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Dying to Live (Dying to Live #1)

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,823 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
Jonah Caine, a lone survivor in a zombie-infested world, struggles to understand the apocalypse in which he lives. Unable to find a moral or sane reason for the horror that surrounds him, he is overwhelmed by violence and insignificance.

After wandering for months, Jonah's lonely existence dramatically changes when he discovers a group of survivors. Living in a museum-turne
Paperback, 216 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Permuted Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 02, 2008 Mike rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone wanting to dip their toe into zombie horror
I'm always a little hesitant when picking up a zombie book. I have this fear that, like their celluloid cousins, the vast majority of them are crap. And unlike their brain-dead cousins, they waste more than 90 minutes of your life.

I had no need to fear with this book.

My love of all things zombie really began with Romero's take on the subject. I really liked the fact that there was a deeper social meaning behind the gore. There was a message and a warning.

This book took everything I loved about t
Jun 10, 2008 Gabrielle rated it it was amazing
To my knowledge modern civilization has never been overrun by hordes of the flesh eating undead. However, after reading Kim Paffenroth's Dying to Live: A Novel of Life Among the Undead, I'm beginning to wonder if there might indeed have been a period where just such a horrendous thing happened. Paffenroth's ability to transport the reader deep into the dark, desiccated remains of a world where humanity clings to a perilous thread of existence and zombies, spawned of a mutated virus, wander the s ...more
Dustin Reade
Sep 19, 2011 Dustin Reade rated it did not like it
I rarely give one-star reviews, but this book just did nothing for me.

dumb. somehow, despite having all of the elements I like in a book (zombies, gore, blood, etc.) this one never really worked for me. I suffered through it because I don't like leaving a book unfinished. But I wish I wasn't like that, because I wasted my time with this one.
It is all rehashed zombie stuff that I have already read and seen done better elsewhere.
Plus, the theological stuff bugged the crap out of me. I didn't reali
Feb 12, 2009 Sabur76 rated it did not like it
It started off with promise but ended up being a huge waste of time for me. I didn't think it was very original. It read like a number of other zombie books that I've read over the past four months.
Olivia R. Burton
May 19, 2009 Olivia R. Burton rated it it was ok
I went into this book extremely excited because I'd read lots of good things about it and it had been recommended to be several times. Honestly, the book had potential that it didn't live up to because it wasted a lot of time with juvenile writing. I honestly believe that, if the author had stepped away from the first person narrative (first person perspective often kills a good idea, unfortunately), and hacked out a lot of the unnecessary exposition, this could have been a five-star book. The s ...more
Kate Lansky
Feb 07, 2013 Kate Lansky rated it it was ok
Shelves: apocalyptic, zombies
This book just did NOT work for me on so many levels. First, on the plot, almost nothing felt original. The only thing I truly loved was the setting of survival, a small town museum. If I had to sit out the apocalypse somewhere, let me tell you - that would be it. In a heartbeat. Interesting exhibits to wander through, a library full of books, a way to educate your kids... hell, most museums even have a kid zone for play and fun and all that good stuff. And a cafeteria, etc. etc. etc.

But other t
Dec 26, 2012 Mary marked it as dnf
Sorry. I'm over a third of the way through and this is just boring. How can you make a zombie apocalypse this bland?
Anthony Fitzgerald
Mar 20, 2009 Anthony Fitzgerald rated it liked it
The first thing I noticed when I picked up "Dying To Live" was that Jonathan Maberry (author of Ghost Road Blues) describes the novel as "not just a thinking man's horror novel, it's a zombie book for philosophers." This is interesting because on one level every zombie novel carries the same theme of a group of survivors trying to survive a war against the undead. Apart from varying story lines, there honestly isn't much of a difference between the lot (I like to think of each novel taking place ...more
Aug 14, 2011 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: festa
Nach dem mich der erste Teil der Herbst Reihe „Herbst: Beginn“ von David Moody so gut gefallen hat, machte mich „Dying to live“ neugierig. Zombies, Weltuntergang, Seuche – das klang genau nach meinem Horror und Thrillergeschmack. Und ich wurde positiv überrascht.

