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Life Sentence (Dying to Live, #2)
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Life Sentence

(Dying to Live #2)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  959 ratings  ·  54 reviews
At the end of the world a handful of survivors banded together in a museum-turned-compound surrounded by the living dead. The community established rituals and rites of passage, customs to keep themselves sane, to help them integrate into their new existence. In a battle against a kingdom of savage prisoners, the survivors lost loved ones, they lost innocence, but still th ...more
Paperback, 231 pages
Published October 15th 2008 by Permuted Press
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  959 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Nov 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a brilliant zombie novel
Exactly one year ago I wrote my very first article for Fear Zone. It was a book review of Kim Paffenroth's zombie novel Dying to Live: A Novel of Life Among the Undead. To say that this book completely and forever changed my perception of the zombie genre is a mild understatement. Dying to Live was not only gruesome and grisly in a perfectly post-apocalyptic manner, but it was also one of the most elegantly and eloquently written novels I had ever read. To have the ability as a writer to blend t ...more
Jon Carroll  Thomas
Nov 30, 2008 marked it as to-read
I'm sure this is as good or even better than the first, but I think I'll wait to pick it up until it is re-issued with a better cover.
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zombies-horror
Hands down, the best zombie book I've ever read. Intense from start to finish. Kim Paffenroth is truly a master writer.
Patrick D'Orazio
Nov 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Kim Paffenroth has gone beyond what he did in his first zombie novel in many ways and in many different directions. I am both pleased and disturbed by this book, which I guess is to say that I both enjoyed it a great deal and yet was exasperated by it. But then again, so few books do that, I consider that to be a good thing.

The plot is as different from the traditional zombie tale as you can get, with two parallel storylines. We see the world through the eyes of Zoey, a young girl who lives in
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-13
This was sitting on the "new book" shelf at the library. I am kind of over zombies that aren't The Walking Dead, but figured I'd give it a shot. Not realizing this is a sequel. Bugger.

I like that there were two different points of view, one being an actual zombie. But the thought processes of both were pretty much dull. The rituals of the community were seemingly moronic (Shaving her head? Really? Make her bleed and yay?)

The compare/contrast to new world vs old world was very interesting, po
Brett Grossmann
Feb 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Much improved. Light on zombie action so I took a star away. By zombie action I mean threat of biting and eating. Nice fresh story with this one. Also you would think that folks would lose it over zombies with higher functions. Nope. Girl doesn’t even mention it to anyone. Milton is hardly used. Plot holes are s big problem that hold this story back from being better.
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Since the main reason I read books like this is to be entertained, well, I must say this one fit the bill and then some. I suppose one can't really go wrong with zombies...then again I thought the same thing about vampires once upon a time. But that's a thought best expressed elsewhere.

And rather curiously there's nothing I can see on the book to indicate it is the second book in a series. I did actually wonder about that, since (a) the title seemed a bit on the cumbrous side, and (b) nobody wri
Nick Cato
Nov 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
After the author’s impressive debut novel, DYING TO LIVE, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on its sequel (but was prevented from getting to it sooner due to my ever expanding TBR pile).

LIFE SENTENCE picks up 12 years after the events of DTL. This time our survivors have cleared and fenced themselves into a large area just outside of a major city. The groups’ spiritual leader, Milton, continues to use his supernatural gift to horde the undead into holding bins; the aggressive ones go to one area,
Nov 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
For me, this is the “To Kill A Mockingbird” of zombie stories.

While the world of Zoey and Will is not as nearly as innocent or idyllic as the world of Scout and Gem, it is still a tale of growing up and discovering first hand how wondrous and terrible the world can be. And the themes of racism and “justified” killing are just as poignant. What makes this even more interesting is it is told from two separate points of view. In “Mockingbird” terms, we not only see the events unfold from the point
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In Life Sentence, the second volume in his Dying to Live series, Kim Paffenroth continues to offer an original and thought-provoking take on the typical zombie/post-apocalyptic story. Set 12 years after the first Dying to Live novel, Life Sentence looks at the world a generation after the devastating zombie apocalypse. The book focuses on the young teenager Zoey and young adult Will (formerly known as Popcorn) and their roles in and perspective on the civilization they're a part of. It also intr ...more
Michele Lee
May 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Dying to Live, both the original and this book, the sequel, are heralded as "the intelligent man's zombie novel" and I can't think of a better description than that.

