Verdict: APOCALYPSE IDAHO is a funny and strange and unique little adventure, featuring a few unlikely heroes battling monsters and swapping jokes.
An unsuspecting town in the Upper Midwest is hit with a plague of ravenous monsters, and a band of quirky survivors try to stop them before they overrun the whole earth.
Johnny Sparks lives in a very small and mostly unremarkable town in Idaho. He works at the computer department at a local state college, and he has a wife who is obsessed with apocalyptic movies. This seemingly normal life is abruptly interrupted when, one day, he wakes up to discover that almost no one else seems to be left alive. He finds himself joining a misfit band of survivors, including a sociopathic billionaire, a college nerd, the girl who falls for the college nerd, and a jock who is a romantic rival for the affections of said girl.
Author Rich Lunden’s APOCALYPSE IDAHO has some very clever jokes and decent character-based humor, never forgetting that it is first and foremost a farce. Many of the jokes fall flat or even induce eye rolls, but either way, APOCALYPSE IDAHO keeps them coming. Whether it’s nerds discussing why their favorite Star Trek captain is Sisko, or a husband and wife debating apocalypse contingency plans (right before a real apocalypse), APOCALYPSE IDAHO has some great bits that satisfy the hapless college nerd in all of us.
But it is also, at times, too clever by half. With dialogue like “’Hey! Sarcasm! I love sarcasm!” and descriptions like, “Somehow it seems like there should be AC/DC playing in the background and all their steps should be in slow motion,” it’s hard not to cringe at the overwroughtness of it all.
The monsters also remain criminally underdeveloped. Their motivations, origins and methods are mostly unremarked upon, and they often just seem to be fodder for various fights and set pieces. The monsters are not really a terribly imaginative creation either, their description basically boiling down to, “They look like Nosferatu, and they’re hard to kill.”
While it may have its moments, this comes across as a book that tries too hard to be funny, and both the heroes and villains are painted with such broad strokes that it doesn’t really work as anything other than pure farce, either. While there is cleverness on display, this book seems content bashing the reader on the head with said cleverness.
APOCALYPSE IDAHO is a funny and strange and unique little adventure, featuring a few unlikely heroes battling monsters and swapping jokes.