I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Unnerving has absolutely knocked it out of the park with their ‘Rewind or Die’ series! The series focuses on quick, impactful, gory stories that wouldn’t be out of place in those old 70s/80s/90s VHS horror films a lot of us genre-fans loved so much growing up. Zach Ashford’s Sole Survivor is book 6 in the series, and I’m definitely adding it to the growing list of novellas I’ve read & loved this year. This was my second book by Zachary, the first being his Short Sharp Shocks! collection duo that I’ll also be reviewing on my blog here soon! I had high hopes heading into this ’cause of my aforementioned love of the Rewind or Die series, and I’m very happy to say that I wasn’t at all disappointed.
In Sole Survivor, a group of reality TV show contestants are on their way to the game show of their lives when their plane malfunctions, landing them on a deserted island without a way to contact home. The survivors start to plan for a way to survive the ordeal while waiting for rescue, but unfortunately for them, rescue won’t be coming: this is just the beginning of their prime-time hell! One by one, the show’s contestants start getting picked off the island in horrifically gory ways by the local wildlife – terrifying little koala-like creatures that only exist to destroy. In addition to murderous creatures, there are also a few characters amongst the people on the island have some nefarious motives of their own, and I really enjoyed the danger coming from multiple aspects in this one – nothing is safe!
Although I was left a little wanting with the ending, the journey there was a wild ride, and I was flipping the pages almost faster than I could read them to see what would happen next. In between the horror are little snippets of comedy, and I thought that Ashford’s writing sense of humor lent itself well to the fast and fun pacing of the story. Reality television isn’t anything new to pop culture, but having this horrifying island spin on it made for such a fun and unique reading experience and I loved it. Ashford’s ability to write really gross, gory scenes in ways that the reader can visualize perfectly is a skill that not everyone has, and I’m so here for it! I was disgusted by the damage and havoc described on the pages in the best kind of way – I had no idea what ‘drop bears’ were before reading this, and am now thoroughly terrified of them as an idea.
I’m really looking forward to the future for Zachary Ashford’s writing, and am excited to start my next Rewind or Die book soon! Check the series out ASAP if you haven’t already – books are still being released for it, so you aren’t too far behind, and each one works as a standalone story. They’re perfect for the spooky season – or any season, really! Check out my reviews for Benny Rose, the Cannibal King and Cirque Berserk.
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