Chew: The Complete Second Season by Naomi Ault
It feels good to be posting reviews again. The overwhelming response from the community has been just that! Amazing and overwhelming. And with that, I get to bring you a surprise gift, a review of Chew: The Second Season brought to you by our neighborhood friendly Zombie Phreak.
But before we dig into the second season, I want to remind everyone of what we said in our first review of Chew, by Naomi Ault. Why? Because I want to make sure you're in the right head and mind space for such an amazing post zombie apocalypse story.
Maybe you've read the first season and are behind on the second? Maybe you haven't read any of it, or maybe you're some episodes behind. With Season Three on the horizon, I want to encourage authors, readers and reviewers alike to give this one a try.
As you can see, I said that zombie stories aren't always for me. It's so hard for me to get into this niche in the horror world, but once I'm in. I'm in!
Our beloved Zombie Freak had a number of amazing things to say about Chew:
"I can say with confidence that writing a zombie story from the zombie's POV is a very difficult undertaking. And add to that, one where the zombie's can be rehabilitated even harder. Those stories are few and far between. But this one nails it perfectly!"
And without giving away any spoilers... he also had this to say:
You don't have to have read Chew to appreciate these reviews. The first posted here. Before proceeding, even if you are an avid reader of Chew, I encourage you to check it out.
And now it's time! With potential spoilers ahead, for this is your second to last warning, I bring you Zombie Phreak's review of Chew: The Second Season.
Thanks Kitty, I’ll take it from here!
So, we’ve made it to season two with Luke and our Biter friends. Now as I said in my previous review of season one, I have been reading zombie fiction on an almost daily basis for over 15 years.
What do a lot of these series have in common? Sadly it’s that they try to stretch a story out after the tale has already reached a natural ending, or the author has clearly run out of story to tell.
Well… that is not the case with Chew. Right off the bat our Biter heroes have left that carnival of nightmares behind them, and are headed for bigger and better things as they are now in Milltown and are given jobs helping to clear out the dead and secure buildings to make them habitable again for the living. And of course our friend Will sees this as an opportunity to, as he puts it, “Work on my hustle.” So he has plans for this place and given his track record, you know that he’ll find a way to come out on top even in a situation such as this.
Luke on the other hand has been sent off to basic training. As you remember in the previous season he had been drafted into the US Military, or what was left of it. I myself have never been in the military, but I have read about first hand accounts from people who did serve, and I have to say that the author does a pretty good job of portraying how the drill sergeants keep the recruits on their toes, constantly barking orders at them and keeping them moving.
Another way I feel that our author here succeeds greatly in showing what it’s like in basic training, is that she has Luke messing up on a regular basis, and the DS (Drill Sergeant) punishes the troop as a whole for his screw ups. And that doesn’t earn him any friends, except for one, that will always have his back no matter what.
Something that I feel Naomi Ault does an amazing job of and I wish more authors did this, is that she continued to show that Luke has PTSD and continues to suffer from it, even after all this time. He has a time in basic training where he blacks out as something has triggered him and sure the other cadets and his DS ride him for it, but it’s very true to his character. And this is something I am very glad to see. I love that the author has not forgotten this tidbit about Luke’s past.
Our Biter friends are also having their own troubles. Fitting in with the locals is not going well for them. Sure there are other Biters in the town where they are working, but there are also a lot of people who were never infected by Wormwood, (The virus that turns people into zombies), and they do not take kindly to having former flesh eaters in their town, even if they are reformed and are wearing these new “masks” that are meant to prevent them from biting anyone even if they do relapse.
This kinda made me chuckle a bit. In the time that we live in with Covid-19, people being required to wear masks in this story reminds me of where we were a little while ago and still are in some places in the world when it comes to safety precautions. So it’s pretty relatable to anyone who has to or had to wear a mask when going to the grocery store.
These things make me really feel for the Biters and wish that they could just be allowed to live a normal life. Or even just catch a break and be treated like human beings. But also… could you ever really trust someone who used to feast on human flesh and may still have that virus dormant in their blood? And those lethal urges possibly lurking just below the surface of their mind? Sure you’d try to look beyond that and treat them as people. But… we all have our survival instincts and most of us would always be on edge around these poor souls.
