Review: Mutation Z: The Ebola Zombies

Posted: November 18, 2014 in 2 to 3, Rating, Reviews, Science Fiction, Thriller, Zombie
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Title: Mutation Z: The Ebola Zombies

Author: Marilyn Peake

Length: Novella/52 pages

Genre: Sci-fi, thriller, zombie (kind of?), horror

Author website: click here

Amazon link to purchase: click here

Parental guidelines: More than likely teen appropriate, some threats of violence and graphic descriptions

Description:  Ebola, one of the most feared of the hemorrhagic diseases, has begun spreading across the borders of West African countries.  The CDC and the World Health Organization have admitted they are losing control over the disease.  Some hint at a possible worldwide pandemic.  At exactly this point in time, Emma Johnson graduates from nursing school.  She takes a job in an Ebola treatment camp inside Liberia, West Africa.  The camp is state-of-the-art.  It’s run by the CDC and the World Health Organization, and protected by the U.S. military.  Emma uncovers a secret about this facility: medical experimentation is being conducted along with treatment.  Whether or not Emma can ever escape the camp, she’s determined to get the story out.  She has intimate knowledge of a biological horror being secretly unleashed upon the world.  NOVELETTE.  GENRES: Apocalyptic Science Fiction, Zombie Fiction, Conspiracy Fiction, Horror.

RATING: 2.3 out of 5

As always, I purchased this book from Amazon for $.99.  I don’t receive anything from the author except possibly having them share my site on social media.  The opinions are all my own and are to be taken humorously and not in a serious manner.

Ok, so Mutation Z…Well, this book to me, was like the kid in little league, who tries really hard, and loves to play.  But in the end, he just gets a participation trophy and plays right field.  It’s kinda like Rudy.  Believe it or not, it is actually hard to pick apart someone’s work, that they’ve poured hours, days, possibly years into.  Especially, when you’re a writer yourself, and know how tough it is to write a book and put yourself out there.  Mrs. Peake was extremely nice in her request of this review and I wish her the best, but (we all knew the ‘but’ was coming) I just couldn’t get into this one.

I have to say, I was already in a humorous mood when I started to read this book.  I have a running joke with some buddies that anything can be blamed on three things: Obama, Ebola, and gluten.  So just seeing the title made me chuckle a bit, and I was ready to dig in.

Ok, so for the synopsis.  Emma Johnson has just finished up nursing school and heads to Liberia to treat Ebola patients.  She soon meets up with Zoe Kinoshita (another nurse I believe) and they are met by Dr. Gustav Tovar who immediately begins barking orders at them for their own safety.  Long story short, they start treating patients, a boy dies (so Emma thinks), she’s possibly drugged along the way, people are Ebola zombies, the end.  I don’t want to give too much away.

So, where to begin?  It’s really difficult to pinpoint one glaring thing that I didn’t like, it’s almost like you have to read it for yourself to see.  The writing just seemed awkward, for lack of a better term.  Weird combinations of words and descriptions, crazy similes, etc.  If it’s one or two of these it’s fine, but they seemed to carry out through the entire book.  Although, oddly, the editing (at least proofreading) seemed really good.  I didn’t really spot any typos, only one section of odd looking dialogue, but that was it.  But back to the weirdness, here’s an example:

“Off in the distance, long, squat turquoise buildings appeared littered throughout the forest, thrown there like Lego blocks from the hands of a careless God.”

Come again?  A careless God?  Slingin’ Legos around?  I mean, it sounds like a righteous party (especially if it’s Star Wars Legos), in the right context.  But here?

Four sentences later:

“The gates opened and closed, like the eyelids of a sleepy metallic jungle beast.”

Say whaaa?  Like some kind of Terminator gate?  Do metallic jungle beasts sleep?  I guess, maybe they need to plug into their USB port and recharge, if they are electrical.  Ok, I’m on board now.

