Title: Red Hill
Author: Jamie McGuire
Rating: 4/5 stars
“When the world ends, can love survive?
For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.
When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.
Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?
Red Hill grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go until its stunning conclusion. This is #1 New York Times bestselling author Jamie McGuire at her unforgettable best.” (description from Goodreads)
I’m torn about my feelings for this book. It’s one of the few times (maybe even the first) when I’ve read a book that was a definite 5 star read, one that would be a contender for top book of the year, but then the ending changes that reaction drastically.
For me, Red Hill is a great book. The characters that McGuire writes are very well written and complex. There’s no lack of detail in the setting either. There’s a lot of action when there needs to be and some slower scenes to build up suspense. As I said, about 95% of the book was one of the best I’ve read in awhile, especially in the zombie genre.
It wasn’t until the end that I had a change of attitude. I don’t like picking at a book for a small part of it, but the ending of Red Hill just doesn’t sit right with me. For one thing, it was predictable, especially given the genre, but that can be overlooked if not for a few other factors. Another thing is that it basically turned many of the main characters into secondary characters. It’s not that they were forgotten, instead they were pushed aside to make way for (even though I considered these characters the underlying main attraction) a few to become the major players. Overall, it felt too rushed. The book was very well written and thought out, and then there was a rush to end the book, almost.
Lastly, and I’ll keep this brief, I felt the epilogue didn’t even belong in this book. I can see it as a way to set up an avenue for a sequel…though I feel it’ll be a very different book than this one and much less believable (if we allow room for some “realism” in the zombie genre). It added an interesting concept, but it was out of place for what I’d just read.
Despite the fact that the ending left me not so comfortable calling this one of my favorite books, a majority of it was great. Spectacular even. I can understand why there’s a great buzz around Red Hill. Just be ready for a possible change of heart come the ending, or not, depends on the reader, I guess.
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About the Author:
Jamie McGuire was born in Tulsa, OK. She attended the Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Autry Technology Center where she graduated with a degree in Radiography.
Her most recent novel, Walking Disaster debuted at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. She has also written bestselling contemporary romance Beautiful Disaster, and the Providence series.
Jamie now lives in Enid, OK with her three children and husband Jeff, who is a real, live cowboy. They share their 30 acres with six horses, three dogs, and Rooster the cat.
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