Scott Rhee's Reviews > The Rising

The Rising by Brian Keene
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Oct 11, 13

bookshelves: horror, zombies
Read in April, 2009

I love the zombie genre, although sometimes I think it's kind of reached a point where there is very little new to add. It is, after all, just reanimated corpses that feed on the living, right? I mean, when they are making zombie comedies starring Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin, for God's sake, you know the genre's tired. Then again, AMC's TV show "The Walking Dead" (and the comic book series it is based on) is enormously popular, so what the hell do I know?

Occasionally I come across a new film or a book that re-ignites my interest and imagination on the subject. Brian Keene's novel "The Rising" is one of those novels. What Keene lacks in stellar writing talent (he's not horrible, but he doesn't quite have the joie de vivre of, say, Dean Koontz), he more than makes up for in innovatively taking the genre into a new territory. (New to me, at least.)

The novel starts off with the run-of-the-mill small group of survivors ganging up after a global plague of zombies until Keene throws in an interesting twist: intelligent zombies. I know, too, that director George Romero tried this to decent effect in his film "Land of the Dead", but not to this level. Apparently the zombies in Keene's novel can speak, think, drive cars, fire weapons, and set traps. Okay, that's a kind of new level of freaky.

There's even a pretty cool and equally freaky supernatural explanation for the zombie apocalypse. This book appears to be the first in a possible series, and I actually look forward to reading more by Keene. He has apparently written dozens of novels and developed a cult following, even if his books are the equivalent of literary candy. I'm hooked.
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