Read Fiend by Peter Stenson Online


There’s more than one kind of monster.   When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he's not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he’s no stranger to horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations.     But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion. The end of the world really has arrived.    ThThere’s more than one kind of monster.   When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he's not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he’s no stranger to horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations.     But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion. The end of the world really has arrived.    The funny thing is, Chase’s life was over long before the apocalypse got here, his existence already reduced to a stinking basement apartment and a filthy mattress and an endless grind of buying and selling and using. He’s lied and cheated and stolen and broken his parents’ hearts a thousand times. And he threw away his only shot at sobriety a long time ago, when he chose the embrace of the drug over the woman he still loves.    And if your life’s already shattered beyond any normal hopes of redemption…well, maybe the end of the world is an opportunity. Maybe it’s a last chance for Chase to hit restart and become the man he once dreamed of being. Soon he’s fighting to reconnect with his lost love and dreaming of becoming her hero among civilization’s ruins.    But is salvation just another pipe dream?    Propelled by a blistering first-person voice and featuring a powerfully compelling antihero, Fiend is at once a riveting portrait of addiction, a pitch-black love story, and a meditation on hope, redemption, and delusion—not to mention one hell of a zombie novel....

Title : Fiend
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780770436315
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 295 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Fiend Reviews

  • Greg
    2019-05-26 22:00

    I turn to see Typewriter at the top of the stairs and then I look back to the girl sitting there like a used tampon.An easy description of this book would be Breaking Bad meets Walking Dead. It's almost like AMC went out and commissioned someone to take advantage of two of their hit shows and mash them up. In other words it's about zombies and a bunch of tweakers. Apparently when the zombie apocalypse comes the only people who are going to survive are meth-heads. Why? That's never really covered in the book, and since all of the characters with working cognitive functions are tweakers, they never really get to the scientific nitty-gritty in figuring out what is so special about crystal-meth that it counteracts whatever it is that made a whole world go to bed one night and wake up the next morning as giggling flesh-eating zombies. We head past the meth lab. I train behind the group by a few paces. I like us - five motherfuckers who would steal a retarded kid's helmet to pawn for a buck fifty - and we're making this work. We're beating the odds. We're sticking to our new rations. We're loaded and dangerous and there aren't any walking dead.Mixed in with all the giggling zombies and descriptions of getting spun is a love story with one of the most unappealing objects of total obsession this side of Lolita. A ninety pound, blond haired girl with the physique of a pre-pubescent boy, with the date of her failed attempt at sobriety tattooed on her neck, a plethora of self-inflicted cigarette burns all over her stomach, breath described as somewhere between rotting death and a yeast infection and a web of bruised, sunken and caved in veins from shooting up meth, those scabs that junkies seem to get all over their faces and bodies, and who talks most of the time like a white kid trying to sound ghetto. It's fucked, yo. But she's also written with such a creepy tenderness that this mess of a junkie is a fairly convincing stand in for everything that could be good about the world. She's of course the girl that the main character let get away from him, when he broke their attempt at going sober together and choose to smoking meth over her. But zombie apocalypses have a way of giving people second chances with the love of their lives.The narrator is never given a physical description, but I just couldn't help picturing him as an even more fucked up version of Jesse from Breaking Bad. Our stories are all about childhood and family and we just want to be back there, life simple, life nothing but love and attention and not knowing what awaits, and I think about us wanting to be restored to innocence and about the little girl playing with the dog and me thinking this was cute and it really being the beginning of the end and her gashing the rottweiler's throat and maybe it was closer to the end of the end. Our favorite memories are Polaroids of ignorance.The book doesn't work that convincingly as a great zombie novel. Partly because a twists are thrown into the normal zombie mythos to make for a lot less zombies out roaming about looking to eat the survivors. It's more of a drug novel than a horror novel. There are some fairly nice violent and gory moments, but it's more about how shitty drugs make people and the bad decisions of the past that lead people down the path to full blown addiction. Kind of about all the regrets one has, especially when they have gone past the point where there are no more amends left to make, and you just have to live with the consequences of all your actions either because you've totally fucked up your life with a series of poor decisions, or well, because one morning a large portion of the population woke up wanting to eat the flesh of the few remaining survivors. Thankfully there are some tweakers out there as a last stand for humanity!

  • Brie
    2019-06-14 05:50

    WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST READ?!*******************************************​My first thought on stumbling upon Fiend in a boredom-fueled Netgalley ​t​itle browsing session was, "A zombie book from the point-of-view of a meth addict?! Hell fucking yeah!"In an overflooded genre and a subject that's becoming as tired and road weary as a 46 year-old back alley hooker, this premise was a breath of meth-scented fresh air that immediately tingled my morbid spidey senses and piqued my disturbed attention.As someone who has never had a debilitating drug addiction and is completely unused to the effects (unsavory) and hallucinations (horrendously fucked up) and the thought processes that a habitual drug user has (mostly about when the next score is coming from), Fiend was an interesting and disgusting view into them.Chase's thoughts and memories were equal parts gross​, insightful and achingly poetic. His many metaphors and similes of situations and events were often related to bodily fluids, cringe-worthy yet hilarious and inventive. ​​Chase himself is a character that should be positively revolting and the last person at the end of the world you'd ever root for, but I did. I thought he was compelling; someone who was not in denial about the person he'd become, the life he destroyed​ and who still harbored the most infinitesimal glimmer of hope that he might still have a future.Fiend is rife with some of the darkest humor I've encountered recently, the absolutely most disconcerting 'zombies' to grace the genre as of late (seriously, just thinking about them sends a freaked out shiver down my spine), and is punctuated by moments of pure tenderness that are simultaneously unexpected and heart-wrenching.I loved this book. I received Fiend as an ARC from Crown Publishing Group via Netgalley.

  • Timothy Ward
    2019-06-01 00:51

    This may be the only book I've read that never bored me. I read it in a few days, only ever stopping, grudgingly, because I had other obligations. I wasn't a huge fan of the descriptive detail about sex, but every other piece of this novel was incredibly entertaining. I'm not sure he could have told this story without those details, so that's just fair warning to those who won't read books with sex.FIEND hooked me in spite of not being enthused to read about meth addicts or another zombie book, when so many have not been scary or interesting. This was scary, philosophical, survival-based entertaining, full of conflict and most importantly, engaged me in the characters and their efforts to find happiness. The ending blew me away and was perfect. The idea of making meth addicts use meth to survive the zombie apocalypse, adding a love story about two addicts who are on opposite sides of wanting to use, and top-quality writing at every other level made this my favorite book of the year, and favorite zombie book, ever.Check out my interview with Peter for Adventures in SciFi Publishing http://www.adventuresinscifipublishin....

