Review by Alyssa
October 2013 by Simon & Schuster Audio
*This book was given to Alyssa for review from the publisher
Amazon + Good Reads
"When the world ends, can love survive?
For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone means fighting for tomorrow is an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.
When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.
Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?
Red Hill grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go until its stunning conclusion. This is #1 New York Times bestselling author Jamie McGuire at her unforgettable best."
Red Hill is kind of a hard book for me to review, to be perfectly honest. While I enjoy Jamie McGuire's writing style (in fact, I think that this is her best work yet), I am just so sick of zombie apocalypse stories. Everywhere I turn - there are zombies... The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead compendium, Warm Bodies... blech. I feel like it's the vampire craze all over again. So, please keep that in mind as you read this review. I think that, if I had read this at the beginning of the zombie craze, I would have been all over this story... but I just can't stomach them anymore!
I was very surprised to see this "type" of book coming from Jamie McGuire - an author who is famous for her immensely popular new adult hit Beautiful Disaster - which I loved. I accepted the copy from Simon & Schuster because I enjoyed McGuire's previous books but I honestly didn't have high hopes for this one. I figured that McGuire was great at writing twisted romance novels... but that her talent wouldn't translate into a gritty post-apocalyptic setting but I was very wrong. Like I briefly mentioned earlier, I think that Red Hill is her best work yet. I can tell that she's grown as a writer and is great at crafting characters who exist outside of the typical romance archetype. I can't wait to see what she writes next and I hope that she doesn't pigeonhole herself into primarily writing romance novels. (Pigeonhole... get it? Get it? Pigeon?!)
The story follows three main characters - Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda - and splits the POV between the three. Usually multi-POVs do not work for me but I found that seeing the apocalypse from three different perspectives really helped to round out the book. I would have been annoyed if we could only see out of Scarlet's eyes, or Miranda's eyes, and enjoyed getting to know each of the characters on a deeper level. Though the three MCs have a shared primary goal (to reach the isolated Red Hill ranch in hopes of survival), they each have their own side agendas to contend with which kept the story moving and interesting. A lot of the zombie stories that I've read in the past hit a point where the plot becomes stagnant (cough, The Walking Dead current season, cough), but McGuire was able to avoid this completely.
I'm not sure if Red Hill is a stand alone or not... though I don't think that an entire sequel is necessary, I would enjoy reading a series of novellas that take place from the secondary character's POVs. I would recommend this read to anyone who is still enjoying the zombie scene!
Have you read Red Hill? Let me know your thoughts!