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This Dark Earth

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3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  545 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
In a bleak, zombie-ridden future, a small settlement fights for survival and looks to a teenager to lead them…

The land is contaminated, electronics are defunct, the ravenous undead remain, and life has fallen into a nasty and brutish state of nature.

Welcome to Bridge City, in what was once Arkansas: part medieval fortress, part Western outpost, and the precarious last sta
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Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by Gallery Books
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End of the World
16th out of 168 books — 196 voters
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Zombies!
283rd out of 1,423 books — 3,955 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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seak
Dec 16, 2012 seak rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-review, 2012, braaains
I picked this book up not because I'm a fan of a good zombie book (even though I am), but solely on the strength of the reviews of his debut novel Southern Gods.

No, I haven't read it, but I will now.

This Dark Earth takes us from the beginning of the zombie apocalypse through the early development of a new civilization. Not treading a whole lot of new ground here are we?

And I think that's what's blowing me a way with this book is that it's nothing new, but at the same time it felt fresh and vibr
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Carol.
Apr 29, 2013 Carol. rated it liked it
Recommends it for: committed zombie readers only
Recommended to Carol. by: seak
Shelves: apocalypse, zombies
And the award goes to Gallery Books for Most Deceptive Cover Ever, with a second award for the Most Misleading Book Blurb in the Zombie Genre.

My blurb? Seven interconnected stories follow a doctor, her son and a trucker as the zombie apocalypse goes down. The son is a cold-blooded Messiah figure while the trucker provides him with emotional guidance. Humanity remains largely cruel and selfish, although some people will martyr themselves for the good of the herd. Let the rebuilding commence!

*****
...more
Trudi
Mar 18, 2013 Trudi rated it liked it
Recommends it for: zombie addicts
Liked it overall, but I did have my problems with it.

The Good:

1. The zombies (aka zeds, shamblers, revs (short for revenants)) -- there is nothing unique about Jacobs' zombies: they are slow, and gooshy, and stink. They are dangerous in hordes and are attracted to sound. All this we've seen before; nevertheless, the descriptions are remarkably vivid -- skulls shattering, teeth splintering, intestines bursting, and always the terrible, gag-inducing smell of rot.

2. The first 121 pages are a comp
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Lou
Dec 18, 2012 Lou rated it it was amazing
Let me lay all the cards on the table and let me tell it to you in a straight and simple way of what we have here before us.
In this story John Hornor Jacobs has put before us a case of
the good, the bad and the ugly!

The Good = a mum, son and a father = courageous, survivors and fighters.

The Bad = the Slavers = enslave women and men, selfish and want to control the living.

The Ugly = the Shamblers = the undead, cannibals and ugly.

The scene is set the desolate earth the dark earth of ruin and destru
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Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Ever wonder what it might be like to restart civilization after zombies?! Well read this book. It takes you through the start of the zombie rise to starting life over. Very neat story line. A little off track in the middle but it gets back on track, still a good book.
Brenna
ineedabookbrenna.wordpress.com

I have an obsession with zombies. It's weird and twisted, I know. When I think about the horror movies that have left me most terrified and the only ones that really come to mind are zombie related: 28 days later, 28 weeks later, Dawn of the Dead, even the sketch comedy / horror versions like Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead leave me with vivid nightmares. I think it has something to do with the fact that everyone you know and love becomes a monster. Oh, and the fac
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Erik
Oct 23, 2012 Erik rated it it was amazing
The zombie thing has been done - gore, brain eating, fast and slow - and for the most part, there's been a reliance on tropes. A few novels play with these tropes, turning them on their heads, making them something new, creating stories with heft or humor or gravitas. S.G. Browne's BREATHERS comes to mind as does WORLD WAR Z, and now so should THIS DARK EARTH. Gripping and intelligent, the cover declares it a zombie novel, but you'll find it to be so much more.
Nickolas
Feb 23, 2013 Nickolas rated it it was amazing
If there is one thing you Elitist Book followers are aware of about me it has got to be the number of things I don't like in fiction - and how good authors can subvert these preferences and make me eat crow. So in another installment of "Things Nick Hates" I present you (drumroll please) zombies. I'm sorry, but they bore me. I used to like them and I still hold onto the belief that THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE and WORLD WAR Z are some of my favorite books of all time. Still, there is a saturation ...more
WTF Are You Reading?
This is a zombie experience like no other...
Let me explain.

