The Weepers (The Other Life, Book 1)

 
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2.9 (4)
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The Weepers (The Other Life, Book 1)
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
May 15, 2012
ISBN
9780761462750
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3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life.

Sherry and her family have lived sealed in a bunker in the garden since things went wrong up above. Her grandfather has been in the freezer for the last three months, her parents are at each other’s throats and two minutes ago they ran out of food. Sherry and her father leave the safety of the bunker and find a devastated and empty LA, smashed to pieces by bombs and haunted by ‘Weepers’ - rabid humans infected with a weaponized rabies virus. While searching for food in a supermarket, Sherry’s father disappears and Sherry is saved by Joshua, a boy-hunter. He takes her to Safe-haven, a tumble-down vineyard in the hills outside LA, where a handful of other survivors are picking up the pieces of their ‘other lives’. As she falls in love for the first time, Sherry must save her father, stay alive and keep Joshua safe when his desire for vengeance threatens them all.

User reviews

4 reviews

Overall rating 
 
2.9
Plot 
 
3.0  (4)
Characters 
 
3.0  (4)
Writing Style 
 
2.8  (4)
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The Other Life (A Room with Books review)
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
I went into The Other Life thinking it was a zombie story, but that’s not exactly right. The Weepers aren’t zombies. They’re more like mutant humans. They’re not undead and can be killed without chopping their heads off. Still, I found them pretty fascinating and didn’t even care that they weren’t zombies.

I like the idea of a disease causing humans to go crazy and change as the end of the world instead of actual zombies. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good zombie story, but it’s interesting to see such a different take on it. The bunkers were an interesting take too. Normally it’s all about how the government collapsed and the world fell into chaos until people could eke out a meager existence and slowly turn into more. In The Other Life, though, they ran away from the problem and hid underground.

Despite my interest in the storyline, The Other Life still didn’t quite do it for me. For one, I didn’t really care for the characters. I couldn’t really connect with any of them. And I know Joshua has been through terrible things, but gosh, that boy is moody. Which leads me to the romance. Or rather, romance? What romance? It was more like: oh look, a boy. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one of those…..Oh, the boy is moody, never mind…..maybe he’s not so bad…..well, look at that, we’re holding hands, I guess we’re together now.
There was no sweetness or wooing or slowly coming together and I wasn’t such a fan.

The Nutshell: The storyline interested me enough to make me want to read the second book, but it didn’t grab my attention and hold it.

Near Miss
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The Other Life - Susanne Winnacker
Overall rating 
 
2.0
Plot 
 
2.0
Characters 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
2.0
I really, really wanted to love The Other Life. The cover was good, the reviews were good, the blurb was good, the book was…not.

What’s it about? The world as we know it has ended – for the West coast of the US, at least – and for the last three years, Sherry has been living in a small bunker with her family. When the food finally runs out, Sherry and her father take a brave and uncertain plunge into the outside world, but they are shocked to find that the rabies virus which originally led them underground has turned much of the remaining population into weepy eyed, flesh eating, canine-like creatures. When the weepers take off with her dad, Sherry must rally with other survivors and fight to keep her family safe. But what is the terrifying truth behind the mutant-making virus?

Sydney says… I hate being negative, but I just had such huge hope for this novel. I’d been considering it for ages before I read it. I heard about it long before it was released, but I wasn’t in a position to request an arc at that stage, so I waited, and last week I finally decided to purchase it. I love dystopian/apocalyptic/zombie lit, but there was zero uniqueness in this text. The writing was lack-lustre, the story line only vaguely present, and while I didn’t mind the character of Sherry, Bobby seemed unnecessarily indignant, mum was weak, and of course a romance had to develop between Joshua and Sherry, even though Joshua seemed like a complete butt hole and the couple had absolutely no chemistry.
I got to the end and wondered what had even happened. Where were the exciting twists and turns? Probably nestled on a beanbag reading a better book…

The Other Life is definitely more suited to a younger reader (12+), and for people who are not well versed in the genre of ‘Zombie Apocalypse’.
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Suspenseful Thriller
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
The Other Life is a suspenseful thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the time I spent reading it. But just when I started to become truly invested in the plot and the characters, it ended and I was left disappointed that such a promising tale was cut short.