  • Riya
    2019-06-12 04:00

    A free copy of this ebook was provided for me via Netgalley.What happens when you combine the shows Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead?Better yet, have you ever noticed how much long-term meth users resemble zombies?Now don't tell me he doesn't resemble a flesh eating zombie at least a little bit.By now I'm sure that you have surmised that this book is about meth users and zombies, which I think is a GREAT take on the whole zombie apocalypse scenario which has been written about hundreds of times. Our prime tweaker and protagonist of this story is Chase Daniels. After staying up for more than a week smoking dope with his friend Typewriter, the two finally run out of drugs and decide to venture outside where they discover to their horror that everybody has turned into a zombie while they were holed up in Typewriter's mother's house getting high. [I will mention here just how awesome these zombies are. They don't walk slowly and instead of moaning and groaning they maniacally laugh and giggle for which they are named Chuckles (Chucks for short). Now how creepy and fantastic is that?]The next logical step for the two characters is to - of course - find more meth, which leads them to drive to their cook's house who lives in the middle of the woods. While stopping by at a Cabela's to steal guns they encounter another meth head who seems to be alive and not a zombie. Gradually they realize that whatever the zombie virus is, it doesn't seem to affect those who have meth flowing through their veins.The adventure continues with various searches for dope, ephedrine (used to make dope), guns, and rescuing KK, Chase's ex-girlfriend whose new boyfriend Jared is not only a douchebag but a really annoying one at that. This is an action-packed wildly hilarious novel that moves at a really fast pace, so much that it feels like reading a movie script. If a movie is ever made out of this story, I will be the first to watch it. I very much enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to people that are looking for a different, edgier portrayal of zombies and that aren't afraid of dark humor.Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    2019-05-18 01:07

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum the modest page count and a fascinating premise about what the zombie apocalypse would look like if meth heads were the only survivors – which, I have to say, is a pretty awesome social thought experiment – it still took me a long time to read this book, the reason being I could only take it in small doses on account of how incredibly obnoxious it was.It wasn’t even so much the nihilistic and transgressive-like style of storytelling, or the fact that the drug-addled characters are so infuriatingly unlikeable down to the very last person. At the end of the day, while being in the mind of a junkie might not be all sunshine and lollipops, I actually thought Peter Stenson did a fantastic job painting a very vivid and realistic perspective.No, the real reason I had such a hard time is because I’m a big fan of punctuation. Quotation marks are our friends! But anyway, Fiend begs to differ. I can’t say I’m thrilled with the lack of punctuation or the continuous stream-of-consciousness writing style, and yet I’m also not such a stickler for it that I would dismiss the whole book because of it. Did it affect my enjoyment of the novel though? I tried not to let it, but to a degree it did. If anything, it was because trying to read this book for prolonged periods of time would inevitably give me a massive headache.I’ll give it this, though: at no point did I ever consider throwing in the towel. The story was just too addictive, if you would pardon the borderline tasteless pun. It marries one unpleasant subject (drug abuse) with another (zombies) and the results are pretty interesting in that hideous-but-I-just-can’t-stop-looking way. The end of the world is at hand. Everyone just went to sleep one night and didn’t wake up in the morning, and some of those individuals have reanimated to become the walking dead. For whatever reason, the only survivors are people like Chase Daniels, a long time meth addict. Chase was so high that for days he hadn’t even known the zombocalypse had arrived, and he actually thought his first exposure to it – a little girl in his front yard tearing out the throat of a dog and eating it – was a drug-induced hallucination.I don’t know what it’s like to be a junkie. I won’t even pretend to know. But just to give you an idea of what we’re dealing with here, Chase and his friends are the kind of people who would sell their own mothers for a hit, so you can only imagine the world we’re left with, with him and his fellow addicts being the only survivors. There’s no trust, no morals, no self-control, and hence no chance in hell of society ever rebuilding. Add to that, the characters discover that continuing to do drugs it the only way to stay alive and keep from turning into the monsters. There you go: survival and self-destruction, two sides of the same coin. Kinda puts an interesting spin on your typical zombie story, doesn’t it?Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with the ending. To be fair, given the nature of the story, I would have been surprised if I would have gotten a satisfying conclusion, but it was still very abrupt and left things hanging – and that’s a big pet peeve.To sum up: fascinating book, offering a different approach to zombies and the end of the world. I found Chase Daniels and his narration intensely off-putting, but I also see that as a testament to the author’s skill to write a believable, meth-addicted anti-hero type protagonist. The only things that kept me from enjoying this novel more was the writing style (though admittedly it worked very well for the story and character) and the ending. I would still heartily recommend this one to zombie fiction enthusiasts and those who are interested in checking out a unique take on the genre.

  • Jenni Arndt
    2019-06-10 00:00

    So I am DNFing this at 20%. I really should have DNF'd when Chase described his breath as smelling like abortion. Then I should have done it when he described a zombie girl sitting on the couch as looking like a used tampon. But I didn't. What did me in in the end was the stream of consciousness writing and lack of any form of punctuation. There are no quotations marks so I would find myself finishing a sentence and thinking "oh someone was saying that" and having to re-read it. This really kept me from getting into the story at all. Just can't do it. I'm sad too because I had high hopes for this being a Requiem For A Dream meets the zombie apocalypse type story. Oh well.

  • sj
    2019-05-21 23:53

    Sometimes I read out of spite.  It's not pretty, but I'm admitting it (no, this isn't one of those books, just stay with me while I explain).  If someone I passionately dislike hates something, I will read it so that I can love it and shove it in their stupid face.  It goes the other way, too.  I will SOMETIMES read something I know I'll hate just so I can inwardly laugh and talk about how wrong they are.This woman I used to know RAILED AGAINST Cormac McCarthy because of his lack of creative punctuation.  She , was one of those "I was an English Major 20 years ago so I know what good writing is, and THIS IS TERRIBLE!" type-people.  Those people that really piss me off, because their entire life is tied up in something they did  forever ago that they just can't let go.So I set off to read Mr McCarthy determined to love it, EVEN IF the lack of quotation marks in The Road drove me slightly crazy.And I did.But I still have kind of a thing against stream-of-consciousness type writing because I LIKE punctuation, damnit!Because of this, Peter Stenson's Fiend (July 9, Crown/Random House) should have driven me crazy.  CRAZY.  It's a whole stream-of-fucked-up-ness take on the zombie apocalypse, where the only people who've survived were those on meth-binges when everyone else died.BUT IT IS A ZOMBIE STORY and I FUCKING LOVE zombies.Fiend is an ugly book (even though it has a shiny cover that kind of makes me sigh), which is totally appropriate because it handles ugly subjects.  Meth (and its repercussions) is ugly.  If you think zombies aren't ugly, you have problems I can't even get into.Anyway, I started reading this the other night in bed, which turned out to be a HUUUUUUGE mistake, because I was up until 3:30 reading, and unable to sleep even longer than that because I couldn't stop thinking about it, and was tempted to just forgo sleep for the night so I could finish it.  I'm too old to be doing that, and it's the second time in less than a week that I've stayed up way past an acceptable bedtime just to read.Am I delusional enough to think that this book will appeal to everyone?  Um, no.  There's a lot of squickiness (c'mon, it's zombies and meth addicts, FFS), and I can see the writing style not appealing to some people.  If you can get past that, though, it's definitely worth your time.Just don't read it in bed.  The close first person Fiend is written in will have you feeling too spun to sleep, even if you've never taken anything stronger than an OTC allergy med in your life.(Thanks to Crown for the eGalley, and to Peter Stenson for writing such a fantastic take on the usual tired zombie tropes.  I'll be watching.)Originally posted here.