Though there are zombies galore in this book (I mean, of course there are...It's a zombie book. Duh!)
This book is about so much more than the shambling undead.
It is stories of people who survive the end of the world as we know it and the creation of another as they come to understand it.
The dialogue and situations are raw and real, as they would be in any war. This is after all a collection of stories detailing a fight to the death for t
...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
Mar 16, 2012 Kristin (MyBookishWays Reviews) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, zombies
Amazing! Review to come closer to release date, but you should go pre-order this one now...seriously :-D
Sue
Nov 05, 2012 Sue rated it liked it
I've been in a post-apocalyptic mood lately (I'm sure the election tomorrow has NOTHING to do with it) and a friend of mine recommended this book (she was the one responsible for acquiring the book for the publisher, in fact), so I checked it out from the library.

First off, it's an easy and fast read; I finished in two days. Second, while the book contains plenty of the standard zombie cliches I expected, it does still manage to throw in a couple of unique twists and turns, just enough to keep m
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Marcus
Dec 11, 2012 Marcus rated it liked it
Kind of up and down. Some parts I really enjoyed, others...not so much.

To call the beginning over-the-top is likening a nuclear explosion to a "sizable bang". I thought it was far-fetched. Like Sandra Bullock jumping a gap in a bridge with a metro bus far-fetched. I also thought the medical jargon was unnecessary was well, other than to show that, yes, Dr. Ingersol really *was* a doctor. But if you like frenetic action in the opening sequence of your books, this one definitely delivers.

Another
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Shaun
Mar 02, 2013 Shaun rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian
Sep 24, 2014 Brian rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
It's a good thing this is a zombie apocalypse book; otherwise I would've thrown it against the wall.

It's like this, y'all: First-person-present narration is not "cool." It is not "hip." It is not "edgy." It is, however, excruciatingly pretentious and -- not to put too fine a point on it -- annoying as @#$%. Please stop.

