I’m a little late with it, but for my participation in the League Mini-Challenge, I picked up Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry, the first Amanda Feral novel. I’ve heard a lot of great things about it and it had definitely earned my interest.
Alive, ad exec Amanda Feral worked hard to wring enjoyment out of her days. Now that she’s a zombie, it’s a different story. Turns out, Seattle is home to glamorous undead of every description, and Amanda – stylish and impeccably groomed even in the afterlife – is swigging cocktails and living large (so to speak) among its elite. But there are downsides. Not being able to stomach anything except alcohol and human flesh, for instance. And the fact that someone is targeting Seattle’s otherworldly inhabitants for their own sinister reasons. Preying on the undead is seriously uncool. The only option is for Amanda and her zombie BFF Wendy and gorgeous gay vampire pal Gil to unearth the culprit among the legions of Seattle’s bloodsuckers, shapeshifters, reapers, succubi, and demons – before they all meet a fate a lot worse than death…
However, I don’t know if I came away from it in quite the same manner as others. First off, maybe it’s just me, but Amanda comes off as really…what’s the word I’m looking for…shallow? You can definitely tell she doesn’t normally think of others first and she’s trying this out for the first time. It’s really noticeable if you take her friends, Wendy and Gil. They are so more interested in themselves than anyone else (unless it’s to remark upon what they’re wearing) that I really don’t find that I have an interest in them. Maybe it’s because in my personal life I tend to steer clear of people like that, but I’m not really a fan of theirs. Amanda…she’s trying and I like that she’s attempting it and she does try to help out her friends when she can (i.e. Bacchus and Claire), but again, there’s this shallowness to her that I’m not totally digging. Granted, there may be more to her character that comes out in Road Trip of the Living Dead, but within Happy Hour of the Damned, she’s not really making me sit up and instantly delve deeper. Again, I’m not a fan of judgmental people and she definitely has that characteristic.
As for the plot, why did I have to wait until page 100 to figure out what it was? Liesl goes missing in the first chapter, but we really don’t get into the hunt until after all the flashbacks of how Amanda meets Wendy and Gil and all the other little things that really have nothing to do with the conflict. Well, I guess it does in the manner of why Amanda is going to such a length for her friends, but that could have been done with less than 100 pages. Once we really got into the meat of the investigation, then I started really flying through the book. I’m not a fan of flashbacks, but give me a really solid plot and you’ll catch me. The one thing I really did enjoy about Happy Hour of the Damned is the twist of how Liesl is connected to the main villain of the story. I’m not going to tell you what that is, but I didn’t see it coming and it surprised me. I like stories that surprise me, especially after I just sat through a bunch of flashbacks. This, for me, really redeems Happy Hour of the Damned.
Overall, it took a bit to get into it, but Happy Hour of the Damned was a solid read. It had its moments and while I didn’t laugh continuously throughout the entire story (like I’ve heard of others doing), there were a few times that were quite amusing. I’m hoping the characters get fleshed out a little more in the future novels, because I like where Amanda is heading. Wendy and Gil, I could care less about. The plot had me entranced once it really got going and I liked the twist at the end. So I would definitely have to say that Happy Hour of the Damned is worth a read and I am going to pick up the second novel in the series, Road Trip of the Living Dead, but I’m not rushing to get it.
Happy Hour of the Damned
Road Trip of the Living Dead
Battle of the Network Zombies