  • Abigail
    2019-05-22 01:44

    Fiend was a book that really surprised me. I was surprised by how much I hated it. While it was definitely a new take on the zombie phenomena, that is truly the only positive thing that can be said about this book.My main problem was that I had no sympathy whatsoever for these characters. I initially thought Chase had some potential. He expressed regret with his drug use and interest in getting clean, although he made it sound like passing up meth would be as easy as 1-2-3. I thought the road to recovery would be an interesting premise in this book, especially in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. I was wrong.Apparently, the only ones who survived the wave of undead transformations were the meth addicts. Something about the chemicals resisted the change, leaving only a handful of tripped up survivors. So, problem solved. The only way to survive is to keep doing drugs. That immediately shot the plan of getting clean in the face. It was abnormally convenient. From there, the entire book became a road trip with Chase, the MC, Typewriter, an Italian crybaby, and KK, Chase's "love" and the only character who still thought getting clean would be worth it, with a sprinkle of amiable snorters in between. A constant cycle of making drugs, doing drugs, a lengthy monologue about how messed up the situation was, and repeat. Over and over, bar a change of setting in between. All with the average use of about 4 "fucks" per page. It seemed as though the author was waging war with Pulp Fiction through swear count. Then there were the zombies. Called "chucklers" byway of their maniacal laughter, were strangely absent throughout the book. Of course they were there, continually getting their heads blown off by Chase and his gun totting buddies. It seemed, to me, that the zombies weren't even the main conflict in this book. More of a slight nuisance that had to be faced when the meth heads decided to go outside. I would have liked to see more of them, more of how they actually functioned. But instead, they took a backseat to the drugs.I finished this book in a day, not because it was worth devouring, but because I wanted so badly for it to be over. There are numerous grievances that I had with this book that I won't get in to, such as the fact that there was No. Dialogue. Or that I found myself gagging repeatedly during what I'm sure were meant to be gritty and unfiltered scenes, but were in reality just ridiculous and disgusting. Or the ending. The ending was awful. No spoilers here, but I favored an ending where the entire planet just blew up. Honestly, my ending and Peter Stenson's would have made no difference, they are equally disdainful. Despite an awesome cover and an intriguing back cover, Fiend is not worth your time. A regrettable purchase on my part.

  • Brian
    2019-05-21 06:06

    Um ... Wow! My mind is blown. Not for everyone. I can see this being a huge trigger for someone in recovery from drug addiction. Lots of drugs. Every page. Maybe every other sentence. The symbolism is staggering. Joe Pesci language. Tarantino violence. And did I mention drugs? But what a story. Absolutely gorgeous, minimalist writing. The narrator draws you in and wrings your neck and heart over and over and over again. And my god what an ending. This book left me gasping, and Jonesing for more ...

  • Monica
    2019-06-12 01:01

    I am not usually a fan of zombie based dystopian novels, but I picked this book up after reading some glowing reviews that promised that Fiend is far from a typical zombie story. Within Fiend’s first few chapters Stenson makes it clear to the reader that he has an exceptionally unique writing style, and a penchant for fast-paced plots and distinctive characters. It is the kind of story that is unrelentingly blunt and gruesome, but at the same time can make the reader laugh out loud. As a connoisseur of literature, I see Fiend’s potential to be the kind of story that hooks the reader from the start, and takes them on a dark and thrilling journey that is extremely enjoyable. Unfortunately, on a personal note, this story was too sinister and violent for me. I usually do not mind graphic violence in a novel, but this story had too much for me to truly enjoy my reading experience. It is still a well written, innovative, and heart-pounding story that many readers will enjoy, but I suppose it was simply not “my kind of novel.” Fiend tells the story of a zombie apocalypse from a unique perspective: that of longtime meth addict Chase Daniels. When Chase first sees a zombie in the form of a little girl, he takes her violent acts and horrific appearance for a meth-induced hallucination. But soon Chase realizes that the little girl is no hallucination, and that the end of the world arrived without his notice while on particularly long binge. For Chase, this change is actually an excuse to start over; his life has already been shattered beyond redemption, and his drug habit has completely taken over his existence. This is his chance to become the man he once dreamed of being, connect with his lost love, and perhaps even become a hero among the ruins of civilization. Fiend is a story of addiction, love, and redemption- with the setting and pacing of a nail-biting zombie apocalypse novel. The most striking aspect of this novel is Stenson’s ability to create a despicable anti-hero who the reader cannot help but sympathize with. Chase has a good heart, and enough internal turmoil to make a zombie infestation seem tame by comparison. Though the action in this book will make your heart pound, Chase’s emotional struggles grab the reader’s attention and become the real heart and soul of the story. Chase’s struggle with meth is told in a realistic manner that highlights the intense destructive properties of the drug. His addiction is horrifying, and actually more disturbing and menacing than the zombies. Amidst a plot that is so fast paced that it will grab you from the first few pages and never let up is a brutal but honest glimpse of meth addiction. I am incredibly impressed that Stenson was able to pull off such an emotionally hard-hitting novel concerning real issues in the midst of a zombie thriller. Usually zombie novels are about zombies; this novel is about so much more. Despite the numerous merits of this story, the excessive amount of violence was too much for me to handle. This story is so gritty and gruesome that it literally made me nauseated several times. Usually I read fast paced novels quickly, but I had to put this novel down so many times that it took me three times longer than usual to finish. This element of Fiend assured that I did not enjoy it much, but I doubt the story will be too macabre for many horror fans. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone that does not mind graphic violence and that would be interested in a zombie novel that is well written and deals with real world issues. The character development in this story is fantastic, and though I will not be re-reading this novel, I admire Stenson’s superb story telling abilities. I am going to try to rate this novel on its assets, regardless of whether or not I enjoyed it. My rating: 7.5/10. I received a copy of this novel from Blogging for Books in return for an honest review.

  • Ashley (TheNerdyBookmark)
    2019-05-31 23:57

    I first picked up this book in the bargain section at work (Barnes & Noble shoutout) and it was initially the cover that drew me in (usually the case when I'm browsing for any random book). The pink! The yellow! The skull and cross needles! You've got me intrigued Mr. Stenson, bravo! Then, the inside book jacket - that first line, "When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he's not too concerned." If that doesn't have you reading more into this, it's CLEARLY not the book for you. Then we get into a drug + zombie combo for this book. Sold. What a concept, I think this is going to be a VERY entertaining ride ahead of me. As I'm writing this, I have not yet started this book. I wanted my first impression to be raw and not by any means influenced. Let's see how wrong I am:Well, I wasn't too far off! This book starts off slightly comical and tends to get more serious the deeper in we go. One of my favorite quotes from this book is from pg. 6 where Chase describes a bloodied, undead child: "I turn to see Typewriter at the top of the stairs and then look back to the girl sitting there like a used tampon." I'm glad I didn't have any liquids in my mouth at the time because this line had me cracking up XDOne thing I have to complain about though - lack of quotations, arghhh! It drove me nuts, but luckily, it was never confusing knowing who you were reading as so it wasn't too bad. This really could have made for an annoying read.Finally, my rating dropped from a 3.5 to a 3 because the ending sucked. It was left open ended and not in a good way. I literally said what the fuck? after I read the last sentence... Overall this was a fun read. If you're into zombies and cursing like a sailor while reading about people trying to survive off of dope, this is your book!**To See My FULL Review Visit: The Nerdy Bookmark: A Not-So-Serious Book Review Blog **

  • Lea
    2019-06-15 00:08

    One of the bleakest, saddest books I've ever read -- this one will keep you thinking long after you've finished it. Truly heartbreaking.