It also doesn't help when you switch between several viewpoint characters, but they all sound exactly the same. The genius kid, the suspiciously well educated trucker man, the mi
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Christine
Oct 05, 2012 Christine rated it it was amazing
Absolutely the best horror, zombie,end of the world, apocalyptic book I have read. This dark earth by John Hornor Jacobs hits the ground running from page one to the last page and leaves you begging for more. The main characters are Lucy, a self-reliant hard working doctor who is better with the microscope than dealing with patients, her son Gus a 10 year old who's world has turned into a living nightmare and Knock-Out, a trucker who comes into their lives at the right or wrong time, you decide. ...more
Delia
Sep 06, 2013 Delia rated it it was ok
Mediocre characters, weak story, offensive and unnecessary imagery. Everything was fine and I was enjoying the book until Tessa's story... that left turn took the book into no-man's land in a bad way. I stuck it out to the end because it is a page turner... However, the climax is nothing more than a dud. Too much time lapses and you're never quite sure where the Hell you are or who the heck you are, or even what the heck you're reading about. While the point of view changes were clever, they ...more
Benoit Lelièvre
Oct 17, 2012 Benoit Lelièvre rated it it was amazing
This is the zombie novel to end all the zombie novels. There is much garbage written in that genre, but this demands both your seriousness and admiration. Covering the ENTIRE scope of a zombie apocalypse, from D-Day to the new, clan-based societies emerging from its ashes. There are many narrators for the different turning points of the story, giving it a fresh outlook every time. It's a fascinating, exhilarating and sometimes stomach-turning read that will keep your innards tied into a knot. ...more
Emily
Sep 23, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing
Once again, Jacobs' storytelling skills and excellent character development make a tale of zombies a fun and engrossing read. Set in Arkansas and told from the perspective of several different characters, this apocalyptic story explores human behavior and needs--the good and the bad--when left without rules and authority. We see people rise to an occasion for leadership and others sink to abysmal levels becoming the worst kind of dictators. It was a little bit "The Road," a little bit "I Am ...more
Rob
Aug 13, 2012 Rob rated it it was amazing
I'm not normally a fan of the zombie genre. A friend gave the kindle version of this book and I read it with some reservations. My reservations were unfounded. Instead of the standard tropes of the genre, the author presents a plausible world with well developed characters. Instead of people making stupid decisions, his characters take acts that are both believable and intriguing. It has the grittiness you come to expect from zombie novels and such without letting it overwhelm the human aspect. ...more
Jessica Rudnik
I'm happy I read this book. It helped me realize how important it is to create a good time frame in a book. It was all over the place and I had no idea of the flow of the book at all. Typically, it is hard to write from so many different character's perspectives. However, it can be done right and beautifully. Unfortunately, this book fell short in character development. There are some really good and gruesome Zombie killing parts. That I will rate as the book's main strength :)
Justin Robinson
Feb 02, 2016 Justin Robinson rated it really liked it
A solid read overall, with artistic flourishes that elevate it above simple pulp. Each chapter is narrated by a different character in the first person until the last, which takes a third person PoV (but follows the narrator of the fourth and best chapter). The structural risk pays off for the most part, but ends up stranding two of the seven chapters largely in pointlessness. Didn't mean they weren't good stories, but it did mean they ended up not doing much for the plot as a whole.
Erica
So there was a lot of awesomeness in this book and a lot of not quite as awesome... But if you are a zombie lover it's worth a read. Two things I have added to my zombie apocalypse prep bag from reading this book would be mini bolt cutters and a book on medieval fortresses, worth the read right there. Oh and I can't stop laughing at the cover.
Wendy Wagner
Aug 29, 2012 Wendy Wagner rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zombielicious
Some of the most disgusting zombies I've ever encountered in literature, this book is quick-paced and intense. Reminiscent of Stirling's DIES THE FIRE, the story focuses on the hard work it takes to rebuild society, with the flavors of 28 DAYS LATER (the horror of human behavior in bad times) and a little King Arthur thrown in.
Stinky
Sep 05, 2012 Stinky rated it really liked it
Killer book! Lots of zombies. Starts when everything start happening with the outbreak and ends 4 years after so it gives what most of us want in a good zombie book and that's a taste of the beginnings of reanimation, survival and adaptation to a new and deadly way of life, good depth into characters and there interaction with one another. Needs a sequel tho.
Jenn
Sep 26, 2012 Jenn rated it liked it
Fast paced zombie adventure that I could not put down, for the first half of the book. As the book goes on the constant switching of character view points is slightly confusing and I found the story less compelling after Gus met up with the slavers. Over all the story was good and really showed the good and bad of humanity.
Ashley
Jul 18, 2012 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Fans of The Walking Dead will LOVE this book! It is a very entertaining, yet dark read. Some possible YA crossover but there are some sex scenes and violence. If you liked Rot and Ruin, World War Z Hollowland or any other zombie tome, this book is for you! If you read any post apocalyptic books or dystopian, this would be a good crossover into the zombie world. I strongly recommend.
Matthew
Nov 01, 2014 Matthew rated it liked it
I will be honest, I loved this book right up until the final battle. The characters were interesting, the tone perfect, and the daily struggle to survive bloody and horrific. The final part of the book let the story down, and I found myself disappointed with how the story ended. Still a very solid read.
Laura
Aug 21, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This Dark Earth has an extremely strong and captivating start, a solid middle third, and a respectable ending. It was my first zombie book, so I can't say how it compares to others in the genre, but I thought it was well written with strong imagery and impressive character development.
Crystal
Jul 13, 2012 Crystal rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, page-flipping, up-all-night read! The characters were well developed, the dialogue was good, and the action was great. I really enjoyed this author and plan on reading "Southern Gods" as soon as I can find it.
Damien Angelica Walters
Oct 07, 2012 Damien Angelica Walters rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that when I bought this I was very close to being done with zombies. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it. There is definitely enough of the new to thrill readers whose interest in zombies might be waning.
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John Hornor Jacobs has worked in advertising for the last fifteen years, played in bands, and pursued art in various forms. He is also, in his copious spare time, a novelist, represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. His first novel, Southern Gods, was published by Night Shade Books and shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Award. His second novel, This Dark Earth, was published ...more
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