Author: Ace Antonio Hall
Published: April 14th, 2013
Publisher: Montag Press
Page Count: 273 pages
Genre: YA Horror
Recommended Age: 12+
Synopsis: A spring break trip on a cruise presents a new problem for Sylva. Passengers on the ship turn into flesh-eating zombies, unlike the harmless ones she's used to raising from the dead. She and her friends are trapped on the Pacific Ocean, and their only escape comes from a guy Sylva had a crush on she thought was dead, named Brandon. Sylva doesn't normally hold grudges, but when someone plays with her heart they have to pay. However, with the fate of the human race on the line, Brandon convinces Sylva to join him in a secret mission, yet she can't shake the feeling that he's hiding something.
It didn't take long for her suspicions to hold true when it's revealed that Brandon has been romantically involved with the very enemy he now wants her to destroy. This villainous female would rather kill Brandon than let Sylva have a chance to patch things up between them. Sylva is not the kind of girl to walk away from love without a fight, but with a strange virus threatening extinction of human life, she shoves her own feelings in her back pocket to face her greatest nightmare, and that nightmare starts with something that is eerily growing right inside of her own mind and body.
An interesting mix of zombies and urban fantasy, I definitely liked The Confessions of Sylva Slasher and thought it was a fun read. While there were elements which reminded me of other books I've read and various TV series, I still thought it was pretty original over all. What I thought was well done was the pacing. The book took off and didn't let up through the whole thing, and I was definitely entertained. I'll also say there were some developments that I wasn't expecting, but it added to the story in a positive way.
Sylva Slasher, as I read the story, reminded me a bit of a mix of Anita Blake and Buffy. I think that's why I developed a liking for her from the beginning. She was a great main character – a bit sarcastic at times, but I also found her fascinating. I also liked the fact this book was written in first person, so we really get to see what's going on in Sylva's mind. I also liked the secondary characters as well, especially Katie and Emily at the beginning of the book.
For anyone who's a fan of urban fantasy, zombies, and shows like Buffy, I highly recommend this book. I give it a rating of 4/5 platypires.
"A treat for Buffy fans--but 100% Ace Antonio Hall's own twisted vision. Breathes new life into the living dead; run, don't shamble to get a copy." --Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Red Planet Blues
The deadheads slithered, scraped, and shuffled closer and closer. There must have been more than twenty of them ready to tear me apart like hungry wolves. The stench of old rot surrounded me like poison vapors. A chorus of low moans, high whines, and wispy breaths oozed hymnals of my persecution into my ears.
Judgment day. I laid at the altar of the dead waiting to be sacrificed to whoever won ownership of my soul, fear or fearlessness.
I’m not afraid.
Their mangled, distorted faces came into view. How could eyes be so distant, yet so full of hunger? It seemed like they were looking past me—through me into another dimension. Or maybe they could already see which organs they wanted to devour. Their moans found a common craving for death, but their minds were lost somewhere in those useless bodies that kept creeping closer and closer to me, bending and turning in awkward movements. From the ground looking up, they lurched over me like oversized lumps of tumorous blobs, drooling with their mouths agape on their sagging grotesque faces.
I lied. I am afraid.
Pure terror crawled into my ears, listening to their sliding and scraping—more and more deadheads appeared, crowding around me, stretching their necks, and spilling those long vacant looks all over me. They filled my blurry vision with various shapes of disheveled hair and blended shades of disfigured bodies.
The horror of my eyes being torn from my face and viscera clenched between their teeth as they gnawed on my bones and licked the fluids from the insides of my body from their lips became too much to bare.
Something ticked on the ground like an animal approached, its claws pecking as it crept cautiously.
Kla-tick. Kla-tick. Kla-tick. Kla-tick.
It came toward me from a distance. Each step grew louder, bigger. I inhaled, realizing that for some time, I had been holding my breath, frozen with fear. Could it be? No, not now—not now. With my head too stiff to turn and my back broken, I locked my tearful blurry vision on a hazy full moon that seemed to shine a spotlight of death upon me. I spat out a tiny whisper. It’s time to die, again.
Ace Antonio-Hall was first published in 1998 in an Adelphi University publication called Luna, with a short story titled “1936.” After earning his BFA degree from Long Island University, he taught middle-school English for over ten years.
He now lives in southern California, and was the Vice President of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society (2009-2011), and still holds an executive position in the organization which gives him a huge platform to market, sell, and promote his work through the many conferences, meetings and book fairs that GLAWS holds each month. He is also a member of LASFS and the International Thriller Writers.
His first novel, a coming-of-age YA zombie story, The Confessions of Sylva Slasher, was released April 2013 by Montag Press. It is part of a series with the next book Skateboard Xombies, expected for release early next year.
About the writing life, he says: “I harmlessly dream in Technicolor nightmares, watch a ton of horror flicks, eat more donuts than I should, and refuse to stop reading Spider-Man. All of those combined give me a sweet tooth to write about the suite life of zombies.”
Ace's true labor of love is writing fast-paced fiction with character-driven plots featuring female protagonists. He continues to write short stories and build on the world of teen necromancer Sylva Slasher as she reigns as Princess of the Undead.
You can find out more about Ace, including his music and screen acting credits, and his involvement with the Hollywood Actors Academy as part-owner, Acting Coach and Creative Director, at the IMDb Biography web site.