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  • By Shannon Yarbrough
    Oct 15, 2009
    "Condition Black" Condition Black by Edwin Ong arrived with the look and feel of a graphic novel. It’s slick black cover with just a touch of glowing red from the trooper’s night vision goggles make the book exceptionally marketable, but the cover and the brief blurb on the back of the book do not prepare you for the thrill ride waiting on the pages inside. Unfortunately, there are no graphics, but the 96 pages of text are packed full of action and adventure. It begins like this… Many years later I remember my first experience with ice. I was a little boy back then, no more than six or seven. It was the first time in my life that I had ever been left out in the snow. There were maimed bodies lying near me covered in blood. All around me people were fighting. The townspeople were using pitchforks and torches to ward off the dark figures that I now realize were vampires. Yes, authors like Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer capitalized on the blood sucker genre big time already,... More > and there is no competition that could touch them for a long time to come. Mr. Ong’s book only uses the vampire lore to give his characters immortality and to give his book a touch of blood lust and gore. The book itself is in a completely different genre. Painted against a backdrop of high tech weapons and ongoing military combat, Condition Black is Full Metal Jacket meets Blade. Officer Brian Reaper takes on a legion of zombies that are attacking townspeople on his watch, but they are attacking only certain individuals and in strange ways…crosses, fire, stakes through the heart. He quickly discovers the zombies are only killing the vampires that walk among us. The reader soon discovers the zombies were summoned to flush out Brian. Brian is actually one of the few remaining Vampire Lords, and the one seeking him out is his very own brother Vincent. What follows is not just some battle of sibling rivalry, but a fast paced and jagged orchestra of machine guns and fangs. Zombies are ripped into pieces. Bloodsuckers are vaporized into ash with flame throwers. Readers who are a fan of blood shed and explosions will not be disappointed here. Ong stays true to his own marine background with a very believable knowledge of heavy artillery and combat throughout. The plot moves at lightning speed and its hard to believe the book is under one hundred pages. While the author does not spend time romanticizing his fanged characters, he does breathe life into them with quite a bit of passion and intensity: The puncture was so deep that I felt the sharp tips of the fangs scraping the carotid artery in my throat. Or was it my windpipe? I couldn’t really tell, not with my mind concentrating on something else. Even as my blood was being sucked right out of me, everything was fading until all I could see was a deathly, ethereal vision. As I said before, the only thing that might make this short novella a bit better is graphics. There are a few formatting problems, and the prologue takes up the first 16 pages and feels more like a short two page prologue and the first chapter because portions of the book told from Vincent’s point-of-view are in italics causing these parts to stand on their own quite visibly. The third page of text goes into Brian’s point of view but 16 pages later we begin at “Part 1.” However, Vincent’s pieces of the story read like an ancient diary at times and give the reader a nice look into him as a deeper character. Condition Black is better than 30 Days of Night! Read the full review at The Lulu Book Review< Less
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Product Details

Edwin Ong
October 28, 2010
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.43 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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