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“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
― Voltaire

Siege  (As The World Dies, #3) - Rhiannon Frater Was the writing this awful in the first two books? Most likely it was, but there was too much happening to notice, or I was distracted by the zombies. What I notice now is that someone got out her thesaurus and did her very, very best to replace every single "said" with another verb. They confided, decided, answered, suggested and scoffed. It sounds like that point when you know your writing is lacking in skill and sophistication, and you are trying to jazz it up, but can't think of what to do. Then there's the weak attempt to add descriptors. A bit in the pine trees had me annoyed with its 'fragrant' needles and 'crackling' needles (which were they? a little herb secret: usually fragrant and dried don't go together). Even a gun-toting super-Loca couldn't save me when I read about the zombies' "delighted moans" as they chomped on a human feast. Oh-oh. Is someone channeling a romance novelist?"Siege" begins with a variation on the last two books, the image of Jenni waiting for her baby to poke his fingers under her bedroom door. She's fallen asleep on a supply run, and is rudely awakened by a zombie slathering at her car door. They pick up a few more survivors on the way home, after another zombie altercation, and integrate them into fort life, with the exception of Rune, a Harley-loving medium (as in "I see dead people," not the size. Actually, he's a rather large guy). Troubles at the fort peak again, leading to one of the few incongruities I've noticed in the series--an evil character shoots someone in the chest and they stay dead. The violence results in the survivors realizing they lack medical equipment (!), and the solution is to make a run on a hospital, which have been "notorious death traps" (we know this because every character says or thinks so) due to the outbreak first being treated as an illness. The hospital scene is done in best zombie movie style, but it surprised me that we are on book three and the survivors still seem to be failing the learning curve for fighting zombies. On the way out, two of the scavengers are hijacked by a military unit contemplating action against the fort.One thing you can say about Frater is, she knows her character tropes. There isn't much subtlety in the forces of human selfishness here, and that's a shame. Blanche, the fort "Whore of Babylon" (as labelled by Frater in the chapter heading), and her sister, the equally selfish and evil senator, are described without nuance, and run true to every rich-witch stereotype, even though they apparently grew up in the trailer park. They had multiple plastic surgeries, are racist, have affairs, are obsessed with material goods, manipulate men through sex, believe might makes right, and most importantly, they foolishly believe the normal world will return and their wealth will still have meaning. Zombies are such an obvious villain; the interesting part of apocalypse novels is what happens with the human element, and by depriving the antagonists of subtlety, Frater minimizes the drama and opportunities for deeper meaning in her book.Speaking of tropes, when the Vigilante was revealed, I was completely unsurprised, except by the apparent effort to turn him into a schitzophrenic. What a character cop-out--she should have left the character the courage of conviction without mental illness.Ah well, it is what it is, right? Filled with all the best zombie tropes(except for the ones where the heroes turn into zombies as well), it's about what one could expect. This book in the series was a little more self-consciously referential. A little more mystical. I believe there may have been talk of a savior that sounded suspiciously like Terminator. But it was a fast read, a pleasant break, and now the series is done. Hurray for book OCD.