I’m beginning to realise that my recent taste in novels has been pretty horrendous. I think I need to stray away from the bargain bin in Amazon and stop believing the overall rating that books are given on that site.
Case in point: Ella, the Slayer. Plot: Cinderella vs Zombies. Be warned, this contains a couple of minor spoilers.
Oh dear. This book was excruciating to read at times. So, let’s go over the details. I’ve been dying to do this since I turned the first page.
First of all, the author, A.W. Exley is not a terrible writer. Hang on, let me clarify. Exley has a good writing style. She captures the post WWI era very well in both her use of language and milieu. However, I do feel that she falls short by setting her story in Somerset, England. First of all, I get the impression that she’s never actually been there. She describes the countryside in a way that one would if they’d seen a lot of Jane Austen adaptations. Not to mention, her country folk don’t sound like they’re from the area. Also, when it comes to her characters colloquialisms, no distinction is made between the working class and the noblemen (the whole English class system plays a massive role in her story BTW). The kitchen staff sound as well-educated and non-descript as her Dukes and Ladies. The only difference seems to be that the working class folk are friendlier. And apart from the odd English-sounding slang thrown in every now and again, her book could have been set in Vancouver or Connecticut.
Moving on, I need to discuss Exley’s tendency to waffle because this becomes evident from the very start. Yup, she begins her book with a quick history lesson. You know, about what the world was like for Ella growing up, and then the war, and then the zombies… so uh, where are the zombies exactly? Oh right, one of them will show up in a little while, but you have to finish several pages of backstory first before you get your dessert. Ugh. She should have started the book off with a bang and had Ella beheading a zombie from the get go. The reader didn’t need all that info-dumping to understand what was going on. Especially since Exley goes into more detail/info-dumping as you get further into the book. Pretty much every chapter starts off with Ella’s reflective thoughts on life, love and how it’s crap being her. So, if you’re one that has little patience for endless paragraphs of a teenage girl’s droning on and on about her life, just do yourself a favour and skip this book entirely.
BTW, Exley likes to repeat herself… a lot. So, once you’ve gotten through a few paragraphs of Ella’s thoughts, be ready for those same thoughts to be regurgitated later on. Just FYI.
OK, so after all of this, surely it can’t get any worse. Oh it does indeed. Believe it or not, but Exley manages to create an ass-kicking, Katana-wielding, tomboy (who also happens to be pretty—duh), and then tears her down into a snivelling, passive weakling. Why? Only Exley can answer that. But the scene where Ella’s evil stepmother manages to lash her until she is unable to stand played heavily on the entire story. I mean, how the hell did two spoiled brats who sleep all day (Ella’s stepsisters) manage to hold Ella down in order for her to receive the lashing? Ella, who has been wielding a Katana since she was a kid and who has killed hundreds of zombies in less than a year, was held down and—get this—didn’t even try and fight back. AAARGH! I was so angry with Exley for writing this scene. Maybe she wanted to show how evil Elizabeth was, I don’t know, but she ruined Ella for the sake of her villain. After that, every moment that Ella spent being the kick-ass heroine, I just didn’t buy it.
But, hey, it’s OK that Ella was beaten senseless because she only takes a few hours to recuperate and then attends the Duke’s ball where she dances the night away. Forget about how a good lashing would send most grown men to the ICU. Oh no, not Ella. She’s got like… vampire blood in her or something.
Good lord, this book was so bad. I’m glad it’s over. I will not be reading the sequels. I probably won’t be reading anything else written by Exley either.
Expect lots of this
And not so much of this