Kellie's Diary Death of Innocence
Author: Thomas Jenner and Angeline Perkins
Published By: Survive Entertainment
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
A while back, I posted reviews of a new zombie horror novel series that I found to be unique. Kellie's Diary is a series of books that tells the story of a zombie apocalypse through the eyes of a child. The diary starts with Kellie at the age of ten, in school, unable to find her family, trying to survive something she doesn’t even understand. The first three novels combined are called Kellie's Diary: Decay of Innocence, an apt title as we watch an innocent child become a hardened teenager who never really got to enjoy her childhood as she struggles to survive.
The next chapter of Kellie's life, Kellie's Diary: Death of Innocence, opens just after the events of Kellie’s Diary #3. At the age of fifteen, Kellie still writes in her diary as she always did, but we can see the effects the years of trying to survive have had on her. Horrible things have happened to her and, despite being reunited with one of her sisters, Kellie has a hard time coping with the recent events in her life – the personal violation at the hands of a stranger, the deaths, the monsters. She finds herself lashing out at the people she loves, not really understanding why.
But life is about to get a lot worse as members of the survival train she has been riding decide it is time to succumb to the apocalypse. Escaping the train only brings Kelly and her sister into more danger as they are corralled by a sadistic gang of sex traffickers. Forced to do horrific things in an effort to protect her sister’s innocence, Kellie finds herself spiraling downward in a world of drugs, sexual and physical abuse. If she thought the zombies were bad, she hasn’t seen anything yet.
I have mixed emotions about Kellie’s Diary: Death of Innocence. It begins in the same format, which I liked, but then turns into something else. Let me explain. I found something endearing in the idea that this girl who has become a hardened image of her former self, forced to grow up way too fast, writes in a journal she has named Barbie and treats a stuffed bunny as if he is a real living being. The book begins with her still writing to Barbie, but somewhere along the way, it seems that the authors lost the format, writing the story of Kellie in her point of view, but forgetting to put it as if it was being recorded in a diary.
The statement the authors were trying to make about drug and sex trafficking took over the book, dwarfing the actual zombie apocalypse until the very ending. This is not to say that I don’t get the whole idea of the inherent evil being brought out in some individuals once the world goes to hell – that’s what The Walking Dead is all about, right? The problem here is that the zombie apocalypse seems to be forgotten for too many chapters in preference to torturing the main character with drugs and sexual abuse to make a point. Then we bring back the zombies in swarms and you say…oh yeah, this was supposed to be taking place during a zombie apocalypse.
Bagman makes a return in the story, but his intentions are muddled. I always thought Bagman was some manifestation of Kellie’s bad experience in the mall with the stranger during Book 1. Thus far, he has always followed the pattern of showing up when she was doing well. Sort of haunting her just when Kellie believes everything is okay. But in Death of Innocence, Bagman starts warning Kellie of danger to come…then turns back to taunting her. Color me confused.
I still can’t totally bag Kellie’s Diary: Death of Innocence, because I still believe in the concept. The ending was left open, offering us hope that the journey will continue. I still want to know what happens to Kellie, so I hope the authors finish what they started. I just hope that they go back to the original format. I know Kellie’s innocence has been lost, but there is still a little girl hiding inside there who never got the chance to grow up properly. That being said, it would make sense to keep talking to Barbie as if she were a real person. Here’s hoping for another trilogy of Kellie’s Diary to finally complete the journey.