This was written in 2017 but it has uneasily prophetic when it comes to the current pandemic. A small group of people in India got sick… but since the incubation period for the virus can be up to 30 days it spreads ruthlessly and becomes a global pandemic.
Nila is our main character and she’s in her thirties with two young daughters, age four and six. Her brother works for the CDC and has some insider info about a new and scary virus that’s spreading quickly. Many global governments act too slowly and soon things get out of control. Nila’s also the daughter of a doomsday prepper who has a log cabin out in the woods, it’s the perfect place to hunker down and try to wait it all out.
The infected in this world aren’t supposed to be zombies, but more like an extreme version of rabies, resulting in hydrophobia and extremely violent behavior. There’s patchy evidence to conclude that some people are immune while other’s aren’t – but there’s not enough research out there yet to confirm. Slowly things start turning surreal as what were thought to be living people turn out not to have heart beats, they don’t blood, and they eventually decay down to the point where they are just heads that bite. Using experiments to determine how long that process takes, they try and come up with a game plan of when they can spread out and start looking for other survivors.
This is basically a zombie survivalist fast paced action kind of book, but I really liked the characters. I’ve read a few of these recently and this is the first time I invested into some of the characters. Like the walking dead, there’s a core of main characters and revolving side characters that die throughout the book. By the very end, even the core group members aren’t safe anymore and they start to die off one by one.
The prose is okay, the narrative part of the book goes by quickly and smoothly. The dialogue for the kids though left a lot wanting. The kids sounded way too old for their age and were talking about concepts far beyond their years sometimes. The pacing is super quick, this isn’t a long book but it’s longer than some of the other zombie books I’ve read recently, and that time was spent giving the characters more depth which is nice to see in a horror book. I’ve found that a lot of horror movies and horror books depend too much on the plot and not enough on the characters to bring about a feeling of horror. For me, it’s much more scary, and creates a lot more tension if I’m worrying over a favorite character’s fate than body parts being all over an abandoned house or whatever.
As far as creativity, this is pretty run of the mill zombie stuff, but that’s okay. The genre has been around forever because there’s something timeless about the undead. There’s some human morbid fascination with the idea that bodies can rise without their souls or personhood, becoming empty shells and monsters.
Overall, I had a pretty good time with this. At the very end there was this hint at a love triangle starting and I groaned a bit because I was so happy it hadn’t happened when a grown woman and two grown men were stuck together in an apocalypse. Oh well, lol.
- Plot: 11/15
- Characters: 12/15
- World Building: 10/15
- Writing: 12/15
- Pacing: 12/15
- Originality: 9/15
- Personal Enjoyment: 8/10
Final Score: 74/100 or 3.8/5 on Goodreads