Review: Dark Days (Dead City #3) by James Ponti

Happy Friday and welcome to May! Let’s hope that this month treats us all better than last month!!

I finished this book last night, squeaking in to be counted on my April Reads list. 💜 But it was late so I decided to wait until today to share my thoughts on it.

As with any book that’s not the first in a series, this review will contain spoilers for Dead City (book #1) and Blue Moon (book #2). So if you haven’t read those and want to, I’d suggest stopping now. 😊


From Goodreads…

Dark Days (Dead City #3) by James Ponti

Molly and the Omegas fight to contain the storm unleashed by Operation Blue Moon. As they do, Molly’s personal life is thrown into turmoil when she discovers that one of her closest friends has joined the ranks of the undead, a development that threatens the Omegas as well as Molly’s relationship with her mother.

As Molly and her friends fight the Dead Squad (a special NYPD task force made up entirely of zombies), they discover that the world’s largest gold reserve is kept in a vault eighty feet below the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. They find a photograph of the vault’s construction in the 1920s and realize that the construction crew was led by none other than the leader of the undead, Marek Blackwell. Could this explain the source of all his money? And if so, what is he planning to do with it? Is he rebuilding Dead City…or is he building an undead army?

One thing I like about these books is there is an element of history in the story. For this one in particular, a lot of the locations had a relevance to General Washington in the early years of our nation. I’ve been to NYC a few times so most of the names and locations were familiar to me. Still, many were not (like the Blockhouse) and I loved looking them up to get a better picture in my mind. Even moreso, I’ve added a few of the locations to my “Must-See” list the next time I’m up that way.

Another thing I enjoy is how some parts of the story are predictable and some still take you by surprise. Like with Milton’s identity, I figured out early on what was up with Natalie. I didn’t, however, suspect that Beth knew more than she let on to Molly. Clearly, I’m not a middle grade child but it was those little revelations that kept this series enjoyable for me as an adult.

Furthermore, I absolutely adored Molly. She’s smart and spunky and cares deeply for her friends and family. Like most kids, she mis-steps here and there but she does her best to make up for it. Apologizing where necessary and learning from her mistakes. It was fun seeing her grow more confident in herself as the books went on. I’d gladly point to Molly as a fictional role model for my nieces.

Her friends were also amazing. They seemingly didn’t have anything in common other than Omega but you could feel the love they shared for one another. I thought Alex was adorable with his tough guy swagger but Grayson had my heart in this one. He struggled because he wanted to be the hero but just couldn’t kick ass when they were attacked. He saw himself as a liability and wanted to quit the team. Molly was having none of it though. Not everyone can be the muscle. Sometimes we need a brain more. Not being a fighter doesn’t make you any less valuable. It warmed my soul to see Grayson learn this lesson.

(Sidebar… My adult brain wondered if Nat and Alex had crushes for each other but I had to remind myself that this is the wrong age group. Haha!)

Like the first 2, the reader is presented with a mystery for our heroes to solve that builds off the previous stories. Bottom line, what is Marek up to? We learned in Book 2 that he wasn’t dead and that he is swapping damaged parts of himself with parts from other zombies (Eww!!! 🤢). Sadly for him, his body is starting to reject a few of the new additions so he’s on the hunt for parts a little closer to home. 😉 We also knew that whatever the plan was, it was big. Like potential zombie army invasion big.

Marek had connections to all the top NYC organizations and people and in this book, he was making use of his D.E.A.D. Squad; a group of NYPD officers that were all zombies. They were all over our Omega friends from the beginning and seemed like they were one step ahead at every turn. Pretty hard to see what Marek’s up to when the D.E.A.D. Squad is watching you 24/7. But our kids are brilliant and find ways around them to save the day.

Honestly, the book was great. The series is great. That is, up until the end. After all that was invested in these characters and the story, the ending fell flat for me. Part of me understands that what happened is a logical conclusion but the way it went down felt oversimplified. Rushed. Even for a middle grade book. There are also lots of questions that were left unanswered. Like is Omega done for good? What about the rest of the Undead? And what really was Marek’s plan? For all that occurred, the reader never gets a definitive answer. It’s hinted at but never actually confirmed. I found that disappointing.

That being said, I was all set to give this a solid ⭐⭐⭐⭐ when I started out. It’s fun and an absolute recommendation for the younger readers that are into Urban Fantasy and Zombies. Unfortunately that ending just bothered me too much so I’m rounding it down to ⭐⭐⭐. 😏


 

Here’s my series wrap-up…

Dead City (Dead City #1) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Blue Moon (Dead City #2) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dark Days (Dead City #3) ⭐⭐⭐

For the series as a whole though, it’s a good ⭐⭐⭐⭐!

💜

 

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