fiction / science fiction

Review: Black Tide Rising

I’ve been reading John Ringo’s tales for well over a decade now, and I always look forward to them… except I wasn’t sure about this series. Although I’ve written a bit about zombies, most of what I have seen or read was, well, more humorous than anything. Human physiology just doesn’t work that way.

But this is Ringo. So I tried it out, and was sold. His usual fare: fast-paced storytelling, well-developed characters, real-feeling world. As a long-time fan, I was amused by the number of people I ‘know’ in the books, other fans who were redshirted or tuckerized into the books. But above that, it reminded me of something I had been unconciously missing in my recent reading.

I’ve been reading a lot of newbie authors (and one aspiring to lit-ew-ary status), and while with them I have to work to stay in the story, reading Islands of Rage and Hope was an immersive process. I didn’t read it all in one sitting – physically impossible with my schedule – but I will go back and re-read it. Which is rare for me, these days. He does a superb job of making the reading easy. I’m still trying to analyze what it is, and why it works for me.

It might not work for everyone. If you prefer things like the literary tome I’m struggling with, you probably won’t appreciate the taut plotting of Ringo’s work. I like to have forward momentum, rather than pages droning on about the moles on a demon’s back (yes, really… no, I’m not giving the name of the other book). But if you enjoy character development, rather than navel gazing, this book (which wouldn’t stand alone, you do need to start with Under a Graveyard Sky) is an excellent example, as we have two young women finally coming of age, and to grips with their new role in a new world.

I’m looking forward to the next one already.

If you haven’t tried the series yet, start here. This is an essay on the Zombie Apocalypse that is… really scary on some levels. Not humorous at all.


not Trixie

not Trixie



15 thoughts on “Review: Black Tide Rising

  1. Love the series. It gives the zombie plague an extremely possible start. And the way the characters react to the collapse of civilization and how to survive the aftermath. Epic read. Have you read “Patient Zero” by Jonathan Mayberry?


  2. One of the things that typically annoys me about the post-apocalyptic subgenre is how much of it is zombie related.

    Except for Ringo’s zombie series. I read it because it was Ringo. I’ll keep reading it because it’s Ringo. Oh yeah, and because it’s an awesomely fun ride. 🙂


        • I’m working on a book with a plague in it… I worry about it having been done before, but honestly, if the story is good, the plot is solid, and there is engaging action and characters, most readers don’t mind. There is, after all, only so much new that can be done without getting totally weird.


          • I’ve got a second post-apocalyptic series in mind that follows a bio terror attack that works a little too well. Of course, mine is about the aftermath, rather than the plague itself.

            The truth is, there aren’t many disaster, apocalyptic, or post-apocalyptic settings that haven’t been done. However, like you said, if the story and all the trimmings are good, no one will care.

            At least, that’s what I’m hoping. 🙂


  3. Now that’s a cool coincidence. I just spent the past couple weeks reading the series (I am an unashamed binge-reader), and I’m about twenty pages from the end of Islands of Rage and Hope. It is an awesome series.

    Not for everyone, mind you.

    if you like your zombie apocalypses filled with too-stupid-to-live “survivors” (who are remarkably light on the whole “survival skills” thing), waiting to see which one of the idjits is going do die horribly next… not gonna be your thing. But if you like a zombie apocalypse with survivors who have more than two brain cells to rub together (ones that actually know how to *survive*), along with something sorely lacking in 99% of the zombie fare out there — hope — this is definitely your thing.

    Oh, and in addition to having hope, it has Faith, too… And charity, as well. But only for three days.


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