James McStravick reviews Giovanni Goes to Med School, the first in The Med School Series by Kathy Bryson.
Everyone knows zombies aren’t real, no matter how fun. You don’t have to be a med student to know the dead do not get up and walk around in real life. Anyone who’s buried a pet in the backyard knows the dead don’t walk. They don’t even lurch.
So Giovanni is stunned when his patient sits up in the morgue and starts scolding. The night-shift was supposed be a relief, a chance to study in quiet and off-set ridiculous student loans. Babysitting a huge dog and a dead voodoo mambo were not part of the plan. Now he’s got to convince an unbelieving medical community to take action, so he can get back to learning about the dead – not the undead!
When you read the synopsis of “Giovanni Goes to Med School” you might think that this is just another zombie story, but what you actually get is the zombie trope taken from another perspective.
This book is a very fun and quick read, as once I got past the somewhat slow pace of the first chapter I found myself wanting to read more, as the more you delve into the story the more it will draw you in. This was great to see for a novella as sometimes I find novellas end too soon after they have found a good pace.
One aspect I thoroughly enjoyed is that the story can certainly creep you out a bit, and more so if read late at night in the dark. I did this myself while reading the first few chapters when an incident occurs with the undead, and there were more than a few times that noises I could hear but didn’t see the source creeped me out due to the current environment in the novella.
The aspect of the zombie trope Kathy Bryson uses is a very unique one and I think it certainly makes for an interesting read, but there were certain times I wanted more focus on the zombie. Hopefully this will come in the future books.
You never become fully connected to the main character Giovanni, but I think you are given enough background information about him to fully immerse yourself into the world, and I believe this is somewhat of a best practice when it comes to novellas due to their size.
I hope in future novellas we find out more about what is really going on as I feel if more information is given about what is really going on with Giovanni and the world around him, it would help make for a more interesting story, which can in turn can only help make the novella stronger.
Even with the issues mentioned, I think this book is a very enjoyable and quick read. Kathy Bryson certainly gives us an interesting story and its ending will leave you wanting to know more. Some people may think the ending is abrupt, but I think it is done from a perspective of leaving you with an appropriate cliff-hanger. I would recommend this novella to fans of eerie or undead horror books. I look forward to seeing where Kathy will be taking the series.