Deathbringer by Bryan Smith

(No Series)

Hannah Starke was the first to die. And the first to come back. In the small town of Dandridge they all come back. The buried claw their way out of their graves. The recently killed get up and kill. As the dead attack the living, the number of the dead continues to grow. And the odds against the living get worse and worse.

In the middle of it all stands a dark, shadowy figure, a stranger in town with an unspeakable goal. If he is successful, death will rule Dandridge and the terror will continue to spread until all hope is lost. Who can defeat an army of the living dead? Who can stand face-to-face against the...


First, the positive stuff. The book was easy to get into. Writing is simple and easily adapted to as the reader is dragged through the messy, gory ride. The super-quick pace makes it fly by. Action is always happening, even if you don't necessarily care about all of it.

The story is a zombie tale with an unusual plot overshadowing it with different twists added to the genre. Instead of people just randomly rising from the dead for some bizarre reason, a deathbringer (kind of a like a reaper) has decided to go rogue and unleash his special brand of magic beginning with a small town. He unlocks it with the murder of a sweet girl at the beginning and from then all hell breaks loose. There are two types of zombies - some more intelligent than others, designed for a divine purpose, and the rest mindless flesh eaters who ramble along. 

The deathbringer has the goal of converting many into mindless zombies for a brutal type of army, but needs elements in order to achieve his purpose. There is an organization fighting against him, as well as the grieved folks of the first deceased woman which started it all.

Now, for the negatives: the characters are completely unlikeable. Their personalities, the way they're written, their actions, everything. I'm a big character focused person so this dampered the book for me quite a bit. The two main characters are amazingly detestable in almost everything they do. They dominate the page time with cheesy lines and vicious acts. The others, even if I didn't hate them, were written with bare minimum characteristics to where I cared nothing about what happened to them. I couldn't take any of the dialogue and emotions as convincing. 

The violence was heavy, which isn't a turn off in itself if the rest of the book is working, but without other substance I found the constant use of it unpleasant. Frankly most of the death and torture parts just bored me as they were there for a shock story and little else. I think the book could have been improved upon if some of the action was gotten rid of, believe it or not, and more of the characters or the fascinating uniqueness about the story had been fleshed out. The basic plot was a very good one, more details (whether behind the scenes leading up to it, or more in the mind of the villain and what drove him, etc.) would have enhanced it.

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