The second book picks up twelve years after the first as Zoey, the baby rescued at the end of the first book, prepares to be inducted into life as an adult-in-training. Between Jack, Will (aka Popcorn) and Milton (the other zombie Christ figure) the survivors have branched out quite a bit from their initial encampment in a museum. No
William M.
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror

This follow-up to Mr. Kim Paffenroth's book, "Dying To Live: Life Among The Dead" is everything I could have hoped for and more. If anyone thinks the zombie genre is growing tired or that there is nothing new to offer, they obviously have not read this book.

Placing the emphasis on the survivor's internal struggles (both the living AND the dead) of the world they live in, Paffenroth brings us back to our group of survivors into a climate - twelve years later - where many have nev
Jade - Louise
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: zombies, 2015-rc, reviewed

I didn’t expect this book to give me much, after the fiasco with the first in the series, so i wasn’t extremely disappointed in this. The plot however was a massive let down. I have read some good zombie books which feature the plot of a zombie that can think but overall, it’s a massive overrated plot line which ruined this book for me..especially when he writing isn’t as good, and there’s literally no massive character death.

When i read a
Steve Chaput
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Twelve years after the Undead first rose up communities have begun to spring up. This story deals with one such group and a young girl named, Zoey. Zoey is fast approaching the time when she will take her vows as a "protector" of her community. Taught to fight with various weapons and in martial arts, she also has to deal with the day to day life of survival.

What if all zombies were not mindless, wanting only to eat those who are not like them. Suppose some do have memories and talents that they
Andy Phillips
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zombies
This is a sequel to 'Dying to Live' but can be read in isolation without losing too much as it is set 12 years later. However, I recommend you start with the first book as some of the characters feature here too.

The settlement in the museum has grown since the first book and Zoey (the baby) has now reached an age where she is expected to undergo a ceremony to become an adult. A significant proportion of the book features her story, and her view of a world where zombies are considered normal. The
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book started slow and so I ended up having to return it to the library unfinished. Then it took a long time for it to find its way back into my hands... my point is that this book is much better than it would seem if you look only at the fact that it took my more than 2 months to read 200 pages.

I've been reading zombie novels for a little more than a year and this series is one of the best. The phrasing goes a little simple at times and the people... well, too many people who survived the z
William Freedman
Aug 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Satisfactory zombie novel, fascinating social commentary.

Truman, The undead philosophy professor, is clearly Dr. Paffenroth's "Mary Sue" character. From his perspective, we see an interesting take on the survivors of the zombie plague -- living and otherwise. It's his insight into the human condition that makes this book work; the best parts are all from his POV.

The rest of the inhabitants of this world are kind of flat, and the author doesn't take full advantage of dialogue's power to establish
Jul 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
Zoey, hija adoptiva de Jonah Caine (protagonista de la primera novela) cuenta en su diario una experiencia sucedida cuando tenía 12 años. Esta experiencia es la narración de uno de los veranos más especiales de su vida: El verano donde tomó su juramento.

En la comunidad fundada por Milton (en la novela anterior) participan en un ritual donde identifican las leyes de la comunidad, "El defender la vida" y "Honrar a los muertos".

Este verano se llena de contradicciones y reflexiones filosóficas para
Part two of the Dying to Live series takes place twelve years later at the same compound. With new customs and rituals, the community has reclaimed more of the city and has secured many of the undead in a secure area. In this new era, we get to see the points of view from Zoey, who was just a baby in the first book, and an undead man named Truman, who is different than the majority of the undead.

I loved this part of the series more than the first one. The storyline was more captivating and seeme
Sep 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zombies
I will begin by admitting that I was somewhat disappointed at the jump in time from the first in this series to its sequel. After the first couple pages, I was no longer disappointed and was very into this book.

Two perspectives are given in this story; that of an intelligent zombie and that of a young woman looking into her past.

