Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Vol. 2: Empire Decayed (The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Vol. 2: Empire Decayed (The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Vol. 2: Empire Decayed

(The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch #2)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  208 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Published 2016
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Shaun Hutchinson
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How do I even rate a book like this? Like all of Daniel Kraus's books, it was visceral and disturbing, but also weirdly beautiful. It's the kind of book that challenges what a young adult book can be.

The most disturbing part for me was (view spoiler)

Zebulon Finch is like the anti-Forrest Gump. And the ending was profoundly odd and will require additional readings to digest i
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Okay, this is my first Goodreads review, and I don't really know what I'm doing, but I need to write about this book. This book (and the duo as a whole) is beautiful and horrifying and gruesome and sweet. In other words, a literary masterpiece. Having just finished it five minutes ago, I'm still reeling. My thoughts may be a bit scattered.

This book was not my favorite book, but it struck something within me. I have never come off from reading a book feeling the same way I do now. I can't quite e
Munro's Kids
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I described the first Zebulon Finch book as "Eighteen separate layers of awesome drizzled with a liberal helping of amazing." The second and final book of the series receives almost equal praise. Although I would only grant this book sixteen layers of awesome, that is still a significant portion of awesome, and well above the daily-recommended amount.

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch continues to be one of the best young adult series that I have ever read. With a writing style reminiscent of "
We’ve all read this kind of review – the one that hyperbolizes, fanboys, laments how there are no words for how the book made them feel or to accurately describe its quality.
But those books, as fantastic as they may be, feel utterly common when placed next to Empire Decayed. To witness this achievement, began in book 1, is nothing short of miraculous. Even the word sublime does little to convey its effectiveness. Is there a word that means the same, but indicates a darker connotation, a heartwr
Samantha Carter
This book made me feel a lot of feelings. Just like the first volume, it's very slow and full of climaxes and falling actions. But this volume felt so much more real. Zebulon is achingly human. It almost hurts to read, but that's how every human is. He messes up, panics, and tries to fix what he's done. He did a lot more crazy stuff in this book compared to the last one, but he is so much more mature in this book. You can tell that his true age is finally catching up to him, even if he doesn't l ...more
Stacey Kondla
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
This book rocked my world as much as the first one did and now I'm actually kind of in mourning.
This book is graphic and gritty and will probably offend and horrify and I loved every glorious moment of it! Zebulon Finch is completely epic and a beautiful tribute to life. Live your life, live with fear and live your life well as it is short and not at all guaranteed.
I would highly recommend this duology to anyone who has loved Anne Rice's vampires or Mayfair Witches.
Beautiful work, Daniel Kraus!
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good Gød.
Nina Marceny
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Empire Decayed is a wonderful end to the tour de force that is the Zebulon Finch series. The book follows the title character, Zebulon Finch, who is an animated corpse with dry wit and a criminal streak, as he travels through the 20th century in the USA. In small character-centric stories based on time period, the reader sees not only the history of the United States and its changes, but the changes in Zebulon himself and his developing worldview. The story, along with its narrator, often return ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Overall it was a very good book, but I could've done without the final chapter (especially as I listened to this as an audiobook, which did this chapter no favors, despite being narrated by the wonderful Kirby Heyborne).

As for the rating, I'm a little torn but decided to "round up", because it was, by and large, a very good story, even though it didn't quite live up to its predecessor, The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Vol. 1: At the Edge of Empire.

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Vol.
See the full version of this review and others at Odds & Ends

Empire Decayed is the kind of book that exposes fundamental truths about humanity and forever shifts your perspective of the world, the kind of book that you can never forget because it imprints itself on you and your thoughts. It’s the kind of book you wish everyone would read because of how incredibly brilliant it is but also because of how important it is.

It’s by no means an easy read. Empire Decayed is heavy, intense and comple
Sharp Queener
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Life and Death of Zebulon Finch is undoubtedly one of the most amazing works of fiction I have read. The entire book is filled is fantastic prose, based on Zebulon's 19th century upper class childhood, and every character feels fully fleshed out. Zebulon as a character also has serious development, with his mind figuratively aging in his ageless death. I felt that the second volume has an entirely different feel than the first, as while that one was the rise of an empire, this one is the fal ...more
Cameron Russell
Stunning. Won't be getting over this one for a while.

(view spoiler)

I enjoyed Volume One more, but there were definitely tableaus in this volume that I really, really enjoyed, particularly suburbia and, later, the Savages.

I still don't think this book is for teens despite Zebulon's perpetual youth. The themes (and horror) are quite adult even if Zebulon himself displays juvenile behavior.

If you don't mind being in for a long haul and covering a wide-range of time periods and tone shifts, this book (th
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
Was totally on board with these books until after the 1960's Mercury stuff. Then JESUS did it go downhill. He did not know how to end this damn book. It got weird, it was unnecessary, and I read two giant volumes of a book with the most bullshit ending ever. Very unhappy I spent so much time on these. Do yourself a favor and skip them.
Lekeisha The Booknerd
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
RTC for blog tour!
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said by other reviewers? Keeping this as spoiler-free as possible, btw!