  • Cheryl
    2019-05-31 04:54

    This book was absolutely brutal, but I couldn't stop reading it. Breaking Bad meets The Walking Dead. The plot is about a zombie apocalypse, where doing meth is the only thing preventing you from turning into a zombie. When the meth wears off, you start to get sick and then you turn.The story is told over the span of a week, through the first-person view of Chase and his junkie friends. The book left me horrified - not of zombies, but of ever doing meth. You really see how addicts live for the next high and will do anything to get it. The author himself is a recovering addict, ten years sober, so I'm sure he used his own experiences to add to the realism. An intensly dark, addictive read.

  • Tia
    2019-06-06 23:02

    I couldn't put it down! Seriously, I had my baby in one hand & this book in the other for the past 48 hours.Edit -I just changed the rating from 4 to 5 stars. It's been nearly two months since I finished this book, and I can't stop thinking about it. When I first finished it, I tried to get into my next book & couldn't. I hated every single thing I picked up for about a week afterwards, because they weren't this book, which I was still lost in, despite finishing it. It was like a break-up with a boyfriend. None of the rebound books could satisfy me.The reason I initially gave it 4 stars was that I didn't like any of the characters. That is not the author's fault. It's hard to like lying, thieving junkies. And that was the point. You weren't supposed to like them. Even their own families or lovers had become estranged. This story couldn't be told with likable characters. Still, I was not emotionally invested in it. I didn't care if every single one of them died - unlike with Walking Dead, when it upset me to see certain people go, or made me happy if I hated them. I didn't love or hate these characters. So there's that. But that's how life is too. Normal people we know aren't heroes and villains.I absolutely loved the language. Yeah, descriptions were gross - what would you expect from a novel about walking corpses that feast on human flesh? People that were surprised by the ickiness aren't very bright, are they? I thought the similes were perfect. That's exactly how people think when they're high. I usually hate similes, because it means purple prose, but this author knows what he is doing. I also thought the dialogue was realistic. Not everything the characters said was a gem the author thought over for weeks. They said the kind of things people say when they're high, or trying to get high. I also thought the stream of consciousness style worked well. Basically this book was everything I always want Chuck Palahniuk books to be when I read them, but they never are. I bet Chuck wishes he wrote this.Also I loved that the girl the narrator is in love with is so imperfect, even in how he describes her. Finally. A real girl in a book written by a guy. I couldn't help but picture her as Yolandi from Die Antwoord. Skinny, blonde, trashy, likes to say "yo." And somehow hot in this dirty way. And many people complained about the ending, but it's one of the best endings I've ever read. I'll say it again - this author knows what he's doing. This is exactly the kind of book I love to find.

  • Krissy
    2019-06-06 00:41

    **2015 Reading Challenge W/Josh: #6 A Book Written By Someone Under 30**I loved this book. Before you judge me let me explain why... I loved it because...Because...I don't even fucking know why. I just did. This book was disgusting, and crass, and vulgar, and offensive in every way a book can be offensive. No subject was taboo enough for this author to leave out of his story. Everything was made into a joke. And yet I soaked that shit in. Soaked. It. In. And liked it. When I first realized that there would be no quotation marks used during the dialogue I thought that would drive me crazy. But surprisingly once I got into the story it did not bother me at all. I was able to follow along just fine without them. So anyway, there it is. This is a disgusting book and I should be ashamed of myself for enjoying it as much as I did. I should be but I'm not. Sorry not sorry.

  • Andrew
    2019-05-23 01:02

    I’m holding on to Typewriter’s arm and we’re running down the stairs. We’re outside and the sun is about to set behind the small river valley of St. Paul and we’re not alone anymore—the streets have started to fill with what looks like the usual haggard motherfuckers of tame Midwestern ghettos—and we get in Typewriter’s Civic and they are coming toward us, these people, these walking dead motherfuckers, all of them probably having reanimated and broken down their doors, and we’re driving away from them all.I tell Typewriter to give me what he’s holding.He starts with some shit about not knowing what I’m talking about. I pound the dash. I say, Give me your shit.He reaches into his pocket.It’s a decent-sized thirty rock.I pull the pipe from my pocket. I put the whole piece in the bowl. My hands shake. They’re stained black from Svetlana’s blood or maybe that’s mine and the lighter won’t catch. I just want a hit, that’s all I want, like everything—survival and death and being one of the few still alive—doesn’t matter, not really, the stem shaking in my mouth, my breath held. Finally the flame stays. I drag. It’s the smell of burning plastic and chemicals, of being sixteen and wanting to be rad like the kids I skated with, of wanting to fit in behind the dumpster at Burger King, of fear, of not knowing what I was smoking, of my lungs rebelling against poison, and then the release, clear smoke expelled with a sigh like pissing in a pool.My head becomes lighter, my shoulders released from the vise grip of being me sober.It’s okay then, everything.***Peter Stenson’s Fiend accomplished something I thought near impossible: it made me give a shit about a zombie story. To be clear, I’ve been tired of the overwhelming and overdone zombie “genre” since before it was even close to the cultural phenomenon it is at this very moment. As a supernatural creature, the shambling undead has always bored me—even the best stories feature different takes on fighting off a horde of melancholic drunks (or speed freaks, as was the case with Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake) who just wanna get their bite on. The more interesting takes—the ones with something to say—are the ones that push the zombies to the background, using an apocalyptic setting to tell a narrative of human survival, and how the presence of one demon will inevitably bring out the demon in all of us. In many of those cases, any sort of apocalyptic setting will do—zombies are just the thing to push people from one place to another with as many shotguns as they can carry. Thankfully, and unexpectedly, Fiend manages to distance itself from these expectations just enough to feel fresh.Beginning in medias res, Fiend follows Minnesota junkies Chase Daniels and his best friend John (Typewriter) as they come out the ass-end of a multi-day meth marathon and into the middle of a burgeoning zombie outbreak. One dead dog and a little girl smashed to death with a typewriter later and the two are on a dead sprint to get away from the sudden chaos that surrounds them, and to discover what the hell has happened to their world—and perhaps more importantly, why it didn’t happen to them. Along the way they’ll pull a Shaun of the Dead and rescue Chase’s is-she-or-isn’t-she girlfriend KK, hook up with The Albino—the greatest meth cook in Minnesota—and take shelter in, of all things, a prison.Fiend takes place over a single week, leaving little room to breathe. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the novel’s opening chapter, which clips along at a relentless, horrifying pace that feels a little like Trainspotting beneath the filter of an extended apocalypse hallucination. The sense of chaos is genuine, and about as easily digestible as a quarter-sized pill caught in one’s throat; by the end of just that first day, it’s remarkable—believably so—that Chase and Typewriter are still alive (when by all rights of god and Darwinism they should have been among the first to die in any true crisis scenario). Propulsive is overused to describe writing like this, but it fits.It’s the small touches that give Fiend its more unnerving edge: the telltale “giggle” of nearby zombies, the flashbacks to the psych ward where Chase and KK first met and fell in love and their reasons for being there, the gradual dissolution of trust among the survivors. The membrane stretching across all this, however, is the unlikely but interesting conceit that it’s meth, of all things, that keeps them safe from whatever it is that’s turning people into zombies in the first place. The survivors turn to rationing meth like most would food, but with the added “oh shit” factor of addiction increasing demand of a substance already in extremely limited supply, which leads to reckless missions like operation “Get Sudafed” while they contemplate their future meth-utopia, where daily use is encouraged—nay, essential for survival.The metaphor at the heart of Fiend is painted in broad strokes: it’s about addicts tearing down the lives around them—the lives of family members, friends, and society at large. It’s about pushing away from those suffering most due to their son/daughter/loved one’s self-destructive need. Nevertheless, the metaphor works because Stenson is willing to invert the world—to show how they’ve learned to survive when the world around them has gone to shit, because literally everyone still human, including a random trucker met early in the narrative, is a user in some way, shape, or form. It’s the users who know what’s best—everyone else had it wrong.Stenson writes from a place of authority. A recovering addict himself, he’s been sober for ten years. Fiend feels in many ways like an attempt to convey, through an established and currently easy to chew genre, what it’s like to be in the thick of using, to literally see the world around you as something to be fought against, as something that doesn’t want you to live as you want to live, free from oppressive legal and loving hands that might try to take away what it is that makes the pain go away.The novel is at its most disarming near the end, when following the most unattractive sex scene in the history of unattractive sex scenes (deliberately so, I imagine), Chase comes to the realization that this is it for society—that they’re the last of the last, smatterings of junkies here and there that cannot create life but can merely prolong death:Then I think about having to shoot my newborn up with drugs and this seems like the saddest fucking thought ever. Not so much abusing my baby. But that we’re done as a species. There’s no way to reproduce. No way to ensure our offspring make it out of the womb and no way to cultivate their minds and bodies. Even if there is some sort of cure, we’ll still have to shoot crystal every day. A baby couldn’t take that. So we’re it. Pockets of motherfucking junkies around the state. Around the country. Probably other countries too. All of us hunkered down wondering how much longer until the next thing goes wrong. Until we’re out of ephedrine to break down, or ammonia, or HCl. Until the power grid fails. Until we can’t stand our lives and slit our fucking wrists. We’re it.No two ways around it: Fiend is a depressing fucking book, but an exciting, interesting, and surprisingly well crafted character piece on top of all that. Stenson’s mid-apocalyptic exercise does enough to turn the genre’s clichés on their head so as to remain captivating until its terrific, soul destroying ending, which slips the sober reality of the situation like a knife between Chase’s ribs, twisting the metaphor to its logical, necessary end.