At first, I suffered my usual level of disdain on the smart zombie idea. I will admit to bias on that subject. I have simply not liked smart zombies very much outside o
Jun 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: zombies
This is not your typical zombie novel. If you're looking for gore and action, this isn't the book for you. Although I can appreciate Paffenroth's philosophical explorations (because I think the zombie genre certainly lends itself to many theories) his story is pretty far-fetched as far as zombie fiction goes. Come on, a zombie that can read or one that plays the violin??? That goes against everything I love about zombies!

I think Paffenroth took a few too many liberties in exploring his thoughts
Apr 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Another fantastic story by Paffenroth. This one goes a little outside my comfort zone on how I prefer zombies to act, but the deviation turns out to be a clever way to explore the themes the author wanted to address. Paffenroth explores faith, redemption, human capacity for evil, and the tricky subject of people trying to reintroduce law and justice following a complete societal collapse and absence of recognizable authority. If you can forgive the semantics, I was tempted to put this book in th ...more
May 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
I just can't do it. I am done with this book at 61%.
I'm so surprised this book got so many good reviews. I read the first book and thought I'd give this one a shot. When I finished the first book, a thought "I hope the whole religious thing isn't a theme here..."
Well, I'm thinking it is. That's how it seemed to me. Quite honestly, I feel like I was tricked. I want zombies and gore. instead, I got a zombie Shephard and a lot of Bible verses. Just not what I want in a zombie book.
I have to say I
Dec 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: zombie
Good book. Think it was way to slow in the beginning and really did not have a climax to speak of.

What it did do though was delve into the murky places no one seems to want to go ... what happens after the zombies take over the world.

Paffenroth creates a people with vastly different cultures and customs that stem from where they live and what happens when zombies change and other group are combated against.

It is definitely a thinking zombie mans book as you look at how people live and change. O
I enjoyed this one also, to me it wasn't as good as the first. But to be honest it was alot different. It was more of a thriving vibe than the survival horror. They are well established now in their ever-growing community. The introduction of the Zombies getting smarter was a nice change in pace to the norm of the genre. Usually if a Zombie got smarter they became more deadly, but these two Zombies were more along the compassionate and loving side of humanity instead of the barbaric and ugly sid ...more
Aug 14, 2013 rated it liked it
When I first started this book I was thinking BORING... It's told alternately between Zoey (a baby in the prequel) and, Truman (a zombie).Truman is different than the other zombies. He thinks, and feels. he is a former professor. while he might not remember everything from before. He remembers enough. If you are looking for action, look elsewhere. There is none Which makes it different than the book prior. But I guess all zombie books can't be fast paced terror. A good book if you want different ...more
Jan 14, 2010 rated it liked it
I am currently enjoying this book. The story is equally divided into following two different sides of the post Zombie war. One side is the journal of a Zombie who seems to have retained some level of humanity, and the other is the diary of a girl coming to age within a survivor community and what this now means. Her coming of age is when she becomes part of the protectors with a responsibility to the community at large. Quite interesting.
Oct 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this sequel to Dying to Live. This story of the survivors takes place 12 years after we left them in the last book. The story is told by Zoe, who is the baby that was rescued in the first book, as well as by Truman, a Zombie who retains the ability to read and write. Unlike the first book this one is not so much a story of survival as it is a story of hope.

I really look forward to finding more work by this author as I was very impressed with his talent as a writer.

Jan 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zombies, horror
I actually didn't care much for the first book, but this story was fabulous. Its unique, well paced, and grabbed my attention right away. I am so glad that I didn't skip it; I would have really missed out.

The zombies were really, well, human...believable, sympathetic and really the best part of an otherwise well-written book.

There are 4 characters I really still want to know more about, so I am hoping there is a third book.
Dec 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Really interesting. In a time when there are more varieties of zombie than there are ways to count, it was amazing to see "smart zombies" that just wanted to live somewhat normal lives. They were so close to being living humans, and the fact that they couldn't even discern the difference themselves made it easy to sympathize with them. I even forgot sometimes that I was reading the words of a zombie. And when I remembered, it made it all the more interesting.
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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

Other books in the series

Dying to Live (3 books)
  • Dying to Live (Dying to Live, #1)
  • Last Rites (Dying to Live, #3)