Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Leveling Up by @JR_Tague #GoodReads #YA #Fiction

From Chapter 1-
The electricity ran its course around my body in a matter of seconds, knocking me flat on my back and stopping my heart. And when my heart stopped, everything stopped. Movement and sound ceased. Darkness surrounded me. That enormous pain I’d felt in the seconds before? Gone.
I have no idea how long I floated there in the void; suddenly, time had no meaning. Space felt close and claustrophobic, and yet, at the same time, vast and infinite. It was totally weird.
A soft whisper of light formed off in the distance.
Then it started moving and growing, as the darkness was filled with a low, calm voice coming from all directions. It was a voice impossible to match to a face, to a gender, to a human even. It was not rough, but not gentle either.
“Max. You have arrived,” it said.
I suddenly remembered my dad saying something like that when I was a baby. How had I ever forgotten the way I was propelled from the womb into a shocking world of sensations—everything so loud and cold and bright? How awesome I felt learning how to scream and yell, how snug and safe it was in my mother’s arms. How stupid and endearing my dad looked making faces at me. My brand new brain cells had computed like crazy, trying to orient me to this new world. And now, entering this complete void was the same kind of shock, but in reverse. Everything taken away. Confusion reigned.
Yet I was able to detach myself from any fear or horror at being flung into this place. For a while I was able to watch it all as if it were happening on my computer monitor, to some soulless avatar.
But where was my quest master?
“Where am I?” I asked, hoping with everything I had that the voice would answer me.
“You are in-between,” the voice answered.
“That’s super informative,” I said under my breath.
The shape ahead of me stopped its advance. It glowed brighter momentarily, and then dimmed.
“Who are you?” My voice sounded strange to me. Unreal.
A pause. Then: “I am called by many names: Nergal, Anubis, Hades, Pluto, the Grim Reaper—”
“Holy crap, you’re death?” Anxiety washed over me.
It replied, “Death is a concept bigger than any individual. One cannot be death.”
“Well then, who…what are you?”
The light flickered rapidly. “I am an agent of death. I carry out the necessary procedures once a soul has entered this realm.”
“Like a death god?” I’d read comic books about such beings. I liked them better in 2-D.
“Death god? Hmm.” The light shape moved faster, sending out bright tendrils that quivered in the darkness before taking form. I waited, transfixed by the scene in front of me. “I will be a death god to you.”
A silhouette emerged from the darkness, still forming and evolving before my eyes. When it spoke again the voice was no longer in surround-sound, but emanated from a distinct point in space. It sounded more…human.
“There we go. How do I look?” A man lowered the hood of his long, black robe. A faint glow remained, outlining his body and casting reflected light between us.

Max McKay gets a second chance at life when, after a bizarre accident on his sixteenth birthday, he is reanimated as a new breed of thinking, feeling zombie. To secure a spot for his eternal soul, Max must use his video game prowess as well as the guidance of Steve the Death God to make friends and grow up. As if all that weren’t hard enough, Max discovers that he’s not the only zombie in town. As he enlists the help of his new friends, Adam and Penny, to solve the mystery of their un-dead classmate, Max discovers that he must level up his life experience in order to survive the trials and terrors of the upcoming zombie apocalypse. And, even worse, high school.
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Genre – YA
Rating – PG
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