  • Derek
    2019-06-17 05:56

    Rarely does one encounter a book so pessimistic, so heartbreaking, so hopelessly despondent and relentless and entertaining as Peter Stenson's Fiend.Zombie books aren't my usual cup of tea (I hated World War Z, for what it's worth), and I don't have a ton of experience with "drug narratives" (I'm thinking Burroughs, Selby, et al). The combination works here, though, and surprisingly well. The seriousness of addiction, and Chase's palpable regret that informs nearly every page of the book, play nicely off of the inherent silliness to be found in a rollicking, gun-toting book about zombies. Stenson's awful good at creating tension and having things happen, sure, but the thing that makes Fiend special, nay, necessary, is that he did the legwork in making us care about Chase and crew, even if we don't "like" them. How rarely I find myself choked up by a book, and yet there I was, wishing Chase could un-fuck everything he'd fucked up, and knowing full well that he never, ever could. I wanted KK to love him and for that love to be uncomplicated, and I wanted the world to not be overrun, and I wanted Chase to want to get clean, and for him to be able to do it without getting eaten alive (literally and figuratively), but Stenson doles out the moments of happiness with a ruthless economy. As in life, it comes rarely. One has little doubt that Stenson's seen the dark, and even less doubt that he knows how to get it on the page.It makes good marketing to refer to this as Walking Dead-meets-Breaking Bad, and that certainly goes a long way in describing what Stenson is doing, but what surprised me here is how much those two types of narratives have to say to one another, in ways I would never have expected. My mind wouldn't have immediately connected the tenacity of the junkie to the qualities one would do well to possess in an end-of-world situation. That is, Stenson does fine work in exploring the selfishness of the survivor (Chase's in particular, but with larger implications as well, especially in that crushing conclusion to the book), and how broken it is that a world in which getting spun is necessary is precisely what the junkie might pine for. And so the junkies get what they wish for, and what they get is the nightmare that is Fiend.That term--"junkie"--is of course an easy way of othering (a way, I suppose, for the reader, myself included, to deal with his own mistakes, and distance them from Chase's), and so it should be stated that none of the characters here ever conform to type. If the reader might see commonalities between Chase and anyone they know who's suffered from addiction, they might just as easily recognize that Chase's story is wholly his own. He wants desperately for things to return to some impossible situation that likely never existed anyway, and he knows that getting high is only taking him further from it, and yet he can't help himself. He errs, over and over and over and over. There's no way to "win" here.This might not matter so much if Chase didn't feel things as acutely as he does in Fiend, or if Stenson didn't get that regret on the page so convincingly and troublingly. Chase has done awful things--any reader claiming to not be affected by Chase's friend ODing in the bathroom stall and being abandoned by Chase is full of shit--and knows he must live with them, but knows too that he'll continue to fuck up, because fucking up is at least a form of living. And there you have it, through Stenson's pen and in black and white, worth revisiting, again and again.

  • Kristin (Blood,Sweat and Books)
    2019-06-10 02:00

    Review originally published @Blood, Sweat and BooksFiend follows the story of a drug addict named Chase and his friend Typewriter as they try to survive the start of a Zombie Apocalypse. Fiend is definitely not your average Zombie story and frankly that is what drew me to it in the first place. Through the years reading Zombie books I've seen serial killers, momma's boys, crazies, housewives, military men and women etc as survivors but I can only recall a handful of times where I've seen a Drug Addict the hero of the story and even then they didn't usually last long.When I started Fiend I expected the characters to be high but as the world turned to sh*t I really hoped to see the withdrawal process as drugs became scarce and surviving, not getting high became the characters priority. However, this book actually surprised me. The Author decided to keep his characters high. Sure they'd have moments of lucidity where they weren't shooting up, popping pills or smoking something but those are few and far between. Now before you ask, No he's not glorifying drug abuse. The characters actually have a legitimate excuse for being and staying high. Of course you'll have to actually read the book to find out why this is. Now while being high all the time made the characters hard to relate to, I could of easily dealt with it. What I found to be the real killer of this book was the narration itself. Like Andrew McCormac's The Road the Author chose to write without punctuation. This makes it incredibly hard to follow who is talking and whether they are excited, depressed or just feeling horny. I know the narration (least I'm assuming) is supposed to resemble the erratic minds of being high but it just did not work for me. To me the book felt unpolished and I just gave up trying to care about what was going on and instead just tried to focus on finishing the story instead. Another thing I didn't really like were the characters. Chase goes on and on about this girl named KK and then when we meet her she's barely better than a crack whore and she looks like a prepubescent boy. Seriously? What the hell does he see in her. It's surely not looks, brains or personality given by how he describes her and the way she acts. Also the characters were like really, really obsessed with genitals. When they weren't talking about getting high it was Vagina this or Penis that. I just didn't understand the fascination. Maybe I'm just to straight edge to "get it".Surprisingly, as far as Zombie stories go I actually really liked that aspect of the book. The Zombies were scary and the fact they had a bad case of the giggles totally added a level of creepiness to the story that I wasn't expecting. Least when a normal Zombie is killing you they don't do it while giggling happily about it. Overall, I just couldn't find myself caring about the story or the characters. Fiend was a great idea that in my opinion just was lacking in poor execution. Even the ending which I found actually interesting couldn't save this book for me. Would I recommend it? Eh, no but if you really want to try it then I highly suggest borrowing before buying. With that being said, I will be rating Fiend by Peter Stenson ★★.