As time goes on, Luke goes to the free state of California that has seceded from the United States, to take care of some personal business. (I won’t say exactly what it is because of spoilers). We find he has an aunt who lives in California and she is more than happy to see her nephew who survived the ZA, (Zombie Apocalypse) and put him up as he is there to handle his personal business. And like all good aunts, she is more than happy to feed him and have his company while he is in town.
However while Luke is in California he finds out a lot of things that are going on in the former state of the union that the rest of the world knows about. And while he is there, he has to make a very difficult choice between his country on one side and his last remaining family and his curiosity of the Wormwood Virus on the other. Which will he choose? Oh no, I’m not going to tell you. You’ve got to read the story in order to figure that one out!
Now… I have got to talk about my absolute favorite part of this season. Remember last season where I said that where Naomi Ault really shone brightly was her ability to build an atmosphere, and how much I loved her setting of the hospital? She was able to take a place that was busy and full of life, that had people moving through the halls in a never ending stream of scrubs and white coats, machines whirring and beeping, and completely flip the place on it’s head and turn it into a silent tomb? Well, she did it again.
This time she set her sights on a school and a bus garage. A place that is full of youth, life, and learning, but now it is derelict, empty, full of garbage, possibly dead bodies, and a refuge for our Biter friends and the remnants of the military unit that they were assigned to work under. Outside there is a vicious tornado that is wrecking untold havoc, inside, an outbreak of Biters that our ragtag group of survivors must overcome if they wish to live to see another day.
Just imagine your old school where you had such good times with your friends, playing games, learning things, and enjoying being carefree… Then suddenly around any corner from the shadows there could come a group of pain-wracked savages that see your flesh in their mouth as their only salvation to their horrible suffering. Her ability to do this reminds me of how George Romero made the house in “Night of the Living Dead,” seem like it was a lifeboat in a sea of the undead. In other words, Naomi Ault is a master of building an atmosphere of terror, and I tip my hat to her.
Eventually the battle moved to the bus garage, and this was one hell of a fight! I liked how it wasn’t just your average fight that you see in zombie movies where it’s just the heroes splattering zombie skulls open left and right and barely breaking a sweat while spouting off one-liners as they fire off weapons that never seem to run out of bullets. The author did a great job making me worry for the safety of our heroes and making me feel that they were truly in danger. By the end of this confrontation we do find out a little more about Allison and her possible supernatural ability and it makes me hungry to know more.
And this brings us to the ending. The final chapter. I am not going to ruin it by even talking about it here, but let me just say this about it, the ending came out of nowhere and completely shocked me that I actually gasped out loud when I read it. Whatever you do, keep reading and don’t stop until you are absolutely finished. The ending will have you aching to know what happens next, not only to our heroes, but to the world of Chew in general!
Check it out!
Naomi Ault is the author of Chew, currently with two complete seasons and her new release: Alice Kane Must Die. She's known for amazing zombie tales and creative trailers for both Alice Kane Must Die and Chew.
Chew has recently been featured in one of our holiday Vella videos. If you need a giggle after all that zombie seriousness, you can find it below or to the left depending on how you're viewing the blog today.
We're definitely looking forward to seeing what else comes out of Naomi's mind in the future!
I am so excited that we had the opportunity to bring you a review of this amazing story and that I was able to provide you Zombie Phreak's input. As a fan and an editor, I honestly feel that he was able to convey my excitement for the second season of Chew in a way that did this amazing work justice.
This weekend, announcements regarding the review process and state of my coffee mug will be going out via our news letter. Also... I may be looking for a volunteer in the near future to assist in curating and organizing our review list (the upcoming reviews) and update the Review Index weekly. More about this and more The State of Our Coffee Mug news letter, releasing for the first time on Sunday!
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Until next time, may your adventures always be exciting and numerous, just not as exciting as X's!