The Scattered and the Dead Book 1
By Tim McBain and L.T. Vargus
Ladies and gentleman, yes, this is my first five star raving review. The Scattered and the Dead ruled my world for nearly two weeks. 700 pages of purely raw human behavior and emotion that I simply could not resist. I imagine few book snobs (probably with some annoying creative writing degree) will not care for this book but many others will fall head over heels because I cannot be the only one in awe. Perhaps being in my mid-twenties and possibly in the middle of my mid-twenties crisis, this was exactly what I needed. Deep connections with characters that are in the constant state of an existential crisis. Even though this is set in a post-apocalyptic world, the crisis is really within the heads of the characters. How would anyone react to having all their comforts and distractions torn away? What would you think? How would you handle your own demise?
The book was set up so you are following several characters, some with short stories and some stories that spanned the whole book. Almost like journal entries but is oddly all told in third person. All the characters are set at different times, mostly days away, from when the incident happens. So there is an interesting opportunity of understanding perspectives of the time when the world is falling apart and then seeing the world in shambles.
Now I know what your thinking (mostly because it’s what I thought), oh great, 700 pages of zombie killing and fighting with a happy ending in a post-apocalyptic dream city. I don’t know how y’all feel but I am kind of over this Walking Dead zombie craze (seriously, it’s the same damn story each season). Shockingly this book had very minimal scenes with zombies and I never really felt I was reading a zombie book. The book is really about this world stripped of modern comforts-world of the scattered and the dead- and how this world sculpts these characters. Characters that were everyday people like a family man and a sixteen year old suburban girl to the slightly off balanced trash man all faced with similar crises. Could not help to notice that the book seems to more about the world rather than stories of individual characters. Really an awesome world the authors had created.
I generally hate books over 400 pages because usually after certain point the book does not entail this intricate story line but rather a bunch of fluff to fill pages. Longer does not equal better people. However, 700 pages does not do this book justice and at times it almost seemed rushed. The characters were so dynamic that my I am unable to cope with what they gave me. As the pages dwindled down, I kept saying,”no they can’t wrap it up yet!”
I am pleading for people to watch out for this book, then come back and talk to me. Only problem with reading books before release is there is no one to discuss with obsessively! Oh, and thanks to the authors, I received their book early for reviewing another book. Honestly I loved both! Thanks guys!
I feel as though you can tell which author wrote what character. Whoever wrote Mitch, definitely wrote Travis. Very similar characters and even ended very similar. They died in two different ways but died completely frightened and unable to cope with reality. Travis was a true junkie unfortunately, I rooted for him but I knew anyone with that much drug supplies would not make it long.
Erin, what an awesome character. Wise beyond her years because she had no other option for survival. Her story entails my biggest complaint of the book. So much discussion of the camps and you find out that is where her and Izzy meet that’s all you know! Camps were these horrible and completely useless but there was no discussion on what happened. You can assume but I wanna know! However, I hope that is a plan for book two. The story never ended for Erin so I am hoping she stays! Please!
Teddy was creepy as hell and I was completely obsessed. He was the only character that fundamentally different than all the other characters. He was the only one more satisfied with the apocalypse than with his old life. His only comfort from his past life was the discomfort of small animals. He was what Erin was so afraid of, and I just hope she’s not the girl he finds. Another character that story did not end and almost seemed like it was foreshadowing for the next book.
Now there was a scene with Mitch, maybe a quarter of the way in, is discussing how his life has been filled with distractions like TV, internet, and etc. We only use these distractions to distract our brains from the cruel realization of the inevitable death. I laid in bed for two hours with the haunting realization of how much I really do avoid thinking about how inevitably life will end. How can we be so unequipped to handle our end? How can we waste so much time when we know there is an end? I read this over a week ago now and I can’t get it out of my head.
And the end, I can’t believe Mitch managed to pull the trigger and still in failing to save his children. Happy ending for Erin and Izzy but that hurt a little. So sad, guy had the worst story of all, regular guy who had to kill his wife and himself for his children and failed. Even though he did both.
Baghead, now I was a little confused with and I assuming that may have been on purpose. If anyone ever reads this, please let me know what you think that last line:
“Shoot. Father’s going to have to send a legit assassin if her wants to take out the Baghead,” he said. “I guess he’s got four more cracks at it, eh?”
Anyway, I ignored a whole work day writing this out and I could probably go on for another 700 pages. Hope to find other fans soon!