Cover Image: The Deading

The Deading

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Member Reviews

Very good unique horror story.
Couldn't stop reading.

Well written and unique.
I would highly recommend it.

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genre:%0AScience%20fiction%0AHorror%0AEco%20horror%0AGen%20adult%20fiction%20%0ASpeculative%20fiction%0A%0ALike%20a%20cross%20between%3A%0AStephen%20King%E2%80%99s%20Under%20The%20Dome%20%0AHorror%20Movie%20-Slither%20(2006)%0ALovecraftian%20cosmic%20horror%20monster%20%0AContainment%20tv%20series%20%0ABirdwatching%20guide/how%20to%20for%20dummies%0A%0A%0AThis%20book%20was%20an%20interesting%20read%20but%20not%20a%20book%20I%20would%20probably%20read%20again.%20It%20started%20well,%20and%20it%20was%20interesting%20enough%20for%20me%20to%20keep%20reading%20until%20the%20end.%20It%20is%20told%20through%20the%20perspective%20of%20multiple%20different%20characters%20which%20at%20times%20can%20be%20exciting%20and%20propel%20the%20narrative%20forward%20but%20other%20times%20almost%20seems%20to%20slow%20the%20pace%20and%20take%20the%20story%20on%20irrelevant%20detours.%20I%20found%20it%20heavily%20focused%20on%20birdwatching,%20which%20seemed%20well%20researched%20but%20at%20times%20got%20a%20bit%20slow%20to%20read%20and%20lost%20my%20attention.%20The%20downfall%20of%20the%20town%20and%20breaking%20apart%20of%20social%20norms,%20beliefs%20and%20values%20was%20interesting.%20I%20agree%20that%20it%20is%20somewhat%20similar%20to%20Under%20the%20Dome%20by%20Stephen%20king%20as%20the%20town%20is%20cut%20off%20from%20the%20rest%20of%20the%20world%20and%20as%20things%20like%20gas,%20cellphones,%20tv%20and%20radio%20fail%20the%20people%20become%20more%20a%20danger%20to%20others%20than%20the%20deading%20itself.%20And%20the%20deading%20becomes%20a%20way%20of%20dividing%20society%20into%20a%20new%20hierarchical%20system.%20Its%20vague%20ending%20leaves%20room%20for%20a%20sequel%20as%20it%20doesn%E2%80%99t%20seem%20to%20have%20a%20concrete%20resolution.. I got this book as an ebook arc copy from netgalley.

For fans of:
The Last of Us
Under the Dome by Stephen King
Slither (film)

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A blend of Stephen King’s Under the Dome and the eerie atmosphere of Annihilation, The Deading plunges readers into a harrowing dystopian tale set in a seaside town infected by a mysterious ocean-borne contagion.As sea snails wash ashore, initiating a chain reaction of transformation among the wildlife and residents of Baywood, the once idyllic town descends into chaos. Caught in the crosshairs are Blas, the introverted bird enthusiast, and his cynical brother Chango, who must navigate a landscape of paranoia, isolation, and death-worshiping cults.Tensions reach a fever pitch as the survivors grapple with the choice between escape and assimilation into this new, terrifying reality. Claustrophobic and haunting, yet infused with moments of soulful introspection, The Deading is a lyrical exploration of societal disintegration, the horror of survival, and the resilience found in human and natural connections. Prepare to be spellbound from beginning to end.

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This was an interesting premise, using current climate concerns to launch a sci-fi/horror tale. Unfortunately, I think it fell flat in the execution.
At times it was almost too technical, attempting to introduce or teach the reader about so many birds. There were just so many that it became hard to keep track.

The plot lines felt disjointed, like maybe the ARC was put out before the part that makes it all cohesive was written. While it makes sense that there would be cults and fanatics following such an event, these felt like parts of stories that never made it to completion.

2 stars – this one still needs a lot of work.

Thank you to NetGalley and to the Publisher for this eARC in exchange for my honest opinions.

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I’ll go with the bad first: it’s way overwritten. There are just too many words, too much info dumping, too much exposition. You could cut the book by a third and it would have no impact on the plot’s development.

