Book Review: Severed by Gary Fry

20742681Title: Severed

Author: Gary Fry

Genre: Dark Fiction, Horror

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When an unknown virus is unleashed on London, it turns everyone in its path into violent, zombie-like killing machines, leaving their souls separated and floating away to form a giant halo above the capital. Flesh and spirit, dead and alive, they are both. They are severed.

As a beleaguered government brings in scientists to work on an antidote, the problems become even more complex. The virus spreads. The mayhem grows. There’s no solution in sight and time is running out.

Enter Stephen Hobbs, a hard-drinking, womanizing academic with a violent past of his own. Due to his special skill set and experience, he is enlisted to figure out what the virus is and how to stop it. Despite his own demons, Hobbs may very well be humanity’s last chance to survive becoming…SEVERED.

I read Severed on the train back to university, and it was the only book left in my library. If there’d been others, or anything else to do on the train, I doubt I would’ve finished this one. Severed starts out with an interesting premise, but fails to execute.

An unknown virus is unleashed in central London, seperating souls and bodies. The bodies left behind are reduced into nothing more than zombies, although they don’t eat brains, but prefer to randomly attack everyone standing in their way. The government is in over their heads, and tries to fight a way to stop this epidemic from spreading. They ask the advice of Stephen Hobbs, an academic and womanizer who has a violent past of his own, and more than one present-day problem to deal with, such as him getting kicked out of university for sleeping with a student. But Hobbs is apparently the only one with a special skillset and experience necessary to stop this virus.

Now, initially, this premise sounds great. It’s based on the zombie virus trope for sure, but at least it adds in original elements, and spins an intriguing tale around it. This time there aren’t just zombies (the severed bodies are basically like zombies, even though they’re called differently) but we also have a sky filled with souls, just hanging around, waiting to…well, I’m not sure what they were planning to do, exactly.

There’s a lot of head hopping going on. We go from Helen to Ruth (Hobb’s student, who he had an affair with) to Hobbs, to some woman working for the government named Penelope, to a guy making a bomb, to a military man whose name isn’t mentioned. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to invest in any of the characters. If the entire story had been told from Hobbs’ POV, I probably would’ve felt more invested in the story. As it stands now, after the first few chapters headhopping from one POV into another, I had trouble connecting to any character mentioned in the book.

Severd has a nice concept, but the plot and characters are tedious and dissapointing.

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