There are plenty more and this went on throughout, but I’m not going to sit here and pin point every single little detail.  So at this point, we get to where Emma meets Zoe and they get to the medical camp.  At this point, everyone is rude to them and it’s almost like they’re in a military camp.  I mean, I’ve never been to Liberia, but I thought people trying to help would at least be treated with a little courtesy.  Like, “Welcome to our country, thank you for risking your lives to save us.”  Not getting an R. Lee Ermey ass chewing Private Pyle style.

About this time I realize I’ve got to do something to liven up the story or I won’t be able to finish it.  I have to assign new names, shake things up a bit.  Zoe Kunishita becomes Zoe Can o’ Shit and Dr. Gustav Tovar becomes Dr. Two Farts.  I imagine–in my own subplot–it’s because he always farts twice before walking anywhere.

Ok, the story is getting more interesting.  Dr. Two Farts rips Can o’ Shit’s head off for going barefoot, I mean, you can get Ebola from the ground.  Duh!  They bleed and piss and vomit right in that dirt, this ain’t ‘Merica, land of indoor plumbing!  Sadly though, Emma and Zoe end up with a different doctor as their supervisor, a lady named Doctor Steele whom I couldn’t think of a clever name for.  This made me sad, I wanted my Two Farts back.

The dialogue wasn’t done very well either, I really couldn’t get into the conversations.  They felt robotic, like a porn movie.  At one point a loud gong is banged, to wake everyone up for a ‘mandatory’ meet and greet they were invited to.  I thought the last person to bang a gong was John Bonham before he died in 1980, but it’s the Liberian jungle, so who knows.  At the meet and greet, the girls sneak away and see what happens to be one of the Ebola zombies with skin falling all off of it. I think some local lady was performing a religious rite.  That may have been later though.  Apparently, they’re genetically engineered for this to happen during a full moon, but it can be made to happen anytime, depending on the trigger.  All of a sudden, I’m elated as Two Farts shows up and surprises them.  He must have been harboring silent flatulence this go around, because he is stealth-like.  After sufficiently surprising them, he gives them some drinks and they black out.  When they wake up Emma turns to epic self-detective measures that shocked the living bejesus out of me:

“I ran into the bathroom.  I locked the door.  Slipping out of my nightgown and dropping it to the floor, I checked myself from head to toe for bruises in the full-length mirror.  I lay down on the floor, lifted my butt up until I could see my private parts in the mirror and then inspected myself for tears or bruising.  I picked up my underpants and smelled them.  I didn’t appear to have been raped.  And nothing hurt.”

What tha fuu??

I tried not to laugh, because it’s really not funny.  But yeah, after sitting there catatonic for a moment, I chuckled.  I was ashamed.

The story is written in the first person, so I at least thought I’d connect with Emma.  It was just so weird, I couldn’t really get into it.  She wasn’t really that interesting to me.  She had moments where it seemed like she maybe had bad anxiety which gave her some character, but other than that she was pretty flat and I was distracted by the prose.

I also have to mention the second planned use of Mutation Z, because this was possibly a game changer when deciding on whether or not to run zombie studies on people.  If Africa got out of control, the U.S. military could use zombies as “vulture-like creatures to pick the human carcasses clean and restore Africa to pre-Ebola status.”

I had to read that twice.  The U.S. is going to use Zombies, infected with Ebola, to go eat all the non-zombie Ebolites, and then Ebola will be gone?  Seems legit.

She does do well with the character of a little boy who has contracted the disease.  He seems to only want his mom and it tugs at the heart strings a little, but it too gets lost a bit.  Then the description of his ‘alleged’ death was pretty graphic, but also one of the only times I felt something while reading.  I also liked the cover art a lot actually, but I’m not sure if it was designed by the author or not.  I don’t know, maybe the author just isn’t my style, or this just isn’t the right genre.  I don’t want to give much more away, it seems like a decent twist may be coming since it’s a lead into a series, but I probably won’t check out the next one, as much as I long to see what Two Farts and Can o’ Shit are up to.  I hate saying that, I really wanted to like it.  I just couldn’t.  Overall a 2.3 out of 5.

  1. Eskimo says:

    Thank you!!! I will now NEVER read that book. You saved time in my life, and I am forever grateful.


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