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Book Review: Pestilence, Volume 1 by Frank Tieri and Oleg Okunev (2018)

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.

(This review is also available on Library Thing and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

This post first appeared on Vegan Daemon, please read the originial post: here

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Book Review: Pestilence, Volume 1 by Frank Tieri and Oleg Okunev (2018)


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