Despite that I don’t actually want to discourage people from reading this book because as far as eco-body-horror stories go, it’s bit of a banger. The story structure itself is somewhat experimental; there are multiple POVs, including third person, first person, and a Greek chorus of sorts. The author explores the way Baywood is stratified by age, class, and race and the impact the isolation and deading phenomenon have on this structure very well. In addition, the horror is actually horrifying.

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First, I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for the chance to read an ARC of this book.

This book would be 2.5 stars for me, but I can't justify bumping it up to 3 as it doesn't meet my other 3-star ratings for this year. I think this book had a lot of potential. It has an interesting premise, one that is highly topical for this day and age, but the execution still needs some polishing. I always strive for constructive feedback, so here we go.

I'll start with something many have mentioned, the list of birds. I know nothing about bird watching, but I'm not complaining because there was information I didn't know, it is was just the sheer number of bird names thrown at you on one page. When I first started reading, I was trying to look up the birds mentioned but the first page I got to that was nothing but different bird names, I gave up. Instead, I picked one from the list, looked it up, and kept that in my mind's eye so I could stay in the story, and honestly, I think that is more work than most readers will give. An idea I thought might be good, was instead of having those black feathers at the beginning of each chapter, what about sketches from Blas' journal? That way readers can digest information in chunks and get closer to Blas at the same time. I know that would probably add a hefty sum to the production budget but it would be a cool feature and of course, the author could just limit the number of birds listed at one time. That would help too. Though I do get the sense the author likes lists, even in situations where Blas or Chango are making decisions or thinking of things that might happen, it's just long lists. I anxiously overthink, but even I choose to stick to one bad idea and obsess over that instead of seven different ones.

The next thing I would say is that the book needs to integrate its plotlines better. All of its ideas are interesting but put together in the way they are, there's no room to breathe. It was like everything happened but also nothing. We have the alien life form, the AI drones, the birds, the non-deaders, the Risers, the cult, the Dead of Night (?) club, the Brujho, and whatever is happening to Chango. At no point do any of these crossover in a meaningful way. They are just happening at the same time. This is bizarre given it was one entity that kick-started all of this. Plus, our main characters seemed determined to avoid the madness of it all, which deprives us of experiencing the downfall of Baywood. If it weren't for Kumi or Ingram, everything in the book would be told to us through secondhand accounts given to Blas. I think both Blas and the entity need to take more of a lead throughout the book so we can experience and learn about this chaotic new world. This would also, hopefully, lead to a stronger conclusion, one that clearly outlines what forces Blas' loved ones were consumed by and what world is left for them to face.

The last thing I'll mention is please remove those 3rd person POV chapters. Every time I muttered, "WTF," was during one of those chapters. I don't know if it's wishful thinking, but I spend my Monday - Friday with teenagers, and they do not talk like that. From the manifesto chapter to the setting up of the cult, I was completely bewildered by them. It took me right out of the story, and if Blas and the entity were stronger characters we wouldn't need these chapters. We could experience the tight-knit group of teenagers through Blas or maybe the entity could bemoan the perversion of his goals as the cult grows. We wouldn't need the most bizarre narrator I've ever come across to tell us about these developments.

I really did want to enjoy this book and I love the themes, but the book just needs a bit more TLC before I would read it again. I would read the author's future works though, because I love the mix of biological issues with horror. This is even something the author touched upon in his author's note, that horror is a mirror, and it can be a powerful one when touching upon important subjects. I think his heart and mind are in the perfect place, and I wish the author all of the best luck with his debut.

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Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington for providing an advanced copy of this title.

The blurbs of The Deading compares the title to that of Under the Dome and Annihilation. In a way, this is true, but only if the format was that of very intimate POV essays & poetry about isolation, climate change, and birdwatching. The narrative is very fractal, but not in a way where you can say forgive the format. The constant shifting makes if very hard to follow and keep yourself in the action.

I would be interested in reading Nicholas Belardes in a smaller format (i.e. essays covering topics intimately - like gonzo journalism), but definietly not in the genre of Sci-Fi Horror.

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I received this from Netgalley for an honest review.