  • Dani
    2019-05-29 03:54

    Zombies and druggies! It's like new and improved Trainspotting with free undead! So personally, I really liked this book. But as I was audio-reading it, there was some vocabulary that I wasn't familiar with, like:-scante-tina-teenerAnd, sheltered nerd that I am, I was thinking, how do you spell that? So I actually ended up e-checking-out (downloading from the library) an e-print-word copy so that I could figure out what the heck he was talking about, and I noticed that on "paper," this book is really rambling and I think I would have found it a lot harder to follow and not enjoyed it much.Especially with the not using quotation marks to show dialogue. What is with that? If you have no problem using all the other punctuation, what's your grudge against quotation marks? So I think the actor who read the audio book was especially good, because it was perfectly coherent in audio form.Also, he did not pronounce the word "else" like it has a "T" in it, which is my ongoing pet peeve with audio book readers.And his voice reminded me of the audio book of Feed, so that also earned some points.I don't much care for zombies, but I do enjoy a good addiction story, which is kind of weird in that I've never been there myself. I loved Chase's descriptions of being in bad-love with the drugs, and what it feels like for him when he uses them, and why it is so irresistable to him. IAt some point he describes it as something like, a huge dopamine rush that is like God and love and sunshine and everything good in the world all at once. YES! (why do I relate to this?? oh well...) I also enjoy a good love story, which this kinda was, sorta, kinda, for at least part of the book. *SEMI-SPOILER*, for some of it, the guy has to spend a significant amount of time with his still-beloved ex and her current boyfriend. Tee hee! Awk-warrrrd.Other reviewers said they didn't find any of the characters likeable. I get that and all, since all any of them cared about was drugs (and, secondarily, staying away from the zombies), but I actually liked Chase a lot. I liked the honesty of the narrative voice. I felt like I was really inside his head, and that he was thinking thoughts someone would actually think. If you're going to do a lot of internal discourse, do it right, and Peter Stenson definitely did.Other reviewers also wanted to say that there is some kind of point being made about how people who are addicted to drugs ARE zombies.Maybe? It didn't seem that way to me, but if there is, it definitely wasn't clear to me what that point was.Finally (SEMI-SPOILER), big points off for the abrupt and inconclusive ending.But overall, I enjoyed this book about 99%, so although I wasn't IN LOVE with it or anything, thus the only 4 stars, I would still rate it Pretty Freaking Awesome, though definitely Not For Everyone.AND a couple of additional thoughts, partly inspired by the book, but only semi-relevant to the book:- I've noticed that "Chase" is starting to be a trendy name, which annoys me, because that's MY name that I name characters, dammit!- I've noticed a lot of pop-culture references to dopamine lately. "Dopamine is everything" is MY worldview, dammit!Conclusion: the world needs to stop stealing my ideas!

  • Basia
    2019-05-31 23:00

    Holy [email protected]#?!!!!!Just beautiful. Gorgeous. The way it's written makes the reader feel like s/he is right there with the characters, enduring their trials and tribulations. I'm not even a nut for zombie stories, but this book?? It's a thing of beauty. Do yourself a humongous favor and try this out. My goodness, I loved it!!!!!

  • Jen
    2019-06-18 05:57

    Wow. That was some ride! It was such a fast and engaging read! Human behavior during the apocalypse is always engaging but this had the extra level of some unique human dynamics and addiction. The cover said it would be compared to Cormac McCarthy and I agree. It was the same type of engaging page turner as The Road. Well done!

  • Patrick
    2019-06-06 04:44

    Uh, Uh, not sure what to say other that Fiend was an incredible read. I got sidetracked a couple of times but Stenson has a way of drawing one out of the fray and back into the fire. Need to read it again when I get stranded on a deserted I can concentrate a little better.

  • Mimi
    2019-05-26 01:58

    Reasons I look forward to reading this book:1) to support a local author2) zombies in my hometown