Jonah ist ein netter Charakter. Er irrt seit Monaten durch eine tote Welt. Familie, Freunde, Arbeitskollegen – keinen gibt’s mehr. Sie sind alle tot, oder irren als Zombies durch die Gegend. Jonah muss sich vor ihnen in Acht nehmen und d
Mar 09, 2014 Sysfailz rated it it was ok
borrrring. I hate ragging on authors because I so envy the skill it takes to write well and make money at it, but this is just nothing but fluff. every cliche you can think of is present in this book. nothing creative here at all. good read just for killing time
Rhiannon Ryder
May 10, 2011 Rhiannon Ryder rated it really liked it
It's no secret that since October I've become an increasingly ardent fan of zombie books. An infatuation brought on by Mrs. DeRaps Reads pointing me towards The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan and spinning out from there. It's a somewhat limited genre, unfortunately, and so after Rot and Ruin, The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy and Cherie Priests Clockwork Century books (Boneshaker and Dreadnought), I was out of ideas. So the hubby did his research and came up with Kim Paffenroths D ...more
Crystal Michallet-Romero
You know a book is good when you stay up until 4:30 in the morning just to finish the last few pages. This is what happened to me with Kim Paffenroth’s novel, Dying to Live. It is a zombie novel along the line of Rhiannon Frater’s, As the World Dies in that it brings out many thought provoking topics along the lines of good vs evil, how it affects humanity, and the different aspects of humanity that transforms with the onslaught of a zombie apocalypse. It is thought provoking and enables us to c ...more
Jun 21, 2009 Missy rated it really liked it
My first zombie book, and I was thoroughly impressed. Despite being focused on the state of the world after zombie infestation, the author accomplishes so much more than recounting battles with the dead. There are philosophical characters that discuss the meaning of life, religion and human nature in the new state of the world. The small band of survivors include diverse personalities, often flawed, but each with their own stories of survival and ingenuity. This author is not fearful of the tabo ...more
Dec 31, 2010 Michelle rated it really liked it
I like nothing more than a good apocalypse. And this is a zombie apocalypse with a bit if heart and soul. The story is well paced and it was always with reluctance that I had to put the book down. If you are a sucker for a zombie novel like I am, I'm pretty sure you should read this!
Having said all of that, it's not perfect. There are a few strange turns in the story that I think are a little convenient, however, it doesn't detract from the story for me, as you're almost hoping that it will all
Aug 15, 2009 Unapologetic_Bookaholic rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: ?
Shelves: horror-zombies
I shouldn't have spoiled myself re-reading Brian Keene's The Rising, City Of The Dead, and also enjoying Dead Sea. For truly enjoyable all out war against zombies. Brian Keene is the way to go. I perhaps did not "get" the meaning for which this author used zombies. Keene's are cooler.
Feb 01, 2008 Eric rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Mr. Paffenroth's book, Dying to Live is apart from other zombie literature a new "taste" for the wicked. The philosophy behind zombies is done really well here. The writing is clean, neat yet whimsical in parts and the story itself deals with ideology of our nation...racism and war, yet leaves you by the last page in wonder. An intelligent reader always will love an intelligent book. This zombie piece goes up one level beyond the cliche' b-movie brisk. The air here has something wretched in it a ...more
Feb 06, 2015 Esther rated it did not like it
A professor of religious studies creates a character who is facing zombies while struggling with his faith. So far so good.

''s a zombie book for philosophers...' that got me. Just that it isn't. If you've never wasted a single thought on the nature of humans or moral questions or God, well then this book seems deep and thoughtful. But if you use your brain more than zombies do - and every reader does - you realize he's stating the obvious and in such an obvious way that it gets annoying.

Dec 31, 2011 FasterKillFastPussycat rated it did not like it
I couldn't even finish the book...........................this whole series with the idea of thinking and feeling zombies just isn't for me at all.......I see the author was trying to do something different but I hated it.I want my zombies to be all bite and no thought and I want them to be slayed by awesome main characters.I suppose I could understand why some people would like this series but in all it's pretty bad and it starts off really slow.
Aug 24, 2015 Kym rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the best nor the worst of the genre, good writing. A lot of introspection and a lot of gore. Not sure if I'll continue the series or not. 3 stars.
Jul 28, 2014 Seekordsiis rated it it was ok
Most zombie books start with the description of somebody fighting their way through the apocalypse to go somewhere. In this one, a man (an ex-professor, for change) with no destination gets picked up by a group of survivors, who have founded a nice settlement to live in. Then, he lives in the settlement and gets to know other survivors. They almost get killed several times, but by the end of the book, most of them are alive. Thats about it.

