Book Review: Cassie by Chris Philbrook


I’ve really enjoyed the Adrian’s Undead Diary series and this is final part. Well, kinda, but we’ll get to that.

The story picks up right from the seventh book, The Trinity. Adrian, our foul mouthed hero has met up with the other parts of the Trinity, three individuals important to saving mankind from judgement. As far as they can tell it all hinges on Adrian, if he fails, mankind fails. But what will be the final test.

philbrook cassie aud

When Philbrook introduced the supernatural aspect of his zombie tale, he slowly started to reveal the plans that Good and Evil had and give clues to what the final test would be. This becoming more obvious in book 7, where we learned that Adrian’s girlfriend, Cassie was being held back by the Evil forces. Unable to appear in people’s dreams, or for Adrian to find in the astral plane, something was definitely afoot. Here it’s revealed that Cassie is majorly important to Adrian’s trial and that his guilt over not attempting to rescue her as the world fell apart is a big part of this.

Adrian therefore has to make peace with his lost love, even if this means going into the city which is crawling with the undead. It’s here that Philbrook succeeds in making his crude, violent protagonist a likeable hero, as through his diary entries we see Adrian struggle with this decision and the guilt he feels for putting others in danger for what he fears is a selfish quest.

As ever, Philbrook excels in creating a brutal, tense world of survival and horror, and builds to the climactic showdown well. His use of flashbacks to different characters means that he can flesh out some of the gaps that Adrian doesn’t know about and create some extra tension, cluing the reader into dangers that our heroes remain unaware of. The final showdown is handled well, even if it feels slightly quick given that we’ve had seven books building up to it, but it’s nicely done and there’s some nice closure for some of the supporting players too.

And there’s still plenty of humour from our vulgar narrator along the way too.

What’s kinda irritating is that right at the end Philbrook changes the rules. Throughout the series we’re told of the importance of the Trinity, but right at the end he adds new information that in a way diminishes their role. It does leave the story open to continue, and there are more stories to come, which is cool, but at the same time it feels a bit of a letdown. The whole premise is thrown out.

I’ll still check out the following parts in the series, because I’m fully engaged with Adrian and Co. now and also because I’m interested to see how Philbrook handles the large scale changes to the world he’s built. From now on the undead aren’t the major threat and the focus I presume will shift to how mankind rebuilds from here on.

Verdict: Philbrook’s writing, especially in the diary entries, impresses and he builds the tension well. His handling of the non-diary parts isn’t quite as strong, but he does the job well, even if the final showdown seems slightly rushed. The fact that this isn’t the big finale it was promised to be is a little bit frustrating, but if it means more adventures, then I’m not that bothered. 8/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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