First of all, this book was crazy fun. I’ll admit, I’m not usually a fan of WWI, WWII, or, for that manner, any war stories, but I’m a big fan of Joseph Nassise’s, and I was certainly game to give it a go. Turns out I didn’t have anything to worry about. In By the Blood of Heroes, WWI is in full swing, but the Germans have a bit of an advantage. They’ve created a “corpse gas” that turns their dead into zombies, and they’re using them on the frontlines. Able to control them using some sort of device, the prove to be an effective and demoralizing force to be reckoned with. When ace pilot Jack Freeman is shot down and captured by the Germans, his brother Camptain Michael Burke is put in charge of a group of soldiers tasked with his rescue. What follows is a rather exciting, fast paced adventure.
Set against a background of an alternate WWI, the zombies became much more terrifying, since they were being used and controlled by the Germans as killing machines. And we’re not just talking about mindless shamblers. The Germans have been…experimenting (shudder), and there are some forms of the zombies that have retained their faculties, and even their sanity (although I wouldn’t consider most of these guys sane to begin with, so that’s open to interpretation.) There are plenty of classic adventure and horror elements in this story, and the action is nearly nonstop. Also, there are lots of steampunk elements (Burke has a mechanical arm and can you say airships?), and the story is peppered with fun historical figures like the Red Baron. Plenty of zombie melee goodness, too, and the author keeps his writing tight and crisp, moving the narrative right along. There’s plenty here to love for alternate history and zombie aficionados alike, and lots of goodies that would be right up any horror fan’s alley! And don’t worry, even if Burke and his crew manage to rescue Freeman (against almost overwhelming odds), there’s plenty of evildoing to be done, and the Germans are more than up for the task. The author ends this one up wonderfully while leaving plenty of material for further novels. I’ll definitely look forward to more in the series!(less)
Ashley Parker is attending college in the small town of Redwood Grove and dating a pleasant enough guy. Life isn’t too bad, so when she and her boyfriend are attacked by shambling, rotting corpses one night while on a date, and said boyfriend runs away and leaves her for dead, things suddenly take a turn for the worse. That’s an understatement. Ashley is bitten, but instead of turning into one of the zombie horde, she fights off the virus, and comes out of it stronger, faster, and…immune. After being nursed back to health by a super-secret military organization, they ask her to join an elite group of fighters called the Wild Cards, which are made up of civilians that are immune to the virus, just like Ashley. She knows something has to be done to save as many survivors as necessary, so agrees to join the group. Little does she know how terrifying things are about to become…
Author Dana Fredsti has a background that folks like me will totally geek out about. We’re talking stuff like sword-fighting on the set of Army of Darkness, guys, and it shows in Plague Town. The lady knows her weapons (especially those of the bladed variety), and isn’t afraid to take Ashley to new heights of ass-kicking. Plus, she gave her heroine a name that can be shortened to Ash…yeah, you know you like it. Ashley Parker is a pretty normal chick with a smart mouth that just won’t quit. She’s a lot smarter than your average girl, though, and the pop culture references come hard and fast. More geeking out, of the awesome kind. The author does a wonderful job of balancing the serious, the funny, and the downright grotesque, creating a zom novel that will please fans of Jonathan Maberry’s Dead of Night, etc.
Ashley takes on her new role with chutzpah and more than an ounce of bravery and her attraction to her handsome and enigmatic instructor Gabriel isn’t without drama, and adds a nice little dash of romance to the story. Ms. Fredsti also manages to throw in some interesting twists to the zombie virus that will have those little hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. I chuckled, I cringed, and I cheered (quietly, so as not to disturb the rest of the house), as Ashley and her rather ragtag (and somewhat charming) band of zombie warriors fight the hordes and rescued survivors. If you love zombies, strong, sarcastic heroines with heart, and fight scenes that will knock your socks off, you’ll devour Plague Town!(less)
So, what do you do if your 8 year old nephew is kidnapped by your supposed boyfriend and his group of thugs, intent on selling him to the highest bidder? Oh wait, also, this group of idiots, intent on making their escape, brings down part of the wall around Seattle that’s keeping the walking dead out, flooding the city with moaning, groaning flesh eaters. If you’re Sadie Walker, you rescue your nephew and catch a ride on the last boat out of the harbor, intent on getting you and your nephew, to safety. Sadie, along with her nephew, Shane, and her good friend Andrea (one of the few people left that she trusts), know it’s going to be tough going, but they’re hopeful that they’ll find safety, maybe in the San Juan islands. It’s not the best plan, but it’s the only one they have. When zombies strike, and they run aground ahead of schedule, they’re forced to make camp and hope the area isn’t infested with zombies. Desperate to reestablish trust with Shane, Sadie is determined to make the best of a bad situation.
