Review: The Army of the Lost by Lily Herne

Recommendations, Review
Image from Goodreads
Title: The Army of the Lost
Series: Mall Rats #3
Author: Lily Herne
Publisher: Much-in-Little
Publication Date:
Source: Reveiw Copy
Rating: 1/5
Synopsis from Goodreads
One of us is dead, one of us is broken, one of us will betray the others and one of us will have to sell her soul to survive . . .

Eleven years after South Africa was ravaged by the walking dead, most of Johannesburg’s survivors are forced to scratch out a living in the filth of Sandtown, an enclave in the old Sandton City mall, ruled over by a minority of rich, self-serving bureaucrats. Tommy, a bullied fourteen-year-old Sandtownite, dreams of joining the Army of the Left, a radical organisation intent on setting the city free of the dead that lurch around its walls. But fate has other plans for him . . .

Betrayed by one of their closest allies and sold to the highest bidder, Lele, Ash, Ember and Ginger – the remaining Mall Rats – find themselves sucked into the dark heart of Jozi’s twisted political system. While Ash is forced to face his traumatic past and Ginger struggles to regain his sanity, Lele goes head to head against Jozi’s most powerful manipulator – a man who has sinister plans for her. Meanwhile, left for dead on the outskirts of Jozi, Saint begins her own journey. A journey that she hopes will provide the answers to all of the Mall Rats’ unanswered questions ..


The Army of the Lost is about four main characters, Tommy, Lele, Jack and Ash, who live in the zombie infested town of Johannesburg, South Africa. They each write in first person in different chapters; although I don’t think the perspective changes between them. This could aid the story because is helps connect them in some ways. This helps unite the characters through thoughts and opinions.

Tommy is a runner raiding the homes of the dead and trading what he finds for provisions and money. Lele has been taken from her old home in Cape Town and bought by the disgusting Mr Coom to become one of his many wives. Jack’s story is rather confusing and I didn’t understand it really. Finally, Ash has been recruited for a very small private army type of thing with a few others. However, he finds himself in deep trouble with one of his few friends when he is forced to shoot her boyfriend. The boyfriend, his girlfriend and ash are all on a training exercise when they fall down a lift shaft into the remains of zombies. We don’t find out why the remains are there. The boyfriend touches a mouth and becomes a zombie. Ash is forced to shoot him because he tries to attack his girlfriend. 
I thought that the characters were rather lazily developed. They all seemed to have pretty much the same characteristics in very different situations. I found the situations that they were in hard to keep track of (that might be why I was confused with Jack’s story) which spoilt the book for me a lot. There were so many different settings and the characters didn’t have any obvious reasons for doing what they were doing or being in the situations that they were in. It took me two thirds of the book to realise that they were all in the same country!
I have to admit I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I’d hoped I would. One of the few bits I did enjoy in this book was the very beginning where Tommy’s job is to salvage things from the homes of the dead. The tension in that part of the book works very effectively in the sense that even if the surprise at the end of the tension isn’t that shocking the tension building MAKES it exciting. He is terrified of finding a dead trapped in it’s old home and instead finds a bully in his group. A perfect example of that technique in action. I think that Tommy was my favourite character as well. He seemed the most unique character out of the bunch because he actually seems to have a job to do and gives us the impression that if this apocalypse actually happened this is what we would be doing.
I disliked pretty much all of this book. The idea behind it is brilliant where everyone left handed is immune to infection and physical violence from other survivors, but the way it has been written is just dreadful. It is too separate and none of it makes sense. That is, until the final three chapters or so where everything is strung together and the characters unite. Some may argue that this is to build tension and create cliffhangers at the end of each chapter to encourage the reader keep going but for me it spoils the book. NONE makes sense until the end which for me means I can’t enjoy the book as I am going through it. It drags out too much and it isn’t worth it at the end of all the buildup.
I am uncertain whether I would read another book by this author. If their other books are anything like this then I wouldn’t waste my time reading it. But I can’t be sure. It could be a one-off bad book. I can only tell by reading another book of her’s. It would be a good book for people aged twelve to sixteen. This is because of the bad language, the suggestive nature of some secondary characters and the overall story. Any younger than twelve it would be inappropriate, any older than sixteen they would find the book to unbelievable and boring.
I personally would give it a 1/5 rating. It was an absolutely DREADFUL BOOK with poor writing techniques and undeveloped characters. However, this is the third book in a series so maybe if I had read the two previous ones this would have made more sense. But as an individual book, stay well away…

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