Someday, when I make it big and famous, it is my every intention to hire you for pimping my work. I'm not a zombie-lovin' kind of reader. Just ain't - but reading your reviews makes me think, maybe I should give it a whirl...

Entered By Ray From Austin
2009-08-15 21:02:31

When you get big and famous, there will be special people who make sure people like me aren't allowed anywhere near you or your work. But if you have a book, I will pimp it before those people show up with their fancy lawsuits and briefcases and shirts without stains on them.

Entered By Rhiannon Frater From Austin, TX
2010-01-06 18:05:53

I love your reviews of my books. They always make me laugh and smile. And then I send the links off to everyone I know (including my agent and producer). I hope you enjoyed As The World Dies: Siege. I think it was one of the hardest books I have ever written.

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