Archive for Zombie Fiction
Series: Ashes #1
Published by Egmont USA on 9/6/2011
Genres: Post-Apococalyptic/Dystopian, YA Paranormal / Fantasy, Zombie Fiction
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It could happen tomorrow . . .
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.
For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.
Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling post-apocalyptic novel about a world that could become ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.
This book has been on my radar since its release. I’m really glad I experienced the book via audio. The narrator, Katherine Kellgren, was annoying in the beginning. Her voice has a strange pitch to it and I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to deal. However, it didn’t take her long to prove to me that she does her job well. She did so fantastic with the different voices and personalities that we meet throughout this story. Most of all, her intensity during action scenes was off the charts. I think she almost gave me a heart attack a few times. I was literally on the edge of my seat. Or, since I mainly listened to it while doing cardio, I was on the edge of the crossramp, eliptical, treadmill, *insert crappy cardio machine here*. That could’ve resulted in injury on my part, but lucky for me, I was gripping the machines tightly during those scenes.
The prologue completely confused me, but it made sense as the story progressed and I learned more about Alex, our 17-year-old protagonist. The world was interesting to discover. After the electromagnetic pulse that kills off much of the population, human and otherwise, occurs in the beginning of the book, Alex finds herself confronting the end of days. The people who are spared from meeting the grim reaper are either struggling to survive or devouring the living. The zombie piece of the book was not huge, and the zombies are different from your typical walking, hungry meat sack. The appear to posses some intelligence, and can either adapt or learn. Not a great scenario for the living.
Alex has had a traumatic life. She is very mature for her age, due to her personal experiences, and it shows throughout the story. Carrying around sorrow, grief and guilt, she sets off on a cathartic mountain adventure that turns ugly. I felt for her situation immediately, and wanted to hug her and offer my friendship. She is a little abrasive in the beginning, but I understood why she remained so cutoff from other people. When she finally begins to open her heart, it was really beautiful to experience. She may have a hard time getting close and intimate with people, but when she lets you in, she loves you hard. She’s very perceptive and intuitive, easily picking up on things that others seem to ignore.
Ellie is an 8-year old girl who just so happens to find her way into Alex’s life after the EMP goes off. Ellie has also had a traumatic life and does not warm up to Alex for some time. She was an absolute brat, one that you want to shake repeatedly, but her behavior was easy to connect to her experiences. She was in the same boat as Alex, and Ellie was testing her to ensure she would stick around. Both ladies endured major losses even before the EMP, so their bond grows strong as they let each other in. Tom comes into the picture later, and I immediately loved him. He is strong, level-headed and loyal. He protects Alex and Ellie and welcomes them into his life with abandon. A slow burning romance develops between Tom and Alex, and then it is ripped away by an event that changed everything about this story. He is a character I pray to see more of in the second book!
The first half of the book unites Alex, Ellie and Tom. This trio becomes very close and endure a lot of WTFckery. However, a certain event changes the entire story! Alex finds herself alone and ventures into a small town that reminds me of the Governor’s township in The Walking Dead. It appears all “let’s rebuild and save humanity” on the outside, but there has to be something more sinister happening behind closed doors. As we know with post-apocalyptic scenarios, humans are at their worst and often pose more of a threat than the monsters chasing you. It is no different with this story, though the cliffhanger at the ending was not one I was expecting.
The story loses a lot of momentum once the plot changes from the trio on the run to Alex living in this township. And, it was just plain weird! It was really jarring and completely broke down the awesome pace and story line. I did not mind the township arc, but it just did not match where it felt the first half of the story was headed. It felt like the author got derailed or lost focus. That being said, I still enjoyed the book, though I did lose my enthusiasm halfway through.
Yahooooooooo! Annie Walls is back with more zombie awesome! I loved the first book in this series, Taking on the Dead. HUGE FAN of Kansas and Rudy, as well as the human settlement that has evolved into something…ugly. It’s a great character-driven story with some great WTF! moments. And great gory scenes. Love. It! And now, she’s released the cover for book two…holla!
With the help of her new companions, the path Kansas follows leads to more knowledge of the ever adapting famished. The team finds help in unlikely places, meeting more survivors, and discovers the possibility of a new beginning. When the team experiences a devastating loss, Kansas struggles to keep her humanity from fading and distorting like that of the surviving society around her. It begins with knowing who to trust and who to leave behind. First, she must trust herself – she won’t make the same mistakes twice. As the answers to her questions are revealed, Kansas begins to understand the knowledge comes with a heavy price and great responsibility of controlling the dead. In a trilogy plot thick with twists and turns, this adult dark fantasy is as emotional as it is horrifyingly gripping.
And for your viewing pleasure…
Also, be sure to stop by Annie’s blog to see acknowledgements, release date, and an eARC giveaway!