The Deading left me feeling rather ambivalent. While parts of the book were engaging, the overall lack of clarity and vague storyline left me frustrated. The protagonist, Kumi, declares she's not interested in the "deading," yet birds and animals around her are inexplicably dying. The adults' response to this phenomenon, turning it into a goth ritual, seemed implausible and lacked parental responsibility.

The prose was enjoyable, but as the story delved into sci-fi territory, my interest waned. The unanswered questions about the deading's targets, the cult's formation, and other plot elements left me unsatisfied. Additionally, the narration's shift in perspectives without clear identification of speakers added to the confusion.

While The Deading wasn't terrible, it fell short of expectations. It had potential but ultimately failed to deliver a cohesive and compelling narrative.

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This was so good, I kept turning pages until the very end. It was emotional, it was a city attacked by an infection, it was gripping.
“If you want to stay, you have to die.”

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The beginning has so so much potential but the rest of the novel delved into an entirely different plot. I DNFed this one.

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This reads as if my 60-year-old father decided to write a book about my 18-year-old brother. Do with that what you will. Omg, it felt like my dad made a TikTok account. 🙃🫠

That being said, this was interesting. You can tell Mr. Belardes knows what he's talking about. He's a scientist. He's a scholar. The prose was easy to follow, Genzied-ified, if you will. Hence, me mentioning my dad and TikTok. The concept was interesting. Sentient virus snails that cause you to Lazarus...sign me up for that story. Also, the pacing was surprisingly good.

But the characters...I'm hard pressed to tell you one I liked. I didn't mind 2ish, one and a half. 😂😅 None of them should come near me, and if that town exists fr, I'm not going bc the people there...ew. 😂

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“If you want to stay, you have to die.”

The Deading by Nicholas Belardes is a gripping, emotional rollercoaster. The novel follows a diverse cast of characters and the resistance against “deading”, a widespread infection that attacks the city of Baywood.

When townspeople are infected, they “dead”: they collapse, writhe, then die only to rise as if nothing happened. This poses an issue for the survivors in the quarantined city, as they either avoid the whole of those who dead or they attempt to blend in, hoping they will not be found out as a non-deader.

Blas is an ordinary high school student who loves to bird; when things begin to turn for the worse, he, his mother, Maria, and his brother, Chango, are forced to confront this new reality in their own backyard (and front yard, street, grocery store, and post office).

But they’re not alone in this. Fellow birders Victor, Ingram, and Kumi must try to survive amidst the very thing infecting both the beloved birds they watch for and the people they once called neighbors.

As people turn to deaders, as Baywood quarantines from the rest of the world, a religion arises from the ashes, worshipping the very thing that terrifies our shifting narrators.

What will become of them? Who will live to see a world without deaders, and who will succumb to the very thing they’re afraid of? Find out in The Deading; you can request it at NetGalley now or preorder it.

I absolutely adored this novel, especially since it’s the first Chicano represented scifi novel I’ve read; as a Chicana, I grew up watching and reading science fiction where so many of the leads were always white or over powered. It never felt like the characters looked or felt like my family, my friends, or me. It was refreshing to read something that had cultural familiarity injected into the novel. This is a novel worth reading, even if at times the point of view change can be a bit confusing without any straightforward indication of who is narrating. Even so, I found myself feeling a range of emotions from fear to anger to sadness to acceptance as I progressed through the novel. I give it a 5⭐️ rating; I cannot wait to see what else Belardes writes in the future, especially if any of it pertains to the characters or world of this novel.

However, if you plan to read this novel, please heed these content warnings: this novel contains body horror, animal and human death, graphic depictions of death and infection, violence, and widespread illness.

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The Deading is a story that seeks enmeshment, to use a small fishing town in the context of a more existential plot. I would compare this favorably to Jeff Vandermeer's work-- a strong focus on the environment as a storytelling element especially, with characters primarily used as prisms through which a phenomenon is observed.

The story opens with a clear sense of initial conflicts that will slowly escalate throughout the novel: the role of youth in society, a sense of exploitation vs cooperation with nature, in groups and out groups (both geographically and interpersonally), and a question of what complex degrees of alienation can be explored. These are first introduced as a group of youths harmlessly performing a social activity of pretending to be dead, a "deading", and how this action is co-opted by adults and the greater community after an ecological disaster that is heavily implied (or to some interpretations) outright stated to originate in a much more unknowable, inhuman tragedy.