Bad situation doesn’t begin to cover it. Picking up 7 months after the outbreak that caused zombie hordes to decimate humankind, every day is a struggle, and artist Sadie is finding it hard to leave her old life behind. Her nephew depends on her, however, and that’s a big part of what keeps her going, even in the face of pretty crappy odds. Aside from the zombies, there are a few members of their little group that she’s not sure she can trust, and when they meet another group on the other side of the island, things really begin to get interesting. So, when the going gets tough, Sadie asks herself: What would Allison do?
The Allison in question is Allison Hewitt from Allison Hewitt is Trapped, the first zombie novel by Madeleine Roux. I loved Allison Hewitt, so I had high hopes for Sadie Walker, and wasn’t disappointed. In Sadie Walker, Allison is become a folk hero, and is an inspiration to Sadie when things are looking especially bleak. Ms. Roux’s writing is top notch, and she manages to take the zombie genre and keep it alive and kicking, so to speak. There’s plenty of zombie killin’ action, and the author doesn’t shy away from throwing plenty of adversity at our heroine and her friends. Sadie is a tough cookie, but her vulnerability does shine through, especially when it comes to her nephew, and trusting others. When a rather hunky former cop tests the bounderies of that trust, Sadie finds her priorities shifting, and when a very human danger threatens her new “tribe”, she’ll have to dig deep and find the strength to save her friends. This is such a great series, and near impossible to put down. I really love how the author tackles the small details of survival and what the aftermath of such a horrendous event would be like, while creating tense scenarios among well rounded and rich characterizations. Horror and UF fans will find much to love with Sadie Walker. Just like Allison Hewitt, this one’s a keeper!(less)
Cass Dollar and her young daughter Ruthie have settled into an uneasy existence at New Eden, after the events of Rebirth left her lover, Smoke, in a coma. She continues her affair with Dor, and is dedicated to Ruthie, her garden of new growth, and kaysev, which is essential to the food supply of New Eden.
Soon, the Beaters start to show an unnerving proclivity to learn things such as group hunting (of humans, of course) and even swimming,so the residents of New Eden must flee their home. When another group swoops in on horseback to help, with stories of a safe enclave to the north, the structure of New Eden is threatened, and loyalties are tested as they make their way, hopefully, to safety and a new life.
Cass has been through so, so much, and Horizon is probably the toughest on her. No, it definitely is. Cass is struggling, again, with sobriety, and in this terrifying new world, full of Beaters (the cannibalistic infected) and human dangers, alcohol is a slippery slope; one which Cass will find herself sliding down more and more each day, but she’s determined to pull out of it, not only for Ruthie’s sake, but for her own. Cass, not the warmest and fuzziest of women to begin with, has trouble connecting to others in the camp, and keeps to herself as much as possible. This may have a little bit to do with the fact that she was actually one of the infected once, but recovered, and as a result, is something just a bit more than human. One of the things I loved most about Horizon is that finally, Cass is beginning to actually like herself. Everything has been about her daughter, which is, of course, a good thing, but there’s always been a vein of self loathing in Cass, but that’s finally being replaced by hope and a will to live. The love triangle between Cass, Smoke, and Dor is heart wrenching, especially since Cass can’t seem to let go of the fact that Smoke left her to avenge a past transgression. Has Dor taken his place in her heart? I’ll leave that one for you, but I will say that not only is Horizon Cass’ story, of course, we also get to know Sammi, Dor’s daughter, quite a bit better, which I really enjoyed. There is not one simple character in these novels. They are full of rich and fully developed people as well as an environment thick with hardship and almost constant danger. There are a few jaw droppers in this one, and some mysteries from the past novels are wrapped up, to nice effect. Ms. Littlefield’s writing is as taut, raw, and soul wrenching as always, and she doesn’t flinch from hard truths. She also doesn’t skimp on the action (and yes, that definitely means zombies), and keeps the tension ratcheted up to a deafening scale. If you’ve already discovered this series, you’ll love Horizon just as much as Aftertime and Rebirth, and if you haven’t, I envy you the ability to read the series straight through, because it’s so, so good. The author has captured magic in a bottle with this series, and I highly recommend it!(less)
After rescuing her 3 year old daughter Ruthie, from a twisted convent, Cass Dollar has settled in at The Box, a survivor settlement, with her lover Smoke. Life is still tough, and Beaters still roam the perimeter, but a semblance of normalcy has come back into their lives, and her bond with Smoke, she thinks, gets stronger all the time. Ruthie is still damaged from her ordeal, and will not speak, but she sometimes cries out in the night, and Cass is hopeful that no permanent damage has been done. When Smoke abruptly sets out on a mission of vengeance, without plans to tell Cass, she finds herself seeking the one person that might be able to help, the enigmatic Dor, leader of The Box. His daughter, Sammi, has also been kidnapped by The Rebuilders¸a group that has no problem killing and pillaging to meet their goals. Dor reluctantly agrees to let Cassie and Ruthie come along, and it’s in this journey that the heart of Rebirth lies.
