Confessions of Sylva Slasher is a 2013 young adult horror novel by actor/author Ace Antonio Hall, set in an alternate universe. The novel introduces the character Sylva Fleischer, an eighteen-year old Hawaiian necromancer who is hired by the government to help combat a zombie outbreak during an apparent apocalypse.
The novel blends elements of science fiction, action and martial arts fiction. The original title for the book was Confessions of a Teenaged Zombie Slasher. This is the first novel which will be part of a undead universe that will span transmedia formats.
The book received mostly positive reviews. Platypire Reviews stated that the protagonist was a bit of a mix between Anita Blake and Buffy. The Lost Inside the Covers blog review claimed that Ace Antonio Hall's writing was visual, commenting that the story “is a fully fleshed out comic book that would translate well into a graphic novel” Hugo and Nebula-winning author, Robert J. Sawyer, says that Confessions of Sylva Slasher is, "A treat for Buffy fans -- but 100% Ace Antonio Hall's own twisted vision. Breathes new life into the living dead."
The Confessions of Sylva Slasher was first published on April 14, 2013, by Montag Press Collective Media, featuring a cover designed by George Cotronis. The second edition was published on October 20, 2013 and features the illustration by Luis Emilio Aceves-Amaya and has a more anime-friendly design.
Hall has said that the inspiration for writing a zombie story from a female point-of-view comes from a variety of sources. In an interview on Madeline Shaples' Choices blog, he says, "One of the reasons I honor, write and champion the female species is because I grew up with my grandmother. I saw all the trials and tribulations she went through, and being that she took me into her home when she was seventy-years-old, I saw many of her challenges. That's why I fall in love with stories or games with strong female protagonists. Take for instance, the video games Tomb Raider or Resident Evil, which both feature female characters. I will always tell stories that deal with the terrible conditions women go through and the triumphs they overcome. It speaks to my heart."
Hall cites the novel, Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler as a major source of inspiration for creating a vulnerable yet self-empowering character. Besides being called 'zombie' instead of his real middle name, Nzondi, Hall says that he writes stories about the undead because his first wife died five days after he married when he was nineteen-years-old, and he's been haunted with questions about the after-life ever since.
The novel is also inspired by George Romero’s Living Dead films that were social commentaries. With Hall being a former NYC educator, he inputs conflict that he saw common with the at-risk students he taught, as the protagonist is conflicted with many teenaged issues.According to an interview on his website, Hall says, "In my opinion, zombies were a symbolic metaphor for the mental state of the U. S. citizen—we were mute and without will—taking whatever the political leaders of our great country dished out. In a country where only 54.9% of the voting age population voted in the last election, Americans seemed zombified; shambling along in their own lives, participating in affairs, which affect all people living in the states, on a minimal basis."
Sylva Ka’iulani Fleischer is a Hawaiian-born/German-descent teenager who works as a necromancer for a living. Wanting to get away from raising the dead for police investigations and demanding grieving families for a while, she goes on a cruise for spring break. Her vacation from the dead is short-lived when passengers on the ship turn into flesh-eating zombies. These are not the same simple-minded harmless zombies she raises and can control, so Sylva and her friends are trapped on the Pacific Ocean. Their only escape comes from a guy Sylva thought was dead: Brandon. It just so happens to also be the anniversary of his death, and she's still hurting from his loss!
Sylva doesn't normally hold grudges, but when someone plays with her heart they have to pay. However, with the fate of the human race on the line, Brandon convinces Sylva to join him in a secret mission, yet she can't shake the feeling that he's hiding something. It didn't take long for her suspicions to hold true when it's revealed that Brandon has been romantically involved with the very enemy he now wants her to destroy. To top that brutal betrayal, the villainous female would rather kill Brandon than let Sylva have a chance to patch things up between them. Sylva is not the kind of girl to walk away from love without a fight, but with a strange virus threatening extinction of human life, she shoves her own feelings in her back pocket to face her greatest nightmare, and that nightmare starts with something that is eerily growing right inside of her own mind and body.