  • Tikaa
    2019-06-09 21:55

    * 4.5 stars *Original review posted here: you survive a zombie apocalypse?The real question is, can a meth addict survive a zombie apocalypse?Wassup fANGIRL Readers, I want to start out by saying that I've been reading a whole lot of crazy this month. I guess it's fitting being that Halloween is right around the corner. Judging by the cover, would I have ever guessed this story would be wild, fun, and absolutely crazy? Of course?! You guys know me by now, you know how much I love my dysfunctional reads, and by that cover art I knew it would be right up my alley. I mean look at it. There's a skull, which totally screams, "Danger, Danger." which in my mind translates to "Read me, Read me." Then you have the two syringes crossing each other, which immediately gave me the impression that the main character would be a drug abuser. I happen to enjoy that aspect in books okay! But, what I wasn't expecting, was a apocalypse. Correction, a zombie apocalypse, that completely captivates you from page one. Enter Chase Daniels. From the very first sentence you know something is completely off with this guy. He's chilling at his friend Typewriter's home, when he takes a ride to ecstasy after hitting some "glass" he had stashed. Yep, our main character is a 25 year old meth addict. But you don't get much time to react to this revelation because in comes the craziness. The sun is bright as he looks out of Typewriter's, (his real name is John) window. There he sees a young girl. A young girl with blonde hair and umbrella socks, looking like she's innocently playing with a rottweiler. The dog snaps at the young girl, and in return she reciprocates by lunging towards the dog and ripping a gaping hole in his throat . . . with her teeth. What . In . The . World . Just . Happened .Chase and I seemed to share a common reaction, the only thing we have in common, to this scene. He closes his eyes, rubs them, and proceeds to do his famous "one one thousand, two one thousand" count before opening his eyes again. Only he's not hallucinating, because the girl is still there, bloody with remnants from the poor dog's throat, and she's coming towards him.Not good. Not good at all, and here my dear readers, is where the freakshow begins. I was kind of shocked when I finished this book in less than a day. I felt like I just started the story, and just like that, with a snap of a finger, I was finished. I didn't want it to end, especially the way it did, because it left me craving more, and I might not be as lucky as Chase and his addict friends to receive another "hit" of this story. Finding a word to describe Fiend is actually pretty challenging. It was fast, funny, creepy, depressing . . . just everything rolled up in one. The was my first time reading a novel with an apocalypse as the concept, who I am kidding, it was my first time reading a novel about zombies . . . I think. My memory isn't my bestfriend these days, but I'm most certainly satisfied that Fiend was the first to pop my apocalyptic cherry.That sounded a bit perverted . . . Anywho, what I enjoyed the most about Fiend was the weird writing style. I wasn't expecting it, I haven't even read anything like it, and even though it was different, it didn't take long for me to get used to it. The first few pages were a bit difficult at first because there are no quotation marks. I'm talking, none whatsoever. So at first, I found myself saying, "Wait, here's the paragraph with his thoughts, and the description of things and such, and here's the dialogue, so where are the quotation marks?" I began to think, "Did the publisher send me an ARC? Surely this book has already been released." So I skim the book a little, and low and behold, there are indeed, no quotation marks. However, it didn't bother me as much as it did others. Literally after a couple of pages you'll start to adjust to the writing, and everything will start to flow. Trust me. Another reason I enjoyed the writing style, was because I felt it fit the character's personality. The writing gave off such a unstructured, scattered feel, and that's completely how the lives and thoughts of these characters actually were. But what makes a good story? The plot? The characters? Let's cover those aspects next.For you to love a book, you would have to love the plot right? Yea you can have amazing, relatable, funny, blah-blah-blah characters, but I feel as though a plot is the bones of a story. This is what sold me on Fiend. First of all, the concept is so original. As I mentioned before, this was my first apocalyptic experience, but to my defense, I still haven't heard of anything remotely close to this concept. Imagine yourself as Chase, driving along familiar streets of your hometown and not seeing a soul. You're wondering where everyone is, and then BAM you're attacked, and forced to defend yourself. Everyone is dead. Turned to these creepy zombies who eat your flesh. You search for others who may still be alive, only to discover that the people who are still living through this epidemic, are meth addicts . . . just like you. Throw in the fact that the only way to not "turn" into one of the zombies or "chucks" as they called them, is to feed your already dependent habit of meth by continuously using. Smoking meth, snorting meth, shooting meth, becomes a desperate need of survival. Sprinkle in a twisted love story, then mix in a slew of delusional addicts, and you have yourself a recipe for disaster.These delusional addicts I speak of, have to be the most crazed, but oddly interesting characters I've ever read. Chase has this weird, hero male protagonist thing going on. He was indeed the brains of the operation, and even though he screamed and cried alot, (I would too in that situation lol) he was brave and alot of times selfless. He made decisions throughout the book, one left me cringing, but he was always able to justify his wrongs. (Sometimes) Alot of his actions were solely based on the fact that he was an addict. Which made his character very sneaky, and a bit conniving, but on the otherhand, he was very sweet and caring. This all sounds crazy right? lol. " I'm telling myself that I'm a problem solver. I figure shit out. I make it happen. I'm thinking about being unemployed over the last two years. How I was able to keep a roof over my head. Able to smoke hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of dope a week. These are the marks of a problem solver. And maybe all of us drug addicts are? Give a motherf*!ker a carrot at the end of a string and we'll do whatever it takes to nibble on it's end. "I truly enjoyed how well the secondary characters were written. They weren't just page fillers, but characters with actual stories of their own. Typerwriter a.k.a John, his bestfriend who lost his mother to cancer. KK, Chase's ex girlfriend who left him to chase sobriety. All of their problems becomes each others problems, and they learn to deal with addiction, survival, and the harsh realities of life. Together. What I will say before I wrap this up, is that this book is not for everyone. You're literally in the head of a meth head. You're witnessing sick thoughts, that maybe a sober person wouldn't think. You're reading dialogue that has dry humor, things you wouldn't dare laugh at or even repeat, but you do . . . discreetly. Not everyone can get lost in this world that's been turned upside down, with these stupid addicts, and these stupid zombies that giggle! You might not even like the creepiness of the writing, or better yet, all the gore you read and imagine so vividly, but I did. I loved every minute of this story, and after reading Fiend, to answer the question I asked before, "Can you survive a zombie apocalypse?"My answer is . . . Hell No! Later Guys,fANGIRL

  • Kate Dollard
    2019-06-08 01:05

    I am just 50 pages in and I am 100% sure that this is not my cup of tea. To Goodreads friends, I am reading this book because a student chose it for summer reading and asked me to sponsor it with him, but good God- it's terrible. If you like prose that includes a four-letter word every other word, and if you like reading about blood and gore...then go for it. It's explicit in every sense of the word. Counting the pages down before it's over...WHYYYYYY does it have to be so bad?!?

  • Victoria
    2019-06-03 04:39

    Holy Crap! Talk about being on the edge of your seat!I nibbled my nails down to the WICK reading this book! It is very fast paced, quick witted, hilarious and yet completely horrific. I absolutely loved the pace of this novel, I mean- you are thrust right into the meat of it. No messing around with character build-up or backdrops- NOPE, there is simply no time for it! There is no time to grieve the loss of any characters- no Keep moving! must find drugs, food shelter etc ASAP. I found this to be very well written, although some might disagree due to the lack of quotation marks. I found it easier to power thru the dialogue. It cut out a TON of fluff. There is no fluff at all in this book- just fear, delusion, distrust, PANIC. Stenson did a great job putting you in the mind of a junkie during a zombie apocalypse. I would def read more from this author!