The title of the book can refer to many things. It can illustrate the earth’s efforts to heal itself after massive devastation, or it can also symbolize Cass’ journey to sobriety and the strong and loving mother that she’s become. It can also highlight Cass’ love of the little garden that she’s cultivated in the box, and her loving and patient coaxing of life from the ravaged ground. Any way you look at it, Rebirth is an unflinching look into the lives of Cass and Dor, two people thrown together in an untenable situation, and pushed to their limits and beyond. Plenty happens in Rebirth, but above all, it is a character study of a damaged woman, and her intense love for her little girl. The author’s narrative is unflinching, honest, and brutal, and yes, there are zombies, but it’s the horrible things that humans do to each other that will have you wincing. Rebirth is not for the faint of heart, and is not a light read, but you’ll be hard pressed to find much better writing in the genre, because it’s excellent, on so many levels. I have no idea how Ms. Littlefield does it, because she mines some very, very dark places of the human heart. However, there’s always a glimmer of light at the end, even in the darkest moments, and that’s what I love about this superb series. I thought she brought the awesome in Aftertime, but Rebirth blew me away. I’ll follow Cass and Ruthie anywhere, and if you haven’t discovered this series yet, pick up Aftertime and see why it’s so, so good, on both a literary scale and in the genre as well. Not to be missed!(less)
In Eat Slay Love we rejoin my favorite post zombie apocalypse married couple, Sarah and David, as they attempt to get to the rumored “Wall” in the east, hoping to find safety from the society that’s let them down. I mean, zombies are the ultimate letdown, right? Of course, with these two, you know it’s not gonna be smooth sailing, and the seas get pretty rough during this outing. See, there was an incident in the last novel that might have changed David a bit, and Sarah is noticing more and more, well, odd things about him. Sarah is also hoping she’ll be reunited with her mom and dad, even though the chances of that are slim. All that aside, they’ve got some precious cargo with them that could change the face of the world forever. Add to the mix a stalkerazzi journalist that may have her own secret agenda, an aging rockstar that seems to have lost his band, and his wits, to the zombies, a camp full of people that aren’t about to let strangers into the mix (think Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome here), and of course all the zombie killin’ action you can handle, and you’ve got a read that you won’t want to put down! I adore this series, and it just keeps getting better and better. Sarah narrates with her trademark snark, and even though you’ll giggle, you’ll cringe too, because Ms. Petersen lets the dark humor fly, and the story is tempered with moments of levity that will definitely bring you down to earth. This kind of writing is hard to do, weaving humor into admittedly horrid situations, but the author manages with a sure hand and never lets the pacing falter. There are a few twists in this one that left me smiling and the ending leaves off with plenty of material for lots more fun with this kick-ass couple. Do they find the “wall”? Does Sarah reunite with her family? And just what is wrong with David? You’ll get your questions answered in this one, I promise, and trust me, you won’t want to put it down!(less)
Zombie movies! End of the world, undead armies, mad chases, bloody conflicts; what’s not to love. The zombie movie has covered every emotion; laughter...moreZombie movies! End of the world, undead armies, mad chases, bloody conflicts; what’s not to love. The zombie movie has covered every emotion; laughter, horror, tragedy, romance, survival. What a rich vein in which to mine gold. I eagerly opened American Zombie Gothic thinking it would have an in-depth examination of the genre. Boy was I right …….and was I ever wrong.
No one can fault the author's in-depth analysis of zombie movies from their first appearance to the most recent fare. It is an impressive testament to his efforts. The problem is that this is by no means a mass market treatment of the genre. Disregard the graphic novel feel of the cover, this is a doctoral dissertation and it is written as one. It should only be broached by those looking for the kind of analysis that only excites the academic. I had a high school teacher who brought this level of analysis to Foundation. It took me over ten years before I was able to go back and appreciate the book as it was written not as what he thought every element symbolized.
I strongly agree with some elements of his theories. For example, his belief that the latest and greatest renaissance of zombie movies can be tied to 9/11 and the fear and uncertainty that generated in the average American. I always felt that Japan had such a plethora of post-apocalyptic movies due to the fact that they witnessed firsthand the devastation wrought by the dropping of the atomic bombs. This should be fascinating stuff but I felt like a student in Ben Stein’s class in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In short, unless you are into academic dissertations, I would suggest avoiding the lure of this book.(less)
I don’t want to live in the world that Mira Grant described in Feed, and now in Deadline.
