Customer Reviews for

City of the Dead

Average Rating 4.5
( 44 )
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  • Posted November 11, 2010

    Engaging read, but ultimately absurdly nihilistic

    SPOILERS ABOUND IN THIS REVIEW! I've read 3 of Keene's books now--this one, its predecessor, and their even more depressing cousin, "Dead Sea." While I admire Keene's writing in many ways, I ultimately found all 3 books to be rather pointless in terms of having any meaning beyond being prime examples of post-9/11 nihilism. To make my own meaning clear: at their core, these books virtually cry out the nihilistic mantra of "life is without meaning, purpose, or value." The world ends. That's it. Lots of well-conceived words to get there, but that's it--you're dead. All of the values that used to be embodied in books, movies, and TV stories (i.e., in pre-9/11 art) about the value of human life, the noble aspects of sacrifice, the redemptive power of love, the basic urge towards growth, and even the existence of God are all summed up by Keene's zombie books as ultimately meaningless. And while Keene isn't the only author to convey this root meaning in writing since September 11, 2001, he is one of the most adept at burying a nihilistic message in "zombie art." And, so while I often enjoyed the journey (i.e., the author's writing ability is usually impressive), his "message" is one that I hope gets left behind with the closing of this decade. I long for stories that have some meaning other than to say that life has no meaning and that we're all going to die no matter what we do or how hard we try. If anyone doubts my analysis here, I will point to Keene's "Dead Sea" where he has one of the characters (the professor) describe the protagonist's role (the young, gay black man) as the "hero." When I read that passage I understood how cynically Keene plays with his readers--he blatantly points out (in the middle of his nihilistic story) that there used to be heroes in literature! When I got to the end (where everything and everyone including our gay hero dies), Keene's cynicism in having a character point out the hero/warrior/etc. roles simply astounded me (and not in a good way). That said, I will say that "Dead Sea" is better written and more engaging than this "Rising/City" duo. Here are a few things I found disappointing in this two-part story: --> The protagonist is so 2-dimensional that by the time he fires up his flamethrower, I was literally cringing at the cynicism inherent in this character's main motivation ("I love you for infinity"). --> The plot borrows too heavily from Romero's "Land of the Dead" script (big tower fortress, madman at the helm, eventual overrunning by zombies). Huh? No new ideas Keene? --> While a different slant for the genre (and inverse of Romero), I just couldn't get into the idea that a dimensional rift caused by scientists somehow unleashes the cast-outs of heaven/hell. Maybe had there actually been some "good" power (like, maybe, God) involved in the story it could have worked for me. But, then, the whole nihilism point of the story would be lost. Did I mention that this story is about nihilism? --> Speaking of God, where is He? I'll tell you: he's tied up somewhere crying. Keene does throw us a bit of a bone near the end with the idea that everything has a soul, but it's too little, too late. --> Killing off Martin (the one link to God in the story) at the beginning. Astounding plot twist.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2008

    Is this the same book that everone else is reading

    This is more of Demon book and not a zombie book. The end of this book is a real let down. Nothing happens, The story just seems to go around in circles. The story teller relies on gore ' that I like In most books' and not on a good story line. save your money

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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