Saturday, November 30, 2013

REVIEW: Terminated by Rachel Caine

Terminated (Revivalist, #3) Terminated by Rachel Caine
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

CAUTION: spoilers, rant

The first book was kind of good and really promising. The second book — not so good, because it was too angsty for my taste. The third book (this book) was better. Less on the angst (and Bryn’s internal whining), more of a thriller with Bryn literally taking names and kicking ass. She still whined some but this time she got the message that it is not who, or rather what, you are that makes you a monster, it is what you do that does. About damn time.

+ What I Didn’t Like: a lot

Unfortunately, book 3’s better wasn’t good enough. To see that this book is the final book of the series saddens me. The series had so much potential, but never fully realized it. In book 1 through 2, the story danced around the ethical issues. I accepted this because I thought the issues were going to be dished out in pieces throughout the series. This was back when I was ignorant of the fact that the series was only a trilogy. In book 3, the story completely sidestepped it by paint brushing the entire zombie technology as evil and something that should have never been invented. The book did so much wrong there.

1) Talk about anti-science. Seriously, talk about it. The characters never once thought, “hey, maybe this technology could be modified not to make people zombies but instead to enhance their natural healing abilities (within constraints, without them dead first, of course).” But oh no, the zombie technology is absolutely evil is what the book went for. The technology must be destroyed. Never mind the facts it’s the evil people who use the thing for evil and that there were equally destructive AND MORE destructive inventions in existence.

2) It’s lazy writing, considering that the story is a what-if. This story was about what if death could be cured with a drug. Evidently, that was just a flimsy setting for a mediocre thriller fiction. Largely flash and little substance.


3) And the ending. It sucked! Seriously, a kill switch? Seriously? There’s a blatant deus ex machina if I ever see one. The characters actually thought the kill switch would be the end of things. The fuck it isn’t. They never once thought people might figure out a way around the kill switch of a hack as people usually do because there’s no such thing as an unhackable hack. They never thought that other bad guys might accept the kill switch thing as an acceptable risk, kidnap a bunch of innocent people, and turn them into disposable mind-controlled zombie super soldiers to inflict the maximum damage before the enemy realizes they’re zombies and activate the kill switch... assuming they have the high technology on hand. Hell, they never even thought that invention could still be used as a biological weapon and be modified to make it more contagious, e.g. infect people by air or drinking water. Just because there is a cure for something does not make that something any less dangerous, smallpox for example. Come on! It’s weaponology 101.

Beside the ethical issues, book 3 also skimped out on the Evil Corporation, Massive Conspiracy, and Global Domination plot. The reader never got to learn the entire extent of it. For a story where the world was at stake, it was absurdly provincial. In other words, the story told the reader the world is at stake but what was happening felt more on the scale of a national level rather than a global one. I hardly doubt Americans were the only players in the game, but in the series that was all who the reader sees. If there was any mention of international stuff, it was in the abstract and distance. The farthest and most foreign place the characters ever went in the story was Alaska. Honestly.

Other things I hated was how some Bryn’s allies turned out not to be trustworthy to say the least. After all they have been through together, it made me mad how easily the team could break. Granted, they all pulled through in the end but I felt the side road drama was unnecessary and the time could have been much better spent on world building and plot depth building.

Another thing I didn’t like was how practically all the villains were 100% evil. They were either psychopaths or people just blindly following orders. The black and white-ness of things felt juvenile.

The deaths at the end felt overly dramatic and contrived because obviously the kill switch had to come with a high price. Oh please. Spare me the tragic tough choice. The kill switch could have easily come with no price at all with the way the book made up the science stuff.

The ending was abrupt. I was shortchanged of an epilogue. The series ended with a belief that the loose ends were wrapped up, and they were. But it was in a way that could easily be unwrapped with another book if the author decided to continue the series.

+ What I Liked: a little

The only things I liked beside Bryn’s kicking ass was how the romance between Patrick and Bryn continued without angst and stupid issues. I was thankful that at the very least the series allowed the two to survive at the end together.


I rate Terminated and the entire series 2-stars for it was okay. I don’t recommend this series. It promised a basketful of things it never delivered. I recommend the White Trash Zombie series, a MUCH better zombie series.

Goodreads | Amazon

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