Its also a long and winding road covered in plotholes.
May 17, 2015 Freedom rated it it was ok
I love zombie books more than life itself and I fly through books like crazy. In my search for a series that I hadn't read, I found these books.
Not exactly sure how I feel about the series yet, but this first book turned out to be just a time filler for me. I read it. It wasn't bad but I'm not terribly excited about the next book either (tho I bought it so I will read it). There was nothing original about the story or the characters. It was like a million other zombie stories that Ive already re
Jul 08, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
Jonah Caine is surviving alone in a zombie ridden world, struggling to cope with the enormity of the destruction in his path. He stumbles along a group living with a museum-turned-compound - led by ex-military Jack and the eccentric Milton, with his own gifts and questions. Together, they have been building a community, based on kindness and the ideals of humanity.

On a forage for other survivors, Jonah and his group clash with another group - leaving them in no doubt that zombies are not the onl
Heather Toms
Jan 20, 2011 Heather Toms rated it it was amazing
Loved it. The characters are very relatable. Although the bit with the professor is rather odd but it works. Those that enjoy zombie fiction will enjoy this book.
Jan 06, 2014 Beau rated it liked it
As an atheist, I didn't care for all the God and religious talk in the book.
Amber Harrison
Nov 13, 2013 Amber Harrison rated it it was ok
Eh it was ok at best
Sandy Benitez
Nov 25, 2015 Sandy Benitez rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure how good this book would be because I've had my share of corny zombie movies. Note, I've just rediscovered my love of reading fiction, most of my reading was limited to poetry. I came across this book at and after reading the short description, I thought it sounded interesting. I think it's an excellent zombie read.

The characters are believable and each has his or her own personal story that is revealed throughout the book. There is loss, heartbreak, but also streng
Zombieslayer/Alienhunter {you can blame bad luck}
I added this book to my 'currently reading' shelf on January 22nd, 2015 and 'finished it' almost exactly seven months later, yesterday, August 23rd, 2015.
Combined from Saturday and Sunday, seriously, I spent about six hours on it.


If you have some idea that you're going to be the kingpin of the zombie apocalypse, (get thee behind me, that position has been filled) I suggest reading Kim Paffenroth's Dying to Live, as right off the bat, we're presented with lots and lots of reso
Courtney (WynRave)
Sep 05, 2013 Courtney (WynRave) rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopian
3.5 stars

I had mixed feelings with this book, especially at the beginning.

What I disliked:

The characters. None of them were really memorable in my eyes. They all seemed to lack personality and I really didn't give 2 shits if they were eaten by a zombie. I want characters that stick out in my head and that I can easily root for. These characters all seemed to be a carbon-copy of one another, just with different names and histories. Only 2 characters stood out in my mind. (view spoiler)
Nov 21, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Zombie Lovers
Shelves: zombie-stuff, 2007
Dying to Live is Kim Paffenroth's first novel and quite an outstanding first attempt. The story follows Jonah Caine who is the all-in-one underdog, hero, and saint. Wandering, alone, across the apocalyptic terrain Jonah eventually joins up with a group that has holed up in a museum. The group is lead by Milton, who the rest of the group looks up to as some sort of messiah. Jack, on the other hand is tactical and logistical leader of the group. From their first meeting, Jonah and the museum folks ...more
Needed something to jump start me out of a reading slump so I wanted something quick and dirty (so to speak) with very little in the way of heavy thinking and a lot in the way of action and gore. This one has been appearing on my recommended lists from Goodreads for a while and I have to say, it hit the spot perfectly. It's not really elevating the zombie genre to anything new and exciting but it was an easy fun read that took what it was working with and worked it really well.

The story moved a
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I am a professor of religious studies, and the author of several books on the Bible and theology. I grew up in New York, Virginia, and New Mexico. I attended St. John's College, Annapolis, MD (BA, 1988), Harvard Divinity School (MTS, 1990), and the University of Notre Dame (PhD, 1995). I live in upstate New York with my wife and two wonderful kids. In the horror genre, I have written Gospel of the ...more
More about Kim Paffenroth...

Other Books in the Series

Dying to Live (3 books)
  • Dying to Live: Life Sentence (Dying to Live, #2)
  • Dying to Live: Last Rites (Dying to Live, #3)

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