Having spent over three years confined to a bunker with her family, Sherry is psychologically well adjusted. Almost a little too well-adjusted. I would assume that that much time spent in such a confined space would have taken some sort of emotional and psychological toll, but she seems virtually unaffected - which was something noticeably lacking. Perhaps her constant counting of days spent without this or that luxury of being above-ground - the feel of impending rain or a cool breeze, for example - is a side-effect of her confinement, but it got repetitive and annoying. I can understand counting the days spent in confinement, but I can't imagine knowing the more minute details - though it did make make her appreciation for mundane things really resonate with me.

Sherry was an ok protagonist - she didn't mope over their situation and took everything in stride - but I was confused about her age. During a particular flashback, Sherry is seen celebrating her thirteenth birthday - but when she meets Marie, she tells her that she is fifteen. The math just didn't add up properly, and I wasn't sure whether her actions were that of a fifteen-year-old, or an almost-seventeen-year-old. Some of her moments with Joshua screamed at her being younger, as did her flashbacks to her school crush Alex, but then there were moments when she was running from Weepers, in search of her father, that had me believing she was older.

The secondary characters were all underdeveloped, and I'm going to chalk it up to The Other Life's length - it was just too short! I was really interested in learning more about Joshua and his fear of entering any kind of bunker, but the meagre explanation we were provided with wasn't sufficient. I wanted more depth, to help explain his mood swings and his reluctance to get close to Sherry, but there just wasn't room for it. I also wanted to learn more about Tyler and Geoffrey, and their surprising insight into their predicament, but again was left feeling like the glimpse we got was merely scratching at the surface.

I also felt like The Other Life's length didn't allow for much world-building, especially after the bombshells dropped towards the end. How did the altered version of rabies escape the lab? If there was an epidemic, which the government claimed was confined to your particular city but would be dealt with in a few days, why wouldn't you just leave the city instead of entering a bunker for the foreseeable future? From the way it was explained, the outbreak was confined to LA. If my government told me to bunker down for a few days while they worked on removing the problem, I'd hole up in a hotel the next state over. How intelligent are the Weepers? Why are some Weepers more animalistic then others? Are the ones who retain more of their human features more human in general? How does a disease that affects the brain also affect physiology? I think some added length would have gone far to answer some of my questions.

Having said all this, The Other Life is entertaining - enormously so. I finished it in one sitting, and would be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to its sequel. I just wish I didn't HAVE to read the sequel to get what I feel should have been resolved in the series' debut.
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Good Read, If Not Especially Original
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Reading this, I could not help but think about one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies, Blast from the Past. If Adam had come up to a world of zombies aka weepers, they would be pretty similar. Ha. Anyway, the whole coming up out of the bunker device creates a nice time lapse so the characters can emerge into a wholly unknown world, as happens in The Walking Dead with the MC waking up out of a coma. This allows for believable exposition to relate how the heck the world came to be this way. It's a good method.

Although this is YA, I thought it read a bit like middle grade. This is largely due to Sherry's voice. She just isn't an especially mature 15, which is hardly surprising since she's spent 1/5 of her life living in a bunker with just her family. Her social development and possibly her schooling have been limited for the last three years.

Sherry is not an especially strong heroine, but she's not entirely useless. She has skills, like knowing how to handle a gun, and she's fit, but she also has terrible aim and wastes bullets because she feels bad killing anything. In short, she's a believable girl, not falling into either the helpless or the kickass category.

Although not actually written in diary format, The Weepers read a bit like a diary. Sherry is obsessed with numbers and constantly relates how long it's been since she's done something, like felt the rain on her face. I actually liked this about her, although I imagine it probably irritated some, but it did make it feel like she was writing everything out and doing calculations. How else could she remember precisely how many days ago she last ate chicken?

I was worried about the romance in the book. I do get a bit tired of the fact that the heroine always seems to manage to find a hottie when the world is ending, but I suppose it might be believable (any port in a storm kind of thing). What saved it for me was the time frame, which I think was longer than it seemed as I read along and that they definitely didn't instalove. Besides, I really like Joshua, and how ruthless/realistic he is about his situation, which is precisely why he and his crew are still alive.

My rating is not any higher simply because I do not feel like The Weepers did much to set itself apart from the host of other titles with this same sort of story. It's a wholly enjoyable read, and I'll definitely read the next book, but I didn't spot anything especially original.
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