Apr 8, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak

Blog Tour: The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak
Hosted by AToMR Tours - Check out the rest of the blog tour stops!

Book Cover: The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak

The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak

#1 in The Harvesting series

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Format: Ebook, 396 pages
Published On: September 18, 2012
Source: Received for review as part of blog tour.

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First Sentence: "If you ever need to slice someone's head off, this is the blade you want," I said as I lifted a curved sword off the table in front of me.


I usually don't post summaries, because they may contain spoilers. Instead, I try to do a quick spoiler-free retelling of book at the beginning of my review. But since this is a blog tour, we have to post book description, so here it is:

“To label this a zombie book would be a false pretense . . . this is so much more than that. What you start out with and what you end up with are very different, and those twists and turns in the middle will make your heart beat faster over and over again."-- Colossal Pop

It's all fun and games until someone ends up undead.

Though Layla reluctantly returns home to rural Hamletville after a desperate call from her psychic grandmother, she could never have anticipated the horror of what Grandma Petrovich has foreseen. The residents of Hamletville will need Layla's help if they are to survive the zombie apocalypse that's upon them. But that is not the only problem. With mankind silenced, it soon becomes apparent that we were never alone. As the beings living on the fringe seek to reclaim power, Layla must find a way to protect the ones she loves or all humanity may be lost.

My Thoughts:

Invite for The Harvesting blog tour appeared in my mailbox while I was still in my omg-zombies-are-so-cool phase inflicted by Warm Bodies. After I enjoyed R's adventures, I was in a mood for more zombie shenanigans. The Harvesting delivered large quantities of zombies to keep me satisfied and surprised me with likeable kick-ass heroine and more.

Layla loves her life. She works at Smithsonian, teaching about her greatest passion: ancient weapons. She is not thrilled when she gets a phone call: "Layla, Grandma needs you to come home." But love for her grandmother makes her go back to Hamletville, her childhood home, place of many memories and not all of them are pleasant. So imagine how irked Layla is when, after she dropped everything and came to the rescue, her grandmother refuses to answer any of her questions.

Why did grandmother call Layla? What is wrong? Why the hell is she piling up all those groceries and other stuff? The only answer she gets is: "You'll see." I don't think that the thing Layla expected to see were zombies crawling around and attacking people, but that's what happened. I was not surprised since The Harvesting was advertised as zombie novel, but Melanie Karsak did manage to surprise me, because she did not stop at zombies. Other types of paranormal creatures will make appearance in this novel too: some because they want to help humans and some because zombies are diminishing their food supply.

Zombies by namesjames
Zombies by ~namesjames [image source]

Layla proved to be very likable and strong character. She is not selfish, she tries to help the other people in her hometown, she does not take killing easy.... In one word, Layla makes all the right decisions. And her knowledge and use of ancient weapons, especially her favorite - russian sword called shashka, makes her definitely kick-ass.

In fact Layla is so cool, that secondary characters pale in comparison. I would have loved to get more of their characterisation, since we definitely get a glimpse of some interesting personalities. I think it would have added additional weight to The Harvesting as a novel and made me cheer for them as a group and not just for Layla as a leader.

Cossack shashka sword
Shashka, children cossack sword [image source]

For those who like a little bit of romance, The Harvesting provides that too. As Layla says:

Who would have thought that the end of the world would bring me the one thing I thought I wanted most.

Don't expect a lot of steamy scenes, since people have to fight for their survival, so it's more of like a side story. And although we have a love triangle, it definitely is not one of those annoying and irritating ones. There is a history and a lot of reasons for the love triangle situation and I especially liked that Layla does not lead-on both of them eternally.

Maybe I would have given The Harvesting 4 stars because it's a debut and it managed to add something new to zombie-apocalypse theme but the last chapter ends in cliffhanger and then epilogue is from totally different perspective and follows a group of characters that have nothing to do with Layla. I said it many times and I will say it again - I hate cliffhangers. They should die slow and painful death, just like us poor readers that are waiting for sequels to the cliffhanger-infected-series.

If you are post-apocalyptic zombie novel fan and you don't mind that there is cliffhanger at the end, check out The Harvesting. You will definitely find strong heroine to cheer for and a little bit of action, mystery and romance.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5

I recommend this book to fans of: zombie apocalypse; small town setting; strong kick-ass heroines that are main focus of the book; light romance as side story; ...


There is a giveaway as part of The Harvesting blog tour, so you may be lucky to win and enjoy The Harvesting for free. ;)

  • ONE eBook of The Harvesting (International)
  • ONE eBook or Print copy of The Harvesting and theme t-shirt (US/Canada)
  • Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!!

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