Not sure where to start on this one. I’m not familiar with the works of Chuck Buda and Caged 1 is the first book of his that I’ve read. So, I’m not able to judge the overall body of work by Mr. Buda but I was definitely let down by this novella. The story takes place in a prison during a viral outbreak and zombies come into the picture later in the book. Overall, I think the concept was good and unique but the execution was lacking.
Caged 1 (Zombie Lockup Series) by Chuck Buda
There are some good things about the novel. The pacing was good, the action and plot kept moving forward and I never got bored with it. The concept of criminals locked up in a prison while the world was coming to an end was interesting to me. The evil warden and crooked guards were great in concept. Mechanically, the writing was solid and I didn’t notice any typos or grammar issues.
Unfortunately, this books has too many warts to be given much praise. There seems to be a few glaring issues with the plot. First, it is extremely had to believe that nobody, not a single guard and not even the warden gives two craps about what’s happening to their families. Second, not a single person in the story jumps ship to get home to get to their family. I can understand if the warden is a psycho and doesn’t care what happened to his wife or kids. I cannot, however, believe that not a single guard on duty just didn’t jump fence ( or even attempt to)to get home. Third, the wardens sees a report on TV and all of the sudden starts preparing for the end of the world and assuming everyone on the outside is dying already. There’s no mention if anything is going on in the surrounding area that would lead the warden and guards to think their families may already be doomed.
The next issue I have is every character is stereotypical to the hilt. Not only are they stereo typical but Swede is admittedly, in the book, noted as being a straight rip-off of the Heartbreak Ridge character. All the other characters come out of the prison cookie-cutter. There is zero depth to any of the characters and I’ll grant in a book this length it’s hard to get depth.
Some other things that bothered me a bit were steroids and a zombie book that had little to do with zombies. Steroids by nature are immunosuppressants so there is no way they’d work the way they are used in the book. I don’t expect many people will realize that but anyone with any experience in the medical field will notice it. Zombies are in the tile of the book but play very little role in the book, that’s a big strike.
The last thing on my list for this one is that it is an incomplete book. It’s not a book at all, it’s the first part of serial novel. Perhaps this is the intent, but it’s not stated so in the description. I think some authors focus too much on how best to maximize Amazon with frequent releases. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with authors wanting to make money or trying different strategies. I’m a huge fan of novellas as well but if this is the result of trying to make frequent releases, I’m not sure it’s worth it.
I wasn’t able to find many things that could redeem this one. The author had a great concept but I think this one was dead on arrival. Every author that’s been writing for long enough has a work that stands out as not up to par with the rest of their work. Maybe this is his Tommyknockers. I haven’t read any of his other books but they get good reviews I can only assume that they are better than this one. Maybe it will be the case that you have to read this one to get to better stuff in the next book in the series.
I really hate to write such a negative review because I understand when you write you’re pouring a lot of yourself into it. It’s not easy to put the amount of effort into something like this and put it out there for people to destroy. I have a ton of respect for any author that finishes a book, they’ve accomplished something I haven’t. My purpose here is to give constructive feedback and to give potential buyers my honest opinion.