The Confessions of Sylva Slasher tackles themes of bullying, alienation and abandonment. The novel deals with the struggle that a teenage girl has with busy hard-working parents, and how she deals with issues on her own through trials and tribulations. In one review entitled Teen Hunts Zombies and Charms Readers, the reviewer says, “Sylva's depth of character and inner conflict, take The Confessions of Sylva Slasher to a level beyond most zombie novels.”
One of the driving forces behind Sylva Slasher becoming a necromancer and having the power of cheating death is Sylva’s own fear of dying, so when she has to cross over to the gates of death to save humanity, to Sylva’s surprise, her death is not the end of her existence but a transition—a rebirth—like a butterfly breaking from a cocoon. This is a motif throughout the book and it symbolizes how the female characters in Hall's own life had to overcome living nightmares of sexism and abuse. A very sensitive theme that the novel covers is abuse as well and
Hall sends a message to the reader about female self-empowerment which is a message he preached for over a decade as a New York City Language Arts teacher. In regards to the books that have influenced the strong female characters in the Confessions of Sylva Slasher the most, Hall says, “The stories which have influenced me greatly are Parable of the Sower ... The Stand and ... the very first novel I read as a 10-year-old boy, Escape from Witch Mountain by Alexander Key.”
SYLVA FLEISCHER is a nineteen-year-old necromancer living on a parallel version of Earth, where “deadheads” (zombies) are non-threatening with simple innocent minds. Because deadheads can speak (somewhat) and never lie, officers of the law hire Sylva for police investigations, corporations hire her for company takeovers when a chief executive dies or mourners want their loved ones raised to simply say their last goodbyes.
Sylva was born in Hawaii to a Hungarian father and a Hawaiian mother. She learned that she had the gift of necromancy at eight-years-old after raising a butterfly from the dead. Often bullied as a young girl for being "different", her parents put her in martial arts. Her surname Fleischer means "butcher" and is German in origin.
Date of birth: February 12, 1994, Age: 18, Blood Type: B, Gender: Female, Height: 5 ft. 4 in., Hair: Blonde, Eyes: Silver, Mass: 110 lbs., Race/Nationality: Hungarian/Hawaiian,
Education: Highest Level (12th Grade) – Dropped out of school to help prevent the apocalypse. 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo. Under the Three Orders of Necromancy: (1) the Neith Apprentice, (2) the Neter-Khertet; and (3) the Akh Preceptor, Sylva is the latter performing at the highest level of necromancy.
Occupation: Necromancer for The Silver Kisses Aerial Ash Scatterings Company and Private Zombie Unit Operative for the Necrotic Affairs Division in the FBI’s branch of the Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG).
Weapons: Uses the semi-auto handgun Heckler & Koch USP (H&K P8) which uses 9x19mm Parabellum/9mm Luger ammunition (boxes of ammo labeled Tiger Claw) and has a 15 round magazine feedtype.
Emily - Emily is Sylva's best friend.
Birth Name: Emily Hayashi, Date of birth: September 2, 1994, Age: 18, Blood Type: O-positive, Gender: Female, Height: 5 ft. 6 in., Hair: Copper, Eyes: Brown, Mass: 117 lbs., Race/Nationality: Hawaiian born/Japanese descended, Education: High School Diploma, Occupation: Assistant Necromancer for The Silver Kisses Aerial Ash Scatterings Company.
Flip - Flip is Emily's boyfriend. He is an aspiring professional skateboarder.
Birth Name: Beckham Watanabe, Date of birth: November 4, 1994, Age: 18, Blood Type: O-positive, Gender: Male, Height: 6 ft. 4 in., Hair: Black, Eyes: Brown, Mass: 217 lbs., Race/Nationality: Hawaiian born/Japanese descended, Education: High School Diploma, Occupation: Pilot for the Silver Kisses Aerial Ash Scatterings Company.
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