MEET ANNIE WALLS
Author of dark fantasy and sub-genres of horror. Voracious Reader and Googler. Lover of dark humor. Horror Buff. Zombie Apocalypse Enthusiast. Loyal Cracked follower. Pinterest Addict. Wife of adoring husband. Mother of a five year old Bruce Wayne. Cook. Maid. Kisser of boo-boos. Ultimate Time Waster. Perfect Procrastinator. Lolly Gagger. Trubie. Cake Decorator. Tea Drinker. Sculpey Sculptor. Girl Gamer. Perfectionist in the art of Facebook stalking. And now, God help me, a blogger. Oh yeah, and a twitter, twatter, tweeter. Well yeah, I’m one crafty bitch.
Fighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater (As the World Dies, #2) Paperback Release
January 29th 2013 / Tor Books
It’s time to clear the hotel.
The fort has grown crowded as survivors of the zombie apocalypse have found safety between its walls. Winter is coming; soon it will be too cold to live in tents and other makeshift shelters. The leaders of the survivors—Katie, Jenni, Juan, Travis, and Nerit—decide it’s time for an assault on the zombie-occupied hotel that looms over the town square.
A pitched battle in the banquet room is the start of a harrowing, room-by-room struggle from Reception to roof. As the sun sets, the people of Ashley Oaks gather in the hotel’s rooftop ballroom and gazebo to celebrate their survival. Gazing out over the beauty of the surrounding Texas countryside, it’s hard to believe that death and danger lurk around every corner.
The fort’s search and rescue teams have attracted unwanted attention from bandits who see the fort as competition for food . . . and as a ready source of women. The first attacks are minor, but everyone knows there is worse to come.
And beyond the fort’s walls, the zombies shamble, moaning, eyes fastened hungrily upon the living.
Read my reviews of the series. I love it something fierce!
Rhiannon is giving away ONE mass market paperback copy of book 1 (The First Days) and ONE mass market paperback copy of book 2 (Fighting to Survive). Open to US & Canadian addresses. Ends February 10th, 2013.
And now for a little treat…
Women, Society and the Zombocalypse
I honestly didn’t set out to write a feminist take on the zombocalypse when I started writing AS THE WORLD DIES as an online serial. I just wrote about the sort of people I that exist in my everyday life. The characters all evolved naturally as I wrote, as did their complicated relationships and sometimes disastrous choices. It was only later that I fully began to understand how ground-breaking having two female leads in the genre actually was.
Admittedly, Jenni and Katie were born out of my desire to read a zombie story that was from a woman’s perspective. AS THE WORLD DIES was born as online serial in 2005. At that time zombie fiction was inundated with the lone gunman wandering across the zombie-infested lands. Women, children, and men who weren’t Rambo in disguise were merely zombie fodder. The women played the roles of the love interest (who often died), the victims, and the zombies. It became demoralizing to read over and over again stereotypes that bore no real resemblance to any of the women in my life. So when the characters of Jenni and Katie invaded my mind one day at work, I wanted to write their story and share it with others.
When I started the serial, I wanted to write about real men and women with flaws and strengths struggling to rebuild society in the zombie wastelands. If history has shown us one thing, it’s that humans survive in communities. I didn’t want to create a world of alpha males and subservient women, or vice versa. I wanted to write about real people dealing with real life issues while facing the undead hordes. I didn’t want to shy away from the difficulties of creating a new community. Differences of opinion, religion, culture, etc. were definitely going to cause problems at some point. Little did I realize that the issues my characters tackled in the online serial (which ran from 2005-2007) would become hotbed issues in 2012. Religion, gay rights, and gender equality are all topics the people in the fort are forced to deal with while still dealing with bandits and zombies.
STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS
Oddly enough, I never thought about any of the females in my story as being “strong” or unusual. The positive feedback to the characters was definitely a reaction to all the stereotypical women in these kinds of books. People were genuinely surprised to read such positive portrayals. The readers weren’t surprised that the women were strong and competent; they were surprised to see an accurate portrayal of themselves, their wives, their girlfriends, mothers, and sisters. Quite a few male friends have told me that they loved how certain female characters reminded them strongly of the women they love. Female fans have also shared how refreshing it was to see women doing the types of things they would do in the zombocalypse—like killing zombies.
Jenni and Katie aren’t wonder women or superhuman like Alice in the Resident Evil films. They aren’t perfect either. Each has to deal with the aftermath of the destruction of their lives and they don’t always make the right choices. But they aren’t afraid to fight for their own lives and those they love. They step up and take part in the planning of the new community and fight for the survival of everyone.
