Zombie Book Review: Day by Day Armageddon: Shattered Hourglass

When I read the original Day by Day Armageddon, it was like something I’d seen before. In most zombie stories, you end up with a group of regular people with no particular skills trying to survive and usually failing. Instead, we get an incredibly capable man who was actually prepared for some sort of disaster. He’s a military officer and a firearms enthusiast. He acts decisively and is able to think both tactically and strategically about zombie survival. Furthermore, it’s told in journal format, so we get everything in his voice. It really added to the story because that capable, direct voice was incredibly believable for this particular character.

Speaking of voice, the writer, J.L. Bourne, is also a military officer, and likely a firearms enthusiast. There’s a reason the tone of the book sounds so realistic; this guy lives the life, and it comes through beautifully on the page.

Things got a little crazy in Day by day Armageddon, but it was fairly grounded considering the scope of the story. The sequel – Beyond Exile – turned things up quite a bit. Instead of regular people surviving on their own, we get top secret government conspiracies, huge battles, and a bit of spy stuff. Luckily, it still worked. I didn’t like it as much of the original, but it was still a fun read.

With the final chapter of the trilogy now out, we’re seeing some even more drastic changes. The most obvious is that the journal format has been completely abandoned. The reason for that is because the story is now split between a number of locations and a number of characters. Our protagonist, Kilroy (I have to say, it annoys me that we never get a real name for this guy), now takes a backseat for the majority of the action. Instead, we get two groups of special forces guys handling the majority of the action, as well as a few other stories interwoven into the narrative.

The scope of the plot of Shattered Hourglass is enormous. It takes place in several locations around the globe, with a number of major set piece action scenes. It’s exciting and breezy, and feels like a Tom Clancy-style military thriller set in the zombie apocalypse. That said, there are two big problems.

First, this tone is completely divorced from the tone of the rest of the trilogy. I expected a bit of that, given the perspective change, but it’s very jarring. I say that as someone who hasn’t read the first two books in the series in about two years. I think someone reading all three in a row would really be shaken by the drastic changes in the final volume.

The second issue is that there is way too much story to cover, and the whole thing seems very rushed. Interestingly, as the book progresses, the pacing gets faster and faster, and we get a lot less detail about what’s going on. The first couple of operations hit a good mix of fast paced action and detail, but by the time I got to the big climax, the whole thing is over before I can ever really get a sense of what’s going on. It completely disconnected me from the action. In fact, I actually went back and re-read the final chapter and the epilogue because I was sure that I had missed something.

Shattered Hourglass feels like three books trimmed down into one, relatively short novel. I hate to make assumptions, but it just seems like the writer was in a hurry to finish off his trilogy to move on to something else.

So is Day by Day Armageddon: Shattered Hourglass a bad book? Not really. It’s nice getting back into this world, and most of the action scenes are very well done. I struggled a bit with the perspective change and the tonal shift, but still enjoyed most of the book. However, putting our protagonist into the background and rushing through major events really bothered me.

This almost felt like a spin-off. It’s in the same universe, but the story is completely different.

Grade: 3 zombie heads out of 5



Dave if you’re looking for a good zombie book with a bit of a difference, Newsflesh by Mira Grant is excellent.

I’ve only listened to the audiobook (I’m too lazy to read) and I listened to it straight after I listened to World War Z, the greatest zombie book ever, so it had a lot to live up too! There are 2 sequels, but as sequels tend to be, they don’t live up to the first one.

For me, audio-zombie-books are the way to do it, great driving to work material!


I read her book “Feed” and enjoyed it quite a lot, but never bothered with the rest of the series. I might have to check out Newsflesh.

I’ve got a 1.5 – 2 hour one trip drive into the office nowadays (only once a week, usually), so audiobooks are awesome. I’ll have to see what the library has.


Unfortunately, you have to pay for Audible. I might check out the free trial though.


Ah man….I just looked at their prices…holy sheeeeeeet. When did they raise them? Man that is not affordable compared to what you get. I have about a gig of HP Lovecraft audiobooks. I will gladly “lend” them to you. I simply won’t have the time to listen to them for another year or four.


Spendy, isn’t it?

Luckily, my library seems to have a really good collection of audiobooks so it’s not a big deal.


I could have sworn a few years ago it was like 4 books a month for $10. That was totally worth it.


But from what I understand the production is fantastic and they have great readers. I guess their cost is huge.


Loved the first one and really enjoyed the second. I tried so hard to get in sync with the story and it just never lined up. He wandered off and did his own thing for this book and thats ok. I give him props for doing what he felt was best but for me and many others it didn’t pan out.


There’s a hell of a disconnect between this book at the other two, that’s for sure.

But by the same token, I think the scope of the story was heading in that direction since book two.


I just finished it, like you, I loved the first one, liked the second one even though it got a little too sidetracked with the conspiracy theories.

This one, well, it’s a mixed bag, I really didn’t mind Kil taking a back seat on most of the book, mainly because the side stories were interesting and engaging and there were some interesting characters, at first it fell a little confusing with so many different stories taking place in different places, but in the end I think that he pulled it of reasonably well.

I agree with you that last part of the book felt rushed, like the pace of the story suddenly got bumped up 10x.


When I got to the part where they reach China, I realized that there were only like 20 pages left and thought to my self: “WTF??? how can he wrap all this mess up in only 20 pages???” And I was right, it’s as if he was in a hurry to go on vacation or something and banged out the end in a single afternoon.

I mean, Remote Six went from being the almighty intelligence organization that anticipated anything and everything and basically ruled the world, to being obliterated by 3 dudes that acted on a hunch, and all of this told in 5 pages out of the blue.

And the whole CHANG thing just felt cheap and cheesy, like out of a bad sci-fi movie…some intergalactic chinese hulk wearing a stainless steel suit started the zombie apocalypse? even something as cheesy as a voodoo curse would have been less bad, why not just go with a virus bioweapon developed by the chinese gone horribly wrong and call it a day?

Maybe if he had had more time to develop and explain the chinese hulk thing it would’ve sucked less, I don’t know.

Still, it’s a good zombie novel, I read the entire thing in one sitting tonight and 5/6ths of it were great, I’d recommend it to anyone that liked the first two.

Here’s how I rate them:
-Day by Day Armageddon: 10/10
-Beyond Exile: 7,5/10
-Shattered Hourglass: 6/10 including the ending, 7/10 without it.


Your ratings are dead on, JAC. Dead on.

I am thinking he just got in a rush to finish this up, maybe to move onto something else, or maybe he was just sick of the story. It’s a shame, because with a bit more development, this book could have been a lot better. I still wouldn’t have liked it as much as the first – the military conspiracy thing just isn’t my cup of tea.


Agree totally with the review. I was left wondering if the anomaly originated from time-traveling Chinese, though perhaps that’s more a byproduct of the seemingly rushed and incoherent ending. I still don’t know wtf quantum is.


I was totally let down by this.

About 3/4 of the way through the book I was 100% convinced that the book would end as the reach China, and the next book would cover china etc. But then remote 6 was busted, and then we found out about the alien human and then …. the end.

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