The 100 Books Project: City of the Dead.

“The thrum of the Harley’s engine seemed to have settled deep in her bones, a physical counterpoint to the butterflies in her stomach–and, of course, the worst of it seemed emanate from her extremely sore and overheated ass.”

“Resident Evil 3: City of the Dead” by S.D. Perry

Once again, I’ve marked another Resident Evil novelization off my list, and I feel I can official say that there’s definitely a formula with these books. Not too terribly surprising, when all is said and done, but I thought I would enjoy this third installment more than I wound up actually liking it, and the reasons for this is pretty clear. The book starts out in my favorite zombie story fashion: our main characters, Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, are drawn into Raccoon City for different reasons (it’s his first day on the local police force and she’ll looking to find her brother Chris), and they stumble in to discover that the place is completely overrun with the living dead. Nothing quite gets me like reanimated corpses overtaking some scene of what would otherwise be a normal, average setting; Dawn of the Dead has always been my favorite (right alongside Sean, naturally). So as Leon and Claire’s paths collided and they seek out answers and protection in this world gone made, I was getting ready for My Kind of Zombie Story, where common things are perverted to be horrifying and strange.

I should also note that I’ve never actually played any of the Resident Evil games, though I feel these books give me a pretty good grasp on how the gameplay actually goes. One thing that tickled me when I first started reading this series was how tongue-in-cheek Perry handles certain video game conventions like puzzles and finding random weapons in unlocked rooms. City of the Dead starts out offering us something a little different than the previous incarnations, but we soon find ourselves in the typical secret Umbrella laboratories in other RE adventures, and it’s about then that the formula is obvious and tried and a little boring.

In the first part of the book, with the corrupted Raccoon City and our two main protagonists, the book had a particular focus and an interesting angle. Once Leon and Claire split up and head to the police station, though, the tone of the book almost shifts. We wind up in another Umbrella laboratory like the others, infested with monsters, and we meet a few more characters, too, so we’re constantly flipping POVs in a way that I’m sure was meant to keep the pace going and the action exciting, but it just seems cluttered and schizophrenic instead. The book also suffers from a syndrome that is particularly irritating for me, and that’s having a twelve-year-old character like Sherry Birkin acting, behaving, and being treated much younger than you would expect a twelve-year-old. At some points, this is redeemed, but Sherry is more often treated like she’s half the age she’s supposed to be, and that’s just one of my personal irritations.

Needless to say, I still have three or four books left in this series, and I intend to finish all of them. They’re the mindless reality TV show to my literature-bent brain, and there’s some surprisingly good gems in there. There’s some real turds, too, of course, but I still admire how well Perry can take something like a video game, writing it up into a book, and still have it feel a little like playing a video game but making it work. I just wished City of the Dead had more City….it sounds like Resident Evil 2 is one of those games I’d always just play to the halfway point, because I like the beginning of the game better than what you have to deal with in the later half. And it’s a good example of why I generally liked the Silent Hill games more than the Resident Evil ones.

Books read: 17/100.

Lastly, I always like to acknowledge when I get a new follower, even if that followed baffles me and I’m half-concerned is a bot. The most recent addition to my flock is Marriagecoach1, who, naturally, I’m happy to have on board. At first, probably from playing too much CastleVille, all I could think of was Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, but it’s a blog about marriage, relationships, and sex, so it should be interesting to follow it back, what with the whole Widowed thing and So Irritated With Trying to Date Again things….Either way, welcome aboard!

Also, you’ll notice it’s Friday, but I’m not doing a Flash Fiction post today, which is mostly because the 12 hour work day on Sunday and the 9 hour day at the zoo on Monday has thrown me off course and I just didn’t feel like it today. So there.


  1. I’m intrigued to know why you decided to give some of the Resident Evil books a go after not having played any of the games?

    • LOL, I had them?

      That’s honestly the reason. I inherited a bunch of books of my fiance’s when he died, and the full Resident Evil novelization series was among them. And I thought, “Why not?”

      So far, the prequel is the best one, but I think I have five more books to go.

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