1.) Kirby Heyborne has done an impeccably great job of reading both the first and the second volume of Zebulon Finch (which is no easy feat, given the sheer number of pages in the physical copies, and the expansive list of different characters to bring to life).

2.) It's been awhile since I've felt so conflicted at the end of a novel. It's also been awhile since I've wil
"She chose to keep living, and that stubbornness, I would like to think, is a Finch family trait. In her honour, as well as the honour of those I've known who were never given the choice, I shall do the same. I shall persist. I shall persist and repent."

I enjoyed this one but not nearly as much as the first. I really struggled with the first part of the book mostly because the mission Zebulon was given was clearly going to fail given that his mission contradicted quite a large event in the secon
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"What you do with your time alive defines you..but hear me..when I say that you are *not done being defined*.Go out; break things. Go further; repair them. Break hundreds of hearts..Discover awe in a tangle of weeds; find delight in the pattern of a roll of mass-produced paper towels; live, Reader, live; live as hard as I died, and only then I will be happy."
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is one of those books that is exhausting to read but well worth it. Zebulon’s character development is great and I loved the aesthetic of this series. I am also a huge fan of the ending; it’s so unique and really thought provoking. I love when authors take risks like that. I am also a big fan of the writing style and how eloquent it is.
Cook Memorial Public Library
A 2016 staff favorite recommended by Mark.

Check our catalog:
2.5 maybe? I feel like 3 stars is generous.
Like the first volume, this volume once again is a struggle to get through. Things are long winded and tedious, and I had to force myself to keep reading so I could finally, FINALLY, finish.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book was as good as the first.
Carly Rose
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow there has never been a book like this one.
darryl earnshaw
Nov 18, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A Boring Imitation of Forrest Gump.

I liked the first book in this series. I thought the ideas were fresh. When this sequel was released I downloaded it right away. It started off promising but then it became depressing and boring. It seemed to me each time period Finch loved through was just a rehash of the previous. I skipped thru the last half of the book a lot. When I got to the end I WAS depressed. I expected more. I got less.
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
So it took twelve days to read this book. Almost two weeks, actual reading spread out into chunks of minutes between classes and hours spent in a certain large chair. But I FINISHED IT (phew) and for the sake of avoiding spoilers, I will offer a vague reaction/response to the ending of Empire Decayed: :- ] <~ jaw, say hello to floor.

Dearest Fellow Reader (dare I attempt to recreate the illustrious manner of speech Mr Kraus so effortlessly imbued into Mr Finch? I can certainly try), this lengt
Corey Henio
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This took me more than a few days I was planning on reading, mostly because I didn't want to finish this.
Zebulon Finch may have been fictional character, but some reason...he felt some what real to me, and that was why I didn't want to finish it, because... I had fallen in love with...with a broken man who (possibly) had been through a worst series of unfortunate events than any of humanity can ever handle.
When I began reading his first words, it was like I was a ghost walking along this Zebul
Anna K.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
One of The worst books I've read in a very long time. I should've known better with the sequel since I hated the first book so much but, what can I say I'm a sucker for a sequel. It was long and dragged on he talks too much and never gets anywhere, he's a terrible protagonist. You would think for living over 100 years, Zebulon would've learned something would've helped somebody or something.Alas, no nothing, not at all. Every person he encounters, yeah that makes the situation worse or if not, h ...more
Melissa Jacobson
Oh. My. Word. I literally have no words. That ending had me sobbing. This was even more visceral and disturbing and gut-wrenching and gorgeous than the first volume. This series is gorgeous and disgusting and raw. I cannot recommend this enough, the final page of zebulon's "book" had me sobbing because I have grown to understand and adore him more so than any other book character. And then the ending just...SHOOK. I am done. I am emotionally drained yet intensely satisfied. Glorious book. Please ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
the attachment I formed to literally e v e r y character hurts me so much
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Rift (Rootless, #2)
  • Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places
  • Her Darkest Nightmare (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, #1)
  • Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection
  • Behind the Throne (The Indranan War #1)
  • The Last Adventure of Constance Verity (Constance Verity #1)
  • Pocketful of Posies (Ashes, Ashes, #2)
  • Stalking  Shadows (Scary Mary, #2)
  • The Swan Riders (Prisoners of Peace, #2)
  • Mister Memory
  • The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles
  • Ronit & Jamil
  • Clockwiser (Clockwise, #2)
  • Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love
  • The Trees
  • The Smaller Evil
  • The Rise of Io
  • The Apprentice's Masterpiece: A Story of Medieval Spain
DANIEL KRAUS has landed on Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 Books of 2015 (The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch), won two Odyssey Awards (for both Rotters and Scowler), and has been a Library Guild selection, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, Parent’s Choice Gold Award winner, Bram Stoker finalist, and more.

He co-authored Trollhunters with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, and his work has been transl

Other books in the series

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch (2 books)
  • The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Vol. 1: At the Edge of Empire
“What you do with your time alive defines you, Reader, but hear me, I beg you, when I say that you are not done being defined.” 4 likes
“It's funny, isn't it? While we were distracted by the silly scraps that make up human history, you and I became eternal, impervious to rot, infinity itself.” 2 likes
More quotes…