Zombies are on the loose and the world is falling apart. In the tradition of apocalyptic novels such as Stephen King’s THE STAND, a group of strangers on a Manhattan subway are brought together in the name of survival. The group follows the lead of Ari Brenner, a young man who doesn’t recognize his own leadership qualities and believes they follow him simply because he wears an army uniform. Lila Teske, a college student studying philosophy, finds her non-violent beliefs tested in the crucible of a zombie attack. There are other members of the diverse group, but the focus of the story is on Ari and Lila, two young people who learn about sacrifice and inner strength through the ordeal.
With the city’s infrastructure down and communication with the outside world curtailed the survivors head toward the nearest marina. When they meet a lab tech who may have a solution to the virus, they know his safety is paramount and it’s more important than ever that they get off the island. But zombies aren’t the only danger that impedes them on their perilous journey.
Be sure to check out the exciting sequel, Dead Country, about a new set of characters surviving zombies in the Midwest plains.
After seeing a lot of less than positive reviews of this book, I approached it with a feeling of inner doom...but I actually enjoyed it which I was pleased about!
The book begins with a zombie attack on a subway train which leaves a group of people running for their lives, following a young soldier as he leasds them through the sewers and back up to a city that has literally gone to hell. There are a mixture of people in the group and I liked them overall. Ari, the young soldier who feels the weight of the safety of the group on his shoulders. Lila, the student who is determined to pull her weight. Deb, strong and capable who only wants to find her girlfriend Julie who is working in the city, Ann who is scared to the verge of panic, Patricia the wise old woman, Hector who wants to go and find his family, Derrick the computer nut trying to look after little sister Ronnie, and Joe the dermatologist. I liked all the characters, and the way their panic ebbed and flowed depending on each crisis they faced. It felt like the realistic way that a group of strangers would react to what was happening and I enjoyed their interactions.
It is a proper zombie book, meaning there are lots of zombies in it, and danger lurks around every corner as they plan to make their way to the marina and take a boat to safety. Tension builds throughout as they have to find supplies, hide from the living and the dead, and find safe places to sleep each night. At times it was real edge of the seat stuff and I was caught up in the survival of this group of people, meaning that the author did a good job of developing these characters to make me want them all to survive. The zombies are also traditional zombies, attracted by noise, movement and blood, which are my favourite kind and I was happy at the amount of different zombie attacks there were. Lovely!
There is an attempt amongst the group to exchange theories about the zombies and how they infect. The debate over bites and blood chemistry was actually quite interesting and the ideas about a possible cure were born which affects the direction that the mission took. I like these additions to the plot.
There were a couple of things that did annoy me though. It starts with a prologue set about 5 days or so after the outbreak and shows a very important piece of plot featuring several characters. I HATE started with what is in effect a spoiler, especially when the book jumps back to then cover every detail of the last five days, rejoining that scene in the prologue and then continuing with the rest of the story from that point on. So why do it? It gives you the death of a character at the very start of the book, then goes back and shows you that person, alive and well! It ruined the story a bit as you knew roughly when this person was going to die. It seemed an odd thing to do and it did nothing for the plot! I really hate it when authors do this. I'd have preferred to just have the story unfold normally, starting with the outbreak.
My second niggle was the love story subplot with Ari and Lila mooning over each other when zombies are all around them. It seems to be an obsession amongst female authors that their zombie books must have a romance in it for some reason. I find it annoying at the best of times. Thankfully it is not graphic and the rest of the writing for me was strong enough to carry the plot and not have it spoiled by a lacklustre love story.
There are a few minor errors where character names have been mixed up which was slightly confusing for a moment but nothing too serious. Mixing up Ari and Derrick is like confusing prawns with chocolate!
I was a little bit miffed by the ending of the book when I realised book 2 follows a totally different set of survivors. So what happens to everyone? Is there another book that joins the survivors of both books or something? Not sure but I certainly want to know what happens to the people.Anyway, I liked this book enough to buy the paperback of it and the follow up book, which should keep me amused until I see if more zombie books from this author are coming!