I don’t want to live in a house that has tiny windows, so that anything about 40lbs can’t get through, or have to endure blood tests at every entry or exit.
I don’t want to never again experience the joy of an open air concert or festival.
I don’t want to not be able to offer comfort to a stranger by giving them a hug, or holding their hand.
I don’t want to live in a world where I might have to shoot someone I love to save them from a fate worse than death.
This is the world put forth by the author, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Almost 30 years after the cure for the common cold turned into hell on wheels, the world is still recovering from the devastation. Some parts of the world will never be reclaimed, and the effects of this disease roam the wilds, seeking to infect and feed. In Deadline, news blogger Shaun Mason is our narrator, and still hasn’t recovered from events that affected him and his team in the worst possible way. When a CDC doctor fakes her own death and shows up, asking for his help, all hell breaks loose…again. He’s now on a mission to uncover a vast government conspiracy that could affect the whole of humanity and will uncover secrets that will certainly change his life, and those he cares for, forever...and he has nothing to lose.
If you haven’t yet discovered this superb series by Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire), then you’re in for a wild ride. Feed and Deadline feature some of the best post-apocalyptic writing that I’ve read, hands down. Not just zombie books, these novels explore the nature of fear in all its forms and will take you on an emotional roller coaster that will haunt you for days after you’ve stopped reading. The characterizations are phenomenal, and the attention to detail is no less than it was in Feed. Sometimes it’s hard to follow up such amazing work, and sometimes second novels in a series suffer a bit. Not Deadline. It’s just as good as Feed, and you’ll find yourself plowing through this 600+ page novel in no time. I missed quite a bit of sleep finishing this one up. Was it worth it? Totally. (less)
Cass Dollar is lost and afraid, in a zombie wasteland. After waking up with her hair pulled out, skin flayed and raw, and at a loss as to where she is, she wanders the ruins until she comes across a young girl with a knife. This girl will lead her to a shelter, on of the last human outposts after bioterrorists have decimated the world, and left diseased, skin eating zombies, roaming and devouring. At the shelter she meets Smoke, and he offers to accompany her to find her young daughter, who was lost when Cass was attacked. What comes next is a harrowing journey to find her child, and her battle with the demons within herself.
Yes, Aftertime has zombies. Shambling, flesh-eating, rotting zombies. However, this is not a book about zombies. It’s a book about a broken woman’s journey to redemption. Cass is at once tough and resourceful, yet so raw and tangled inside. A recovering alcoholic, once using her body to quiet the despair within her, Cass must gather her wits in order to get back the one thing that means everything to her: her daughter.
Beautifully written, and emotionally wrenching, Aftertime is a post apocalyptic novel of despair, courage, and redemption that you won’t want to miss. I was riveted until the very last page!(less)
The Dead begins a year before The Enemy, when adults first begin getting sick, turning into zombies and devouring human flesh. The sickness strikes anyone 16 and older, and suddenly, the children must fend for themselves and fight for survival in a land ravaged by the dead and unspeakable danger. They will make their way to the city, and fight for their lives, and the lives of their friends, against horrible odds. And London is burning…
I loved The Enemy, and expected The Dead to be just as good. I certainly wasn’t disappointed, and was even more impressed by the fact that the author didn’t rehash the same story lines as the first. There’s a completely different cast of characters, with unique personalities and stories all their own. However, The Dead is really Jack and Ed’s story, above all others, and their friendship will not only give you hope, but break your heart. Ed is the popular boy, and life is has always been easy for him. He’s handsome, the girls like him, and he makes friends easily. Not so much for Jack. While not unhappy, Jack has a large birthmark on his face that makes him self-conscious and has a temper that gets away from him sometimes. Jack and Ed are the standouts in the story, but a great supporting cast rounds the story out wonderfully. There is plenty, and I mean plenty, of gore and zombie battles to please the die-hard zombie fan (blood! and pus! and bodily fluids, oh my!), and should also appeal to teen boys and reluctant readers, not to mention zombie lovin’ gals like me! The author really doesn’t let up! I ended up devouring this book in a day, and it’s a pretty hefty read at almost 480 pages! You won’t notice the length though, because you’ll want to follow these kids’ journey to the very end. Ultimately, zombies aside, it’s a novel about hope where there seems to be none, bravery in the face of blinding fear, and the lengths that friends will go to in order to protect each other. Well written, terrifying, and pulse pounding, The Dead is a zombie saga you won’t want to miss! (less)