I feel there is a great amount of artistic voice in this work, exploring the emotional themes of survival and exploitation by phenomenon. Blas is a shy birder who is a relative outcast to other birders by his economic circumstances, whose skills in birding is constantly questioned through his inability to meet the economic needs to provide what would be considered acceptable proof. He lives with an older brother, Chango, who helps bring in money by working on a mussel farm whose owner ruthlessly exploits the natural, nutrient-dense waters.

Their relationship escalates when the farm suffers an ecological disaster caused by a yet-unknown source. Sourced from this disaster, the owner becomes a vector of it, Chango is influenced in a unique way, and Blas's relative isolation from his community largely allows him to resist the horror overcoming the town after it is cut off from the rest of the world through a government-enforced quarantine. The town's order begins to break down into factions of people who "dead" and those who refuse to "dead", a supernatural action in which a person's body actually dies and then resuscitates which is the titular actioning force under which all characters are subjected to in one way or another. For people who perform in the deading, it becomes a spiritual and communal experience with increasingly complex rituals enforcing people to repeatedly die, with those who do not come back quietly ferreted away and not generally spoken of.

This is a complex narrative through multiple perspectives that I found were best viewed as surfaces on a crystal that is the greater phenomenon. Its pacing alternates between slow and fast, voices intimate and distant, all dependent on which voice is narrating at the time, and challenges a reader to sieve concrete information in a wide variety of biased, unreliable personalities. This isn't a read that will make much sense skimming.

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"If you want to stay, you have to die. At points claustrophobic and haunting, soulful and melancholic, The Deading lyrically explores the disintegration of society, the horror of survival and adaptation, and the unexpected solace found through connections in nature and between humans."

While I was super excited about this book, for me it was confusing and made me feel lost. It was a bit all over the place and it did not held me.

#TheDeading #NetGalley

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Unfortunately I just could not get on with this one and had to DNF at around 25%

I thought the premise of this sounded so interesting and the cover really pulled me in but I found the writing abit too disjointed for me personally and there was alot of talk about birds (I know there has to be to a certain extent) but I just found it abit boring which is a shame.

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A really gripping read, I thought the characters were intriguing and I'm going to look out for more by this author.

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The Deading

Can the human body work like and a rechargeable battery?
All kidding aside😜 or am I????
A whack of a premise this story has some SciKingisms throughout.
So we have a contagion in Oysters???

Your kidding Nope!!!

And like all books of these nature , certain locals have applied marshall law and they ain't a budging!

And let's not forget the government watching over like big brother!!!!

This shore type town has goneape shit

I took my time 🐌 reading this !!
At times, I liked what I read and other I did not.
I received this from Netgalley for a honest review!!!!
I give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️'s

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I really struggled with this one.

The cover is what initially drew me in, but the whole time I was reading I was just confused. The writing felt so disjointed, I didn't connect with a single character and I just had a really hard time continuing.

I would say that about 20% of this was just details of birds which was just bizarre and honestly boring. I was really excited for this one so I'm sad I didn't like it.

This may be great for some but I did not click with this story and was just happy to be finished!

<i>Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for providing me with an e-arc</i>

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Unfortunately the way this book is written just really didn't work for me!! I had to DNF at around 30%.

I loved the cover and premise but the writing is clunky and disjointed (I think it's supposed to be like this).

Not for me but may be for readers who like experimental and unusually written stories!

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Without giving too much away, a small coastal town gets quaratined after an infestation plagues the inhabitants. It is my first time dipping my toes into the eco-horror genre and I am still undecided if it is really my thing. I did not feel captivated by any of the characters and found many parts hard to follow and keep me engaged. However I love a dystopian book and this definitely had that edge to it. There were some pretty grim scenes and some emotional parts too. The ending did not really surprise me but I think it was fitting for the story. Some of it felt a bit unrealistic (like how quickly people turned to cult like behaviour) and sparse on some of the details (about the drones/ government) but it was interesting to read something different to my usual tastes.

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