I’d almost rather have a zombie chew my nose off than read this again.
(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for rape and misogyny. This review contains spoilers.)
DNF at 75%.
The year is 1347, and the Black Death is sweeping through Eurasia. Sent to dispatch a rogue crusader in a distant kingdom, a regimen of the Church’s army known as the Fiat Lux is summoned to the Vatican to rescue the Pope. Instead they are unwittingly drawn into a vast conspiracy involving zombies, religious dogma, and Jesus and Lucifer.
On the surface, Pestilence is a pretty cool idea: what if the Black Plague was actually a zombie outbreak? The plot line is surprisingly boring, though, and I only really cared about one character, who’s killed off just as he becomes interesting.
Worse still is the dialogue. If I had a dollar for every time “cocksucker” or “cunt” makes an appearance, I could buy an entire case of Daiya cheese. (At the 5% case discount, yes, but still: that shit is expensive!) I don’t have a problem with swearing, but here it’s pathetically overdone, as if it was written by a couple of ten-year-old boys who just discovered the f-word. There’s also some pretty gratuitous female nudity [side eye], as well as a full-page pillage-and-rape panel that’s both wholly unnecessary and obnoxiously insensitive [lighting this Book on fire].
And then there’s the scene that made me throw in the towel (spoilers!). One of the characters is a woman who’s passing as man so that she might serve in the Church’s army. Bitten by zombie, with her and her comrades surrounded by a swarm, she sacrifices herself to save them. And, well, I’ll just let the panels do the talking.
Let me repeat that for emphasis:
So, in apologizing for being a sexist satchel of dicks, the sword that dude falls on is a disparaging term for women [headdesk].
I can only imagine that the author thought he was doing something “nice … for the ladies” here, only to fail in the most epic way possible – and ruin the only redeeming part of this story for me in the process.
I wish I could get the hour I wasted on this book back. Failing that, a giant pot of liquid gold would suffice.
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