Published by: Spencer Hill Press on June 4, 2013
Genre: Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Zombies
Source: ARC From Publisher
Buy on Amazon • Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it's in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it's a balm for the broken soul.
After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That's the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating... monsters.
Before anything else, I have a warning for you about PODs. The synopsis you see on Goodreads/Amazon describes like 95% of the ENTIRE book (instead of maybe the 25-45% you usually get). It literally leaves nothing to be explored or discovered when actually reading the book. It kills any kind of surprise by telling you exactly where the plot is going every step of the way. If you want a chance to enjoy the book a bit more, do yourself a favour and do not read the synopsis. I actually chopped off the last paragraph of it in the quote above, in an attempt to at least hide the last quarter of the book from you…
Now onto the book…
I think PODs had a great idea, but it failed in execution. We’re left with a rushed story, a repetitive plot, almost zero world building, an insta-love-type romance and a main character who gets increasingly more aggravating.
I didn’t connect with the romance at all, which was a huge problem for me since the romance is definitely the focus of the book. Since the first 132 pages span over fifteen months everything happens way too quickly and the development is really shallow. Eva and David go from being strangers to being “in love”, but we don’t see any of that development. It literally feels like one minute they’ve never spoken, and 5 pages later they’ve been dating for 5 months. So then when Eva started saying things like this, I just lost it:
We talked. That’s all we did was talk. We know each other, David. Probably better than some married couples. Page 178
They apparently know each other so well, but as a reader, I felt like I didn’t know either of them! And I never saw them talk. I didn’t see them exchange a lot of sweet, intimate moments, that could built into love. That didn’t exist at all. They had like 2 pre-dating moments, but then all of a sudden, they’re in love! Overall I just feel like all the relationships suffered because of how much time is crammed into such a short space.
A huge part of the middle of PODs is dominated with this romance, and the whole time I just kept thinking, When will the zombies come out? And for me—someone who usually isn’t that into zombie books—that’s saying something.
And speaking of zombies, another thing that annoyed me was the lack of world building after they got out of the PODs. Just imagine… a virus takes over the world, select people go into PODs, then they come out over a year later.. what’s your first question? Well, mine is, “What is the world like now?” But as soon as they left the PODs, we got NOTHING. Is the whole country a ghost town? Are the buildings abandoned? In ruins? Do you see people anywhere? Literally NONE of those questions were answered. And then they group up into communities, but again we get very little information. How is the government running things? What are some of the rules and the regulations? What is every day life like? We got nada. It was all about finding David, being with David, blah blah. From day one it’s practically “Resume life as usual.” Eva gets a house, goes to work, goes grocery shopping, people are getting engaged and having babies.. It’s like there was no virus at all (and no explanation).
The rest of the book consists of loads of Eva and David making out and almost having sex, but not. And when they’re not making out, they’re fighting about sexism. Eva constantly complains that the guys are being sexist. Anytime David says something like, “Wait here, I’ll go check it out,” Eva replies with something like, “Yeah because I’m a helpless female who can’t be put in any danger *eyeroll*”. And honestly, I thought both of them were unbearably annoying. They spend the whole book arguing about whether or not Eva can fight the zombies. David doesn’t want her to because she might get hurt, but she wants to because she wants to protect herself and be useful. I get her point, but god, the CONSTANT arguing over the same thing drove me nuts!
Overall, I think PODs could have been a great book, because it has kind of a cool idea. I like that the government had the PODs system in place—I think it’s pretty interesting. But the lack of character development, the bad romance, and the rushed story line just kind of killed it.. By the last quarter of the book I was so tempted to DNF it and just move on. I was completely bored, sick of the romance and makeout sessions, and I could see the plot repeating itself (makeout session, zombie attack, makeout session, zombie attack…).