Publication Date: March 18, 2018
Welcome to Romero Park by Amber Michelle Cook is the first novel of the Night of the Victorian Death series. Selected elite families are invited to a house party in the English countryside. When tenants of the host start disappearing and traveling elite are attacked, it’s clear that darker forces are at play. What is really going on at Romero Park?
I received this book in exchange for my review.
Welcome to Romero Park is a classic re-imagining of the zombie genre. Sharing the formal voice of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, Cook gives readers a look into the classic romantic setting of the Victorian English countryside that is not so placid or safe as it might first appear. With shifting perspectives, the suspense builds and Cook gives us a classic thriller with a modern twist.
The opening chapters leave no doubt that there is something off at Romero Park. Cook builds suspense slowly and beautifully with a glance of trouble as duties are performed around the estate. Welcome to Romero Park is a book that needs a context but could have been better served without the Amazon description. The beautiful build-up was ruined by knowing the destination and the stage that was set just seemed to be a long time coming. I’d be remiss if I didn’t report that there is a very little payoff in this first book in a planned series. Welcome to Romero Park requires a long-term investment from the reader that, though the original tome was well done, has not earned loyalty from this potential fan.
The presentation of the book is extremely stiff at first. Cook is clearly an admirer of Charlotte Bronte and her Edward Dorchester shares key qualities with Mr. Rochester which, to be fair, are stock in the genre. Dorchester is full of himself in a way that is grossly off-putting. Cook is clearly well educated and a fan of classic literature. Welcome to Romero Park is one of those books that takes readers into classic literature and says “You may have thought something else happened, but here’s what really happened.” Welcome to Romero Park is a novel that might play better on film. The setting is pastoral and dark and the suspense built as a door opens with a striking score. Overall, as a novel, it’s kind of a miss. There are a lot of characters, lots of perspectives and really, with a good editor, Cook could have produced a more engaging novella. Much of the novel is filler.
As keen readers may note, I’ve struggled with this review. There’s not a lot to say because other than a zombie twist, there’s not a lot of original thoughts. Cook’s idea has been done before and it’s been done better. The Amazon description likens the novel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies but read that one because it’s a better story. The pace of the work is plodding. Cook, as a writer, has great promise unrealized in Welcome to Romero Park.
You can read our review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith.
Read an excerpt and buy Welcome to Romero Park (Night of the Victorian Dead #1) by Amber Michelle Cook on