  • Gea
    2019-05-24 05:38

    3.5 StarsFiend takes place during the zombie apocalypse. Most people have mysteriously died in the night, and only some have reanimated as Zombies. The only humans who have survived death and reanimation are meth heads, for reasons unknown. Chase Daniels is a meth head. He survives along with his friend Typewriter, the love of his life KK, her boy friend Jared, and their dealer/cook The Albino. All are speed freaks. This does not bode well for the future of humanity.Peter Stenson is a unique, courageous, and talented writer, but Fiend is an exhausting ride. It takes off at breakneck speed and does not slow down. Ever. The characters do meth non-stop, shooting, smoking, or snorting it. For the person observing and not partaking (the reader) this is quite a ride to take with characters whose consciousness swirls and jumps like a runaway roller coaster careening through the muck. Violence, of course, ensues. So does screaming, crying, and occasional sex. About half way in I began wondering what this story was really about. Yes, it’s about drugs. The zombies, called chucks for their creepy habit of giggling and chuckling, really take the back seat, although they are a great symbol for the dehumanization of drug addiction. (As a medic in Miami-Dade, I’ve seen my share of zombies). But what does Stenson have to say? We invest hours and days into a book in order to go on a journey. Often there is a character arc, a transformation of sorts that occurs. I kept waiting for it to happen, and then I began to suspect that maybe that’s not what this story is about. (Whether or not it finally occurs I will not say. Better to leave you guessing.)So what is Fiend about besides the fact that drug addiction really really really sucks? Bad. Really. Peter Stenson was in his 20 when he wrote this, and I believe, still in grad school. He is at the beginning of his literary journey and perhaps a bit young to be able to fully philosophize on all the implications of his experience. Or maybe he has and this is all there is to say. However, there are certain themes that keep coming up:1. Fiends hate themselves. Truly and deeply. It goes far beyond self-loathing. They know they have destroyed their lives and irrevocably brutalized the hearts of those who love them and it hurts like hell. When they are high, they hate themselves a lot less. Sometimes, for a split second, they may even love themselves.2. Fiends have an intense inability to face one moment of life with an unaltered consciousness. Life is overwhelming in its torturous heartbreaking disgusting mundanity and to face a second of it without speed racing through their veins is just too much to bear.3. Fiends don’t have the deepest thoughts but there is plenty of guilt swirling through their brains. Their vocabulary is painfully limited. Lots of yos, what the fucks, and tampon metaphors. 4. When you are a fiend loss comes with the territory. Loss of their families, most who have tried to love them and save them, but have failed miserably. Loss of innocence. Loss of purity. Loss of self-love and happiness. There is before and after and they look back at before with an intense longing and self-hatred for all the ways they thoroughly destroyed it. Often, there is no one to blame but themselves.5. Fiends destroy the ones they love. Sometimes it is the drug itself that does it, as if Tina is a living entity that takes them over, shoving their consciousness and will to the side. Like a demon it possesses them and wrenches control. (I’ve seen this on calls, as if the person is possessed by the devil. If speed had been around in the middle ages, inquisitors would have orgasmed in continual glee.) Throughout the book Chase suggests it was the drug acting and the being behind the drug was gone or paralyzed or subsumed. Usually though they live side by side, the mind and the meth, locked in some sick stumbling dance, hating and craving each other simultaneously.Fiend is imbued with loss and nostalgia, yet intense love and friendship somehow survive the carnage. Despite its overwhelming power, meth has not destroyed every ounce of loyalty they share for each other. But with lives like this why fight so hard to survive? When you absolutely loathe yourself and when you are surrounded by the broken fragments of humanity and there is no way out other than more meth and degradation, why continue on? Why do humans fight to survive when their life is a pathetic living hell?On a superficial note, the cover of the hard back rocks. It’s probably half the reason I bought the book, that and the first badass paragraph. Stenson can write, but Fiend is a brutal bloody ride. It feels like being dragged through shards of glass down the turnpike at high speed. You may possibly survive, but there will be scars.You can read my book reviews at

  • Sarah (A Weebish Book Blog)
    2019-06-05 05:41

    This review was originally posted on One Curvy Blogger2.5 starsI’ve been interested in Fiend since my pal Tika reviewed the book in late 2014 over on her blog fANGIRL Confessions. I finally picked up a copy on my last adventure to Barns and Noble and I was lucky enough to get it on sale! While I didn’t hate Fiend, it surprised me when I wasn’t amazed by it, either. The plot and writing woes For me, the most exciting part of the book happened in the first chapter. It was a The Walking Dead level gore fest that had me begging for more but sadly, it didn’t stay that way. The more I read, the slower it the plot seemed to move. By the middle of the Fiend, I had to force myself to finish. It just wasn’t exciting enough for me.My biggest issue was the writing. The style in which Stenson delivered Fiend was so completely different from anything I’ve read that it felt disjointed and distracted me from the story. It’s awesome to find an author who has an original idea, but because the book was so out of the box I can’t relate, it kept pulling me out of the book.The second largest issue I had with Fiend was the plot. To enjoy good end-of-the-world zombie fiction, I need a hell of a lot of world building. I generally expect most of my questions to be answered, but by the end of Fiend, I had more questions than answers. If you’re a nosy reader like I am, this I’m not saying I need to know what caused them, but I need a plausible theory for how they showed up. Was it a virus? The rapture? Contaminated water source? It was so frustrating that my questions went unanswered. The character’s were… alright.I love it when my heart rattles against my uvula. I love it when my vision is a camera shutter. I love it when I know that someday, I will do great things. I love it when methamphetamine make things okay.Fiend is told by Chase Daniels, a druggie who’s only long time relationships are with his best friend and fellow addict, Typewriter, and his drug dealer. The story follows Chase as he and Typewriter dodge the giggling undead —yes, I said giggling zombies— on his journey to save his ex-girlfriend and more importantly, accumulate a large stash of crack to survive the apocalypse. It’s not that I hated Chase, it’s just that I didn’t get him. Or maybe I just don’t get having an addiction so bad, that betraying my loved ones is better than living without…He and the rest of his fluctuating group of druggie survivors didn’t make me feel anything except a pity. My “meh” feelings for the characters probably comes down to my inability to relate. *shrug*If you love dysfunctional characters, Fiend might be for youI’m not sure who would love this book, to be honest. Certainly not hardcore zombie lovers. This book would probably appeal to readers who like a nice dysfunctional anti-hero for their narrator. While my experience with Fiend wasn’t a the best of experiences, I do think other readers could enjoy reading this novel. It just wasn’t for me.

  • Allen Adams
    2019-06-18 00:46 with any art form, trends play a big part in the literary realm. Whenever a genre or subject sees a surge in popularity, more and more authors jump into the fray. This is a mixed blessing at best; while some writers have something new and unique to add to a subject, many others are simply along for the ride, attempting to cash in on something that has achieved a certain level of cultural prominence.The paranormal has seen such a surge in recent years. Wizards and vampires have had their respective moments in the sun, while a current pop-lit darling is the idea of the zombie. Now, with such a wealth of material out there, it can be difficult for an author to put any kind of personal stamp on the walking dead.Peter Stenson has found a way. With his debut novel “Fiend," Stenson has managed to tackle the post-apocalyptic zombie with freshness and fervor. And crystal meth. Lots and lots of crystal meth.What Stenson has done is offer a new look at the idea of the zombie apocalypse. There is no meteor strike or virus or anything like that. The zombies just…happened. And while most of these stories feature heroes equipped to some extent for the battle ahead, Chase and his crew are all sadly – and perhaps irreparably – broken. This is what makes us root for their success, despite the fact that none of them really fit the definition of “good people.” If Irvine Welsh and George Romero were to co-write a novel, the end result would be something very much like “Fiend.” Part zombie apocalypse, part addiction narrative, part love story – “Fiend” brings its seemingly dissonant parts into a riveting harmonic whole.

  • zxvasdf
    2019-05-29 03:02

    What I know about methamphetamines I learned from Breaking Bad and the terrifying billboards gracing our highways. It's crystal clear to me that this shit is bad as hell, and long enough on it, your mind breaks like glass. You're not a human being, but one of the walking dead. You're all about getting high.Our protagonist is Chase Daniels, a meth addict, and he wakes up in a scene out of the movies. Holed up for a week, he can't believe his eyes. As the shit progressively hits the fan, Stenson takes us deeper into his mind, a cesspool of tragedy and regret. In the midst of it all is an incandescent beacon of hope, glorious and all-encompassing in its purity: the next fix.It's the temporary hope that an addict always harbors, which always makes it possible for the next fix to happen. When that hope is extinguished, so is the pulse. In stories like this, there's that, and there's another hope. It's the hope of the human race, that it will rebuild from the ruins. You find it in all those post-apocalypse stories. Survivors emerge from the municipal wastelands, armed to the teeth and happy despite, no, in spite of all this pain and death. Stenson tells us there is no hope for mankind in Fiend. We're fucked. I went through this book like a junkie does his stash.