Friday, May 6, 2016

Book Review of Ella, The Slayer by A.W. Exley

Goodreads Summary: Ella is an Edwardian Cinderella with an undead problem…
The flu pandemic of 1918 took millions of souls within a few short weeks.
Except it wasn't flu, and death gave them back.

Seventeen-year-old Ella copes the best she can; caring for her war-injured father, scrubbing the floors, and slaying the undead that attack the locals. Vermin they're called, like rats they spread pestilence with their bite. Ella's world collides with another when she nearly decapitates a handsome stranger, who is very much alive.

Seth deMage, the new Duke of Leithfield, has returned to his ancestral home with a mission from the War Office — to control the plague of vermin in rural Somerset. He needs help; he just didn't expect to find it in a katana-wielding scullery maid.

Working alongside Seth blurs the line between their positions, and Ella glimpses a future she never dreamed was possible. But in overstepping society's boundaries, Ella could lose everything – home, head and her heart…

Goodreads Rating: 3.68 stars with over 700 ratings
Genre Listing: Fantasy, Horror, Zombies, Young Adult, Romance, Paranormal, Fairy Tale Retellings
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Reading Challenge: Pop Sugar Challenge, A Book with a Blue cover 7/40 books.


Edited 12/1/2016

I apologize in advance; this review is going to be a bit spoilery. I need it to be to be able to collect my thoughts.

When I first saw this book in the Kindle store, I had to read it. Cinderella and Zombies? Hell to the yes! I went into it thinking it was going to be totally and cheesy, but I had to read it. Overall, I thought it was decently done and entertaining. I had a hard time putting it down.

I like Ella. I love that she's not afraid to get her hands dirty and behead some Zombies. She's extremely loyal. I enjoyed that her relationship was able to bounce between being smitten but also, able to focus on the task at hand (killing zombies.) I didn't find myself smitten with Seth. I didn't hate him, just didn't have any actual feelings towards him. I thought Alice and Frank were adorable. I found Elizabeth and Louise to be particularly awful, so job well done there.

I thought the concept of the Zombies functioning like a Beehive was interesting, and honestly a little weird. It gave the whole Zombie a genre a different aspect, which I enjoyed. I think when you're doing a topic that's overly popular it's important to have something that makes it different.
I was intrigued at how the author was going to be able to incorporate Cinderella with Zombies. I like that a lot of aspects were kept in the Cinderella story, but were given a new twist. I liked that instead of a Fairy Godmother it was those closest to Ella. I was concerned it would be a Fairy Godzombie. Overall I felt the combination worked well.

There was one detail that bothered me throughout the story. It's not even a detail, it's my perception of the detail, but it nagged at me the entire time. The story takes places in the early 1900s. Some historical details are given for this; there's even some slang that seems like it would fit in the era. The problem for me is this all seemed forced and didn't feel like I was reading about 1918. I can't put my finger on why, but throughout the book, I felt like the story might have initially been set near the Civil War and then was abruptly changed to 1919. I think it was the whole idea of Dukes and Ladies. I admittedly don't read a lot of books set near the 20s, but the use of Dukes and Ladies seemed out of place for the period. (Yes, I'm aware they still exist, but in the capacity, they were used seemed off.) This could just be my perception of what I was reading, but it honestly put a damper on the whole book for me.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I couldn't get past that perception. That's ultimately what's keeping this from being a four moon book for me. I did feel like it had a great sense of humor, which I believe is showcased in a few of the quotes below.

It's a Kindle Edition! So that means I get to share my favorite quotes!

Chapter 4- "Although I couldn't be sure if he qualified as delicious without biting into him, he was certainly handsome." (Heh. Zombie pun!)

Chapter 9- "An Interesting scar, as opposed to a life-threatening one, obtained while defending his country. As if men acquired scars like women did hats. Did they stand around and discuss the best place for a bullet to hit to impress the ladies? A quick bayonet to the ribs, but not too deep, thanks chaps?"

Chapter 14- "They believed it to be a far better that I hang once for a hundred murders, than a hundred people each hang for one."

Chapter 15- "At times you had to laugh, or else run the risk of losing your sanity."
                 - "Well, two of us were going to Hell now, since he lobbed off little Rose's head at the fete. Three if we included the butler. At least I wouldn't ride the fiery highway on my own and there would be someone to serve tea."

Chapter 18- "We must have magic potatoes, if that is what they grow in the dark."

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