THE REGULAR GUYS
Though I get a lot of kudos for my female characters, I don’t feel that any of my male characters suffer from standing alongside competent women. I didn’t want to resort to the alpha male stereotype with my male characters, but I also didn’t want to weaken them. Travis and Juan play vital roles in the story and are just regular men facing horrible circumstances. They understand that to survive everyone has to work together and have their own strengths and weaknesses. One of my greatest compliments was when someone told me that he could totally see himself hanging out with my male characters because they were just “dudes.”
There are, of course, men that don’t like the women playing such a strong role. One of them, Shane, becomes a dangerous foe to Katie when she has to kill his brother after he becomes infected. It’s in Shane and his cohort that we see a more dismissive attitude toward women and other people in general. Shane and Phillip are great at entering the zombie-infested towns and salvaging for supplies and serve the community well, but their attitudes toward women, especially bisexual Katie creates serious problems for the burgeoning society in FIGHTING TO SURVIVE. Shane and Phillip challenge the rules of the new society with their behavior. One particularly upsetting scene between Shane and Katie immediately causes a rift among the people in the fort as people take sides in a “he said, she said” battle.
One of the things that’s often missing in fiction, especially post-apocalyptic fiction, is the strong friendship bonds that exist among people. Often the survivors are not really friends, but people thrown together that just barely get along. In AS THE WORLD DIES I enjoyed portraying various types of friendship bonds. There are best buddies, Juan and Travis, BFFs Ken and Lenore, and Jenni and Katie’s strong, sisterly friendship.
Though people comment on all three friendships as being refreshing and similar to ones they share in their real lives, the one that stands out the most is the friendship between Jenni and Katie. Women are not often portrayed as being friends in fiction. In fact, a lot of heroines are often the only women in the book. Jenni and Katie’s friendship was one of the things my editor at Tor really enjoyed. It’s so rare to see female best friends who love and support each other. Usually women are portrayed as rivals. Since I have close female friends in my life it felt only natural to have Jenni and Katie be close.
In closing…I am very happy that readers embrace the characters and feel they are an honest, realistic version of people they have in their own lives. I am also pleased that readers have enjoyed the dynamics of the new and growing society in the middle of the zombocalypse.
Meet Rhiannon Frater
Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies trilogy (The First Days, Fighting to Survive, Siege,) and the author of three other books: the vampire novels Pretty When She Dies and The Tale of the Vampire Bride and the young-adult zombie novel The Living Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunters. Inspired to independently produce her work from the urging of her fans, she published The First Days in late 2008 and quickly gathered a cult following. She won the Dead Letter Award back-to-back for both The First Days and Fighting to Survive, the former of which the Harrisburg Book Examiner called ‘one of the best zombie books of the decade.’ Rhiannon is currently represented by Hannah Gordon of the Foundry + Literary Media agency. You may contact her by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rusty offered to send me an uber cool poem to enhance my Halloween fun. He writes books about zombies, you know? Like Zombies Don’t Cry, Panty Raid @ Zombie High and his newest release, Detention of the Living Dead. I was tickled…red?… by this poem and giggled profusely.
ENJOY! AND READ RUSTY!
A FREE Poem of the Living Dead
By Rusty Fischer, author of Detention of the Living Dead
Copyright © 2012 by Rusty Fischer
All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. All of the names, characters, places and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or, if real, are used fictitiously.
Cover credit: © Creatista – Fotolia.com
I have a zombie
I named him Fred.
Yes, he is one
Of the living dead.
He is all right
As best friends go;
Although he only
Has one toe.
Fred thinks it’s neat;
For who needs toes
When you have no feet?
And who needs feet
When you have no shins?
To walk to town
And back again.
And who needs shins
When you have no hips?
At least Fred has
Both of his lips.
And who needs hips
When you have no tummy?
No, my friend Fred
Sure is no dummy.
He smiles and smiles
The whole day long;
And acts as if
There’s nothing wrong.
And who needs a tummy
When you have no chest?
No, there is one thing
My Fred knows best:
The secret of life
According to Fred
Is to never, ever
Lose your head!
Meet Rusty Fischer
Rusty Fischer is the author of Zombies Don’t Cry, as well as several other popular zombie books, including Panty Raid at Zombie High, Detention of the Living Dead and the Reanimated Readz series of 99-cent living dead shorts.
Rusty runs the popular website Zombies Don’t Blog @ www.zombiesdontblog.blogspot.com. At Zombies Don’t Blog you can read more about Rusty’s work, view his upcoming book covers and read – or download – completely FREE books & stories about… zombies!
Series: The Famished Trilogy #1
Published by Independent Publishing on 9/20/12
Genres: Zombie Fiction
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Life for Kansas was perfect until the day the world changed.
She has been hiding out for four years in solitude. It's the only way to survive. The only way not to draw the living dead. Helping a small group of people, she learns the new world might not be what she assumes. Venturing out of her refuge and comfort zone, she meets Rudy, who helps her find a greater purpose. She realizes that the world has moved on without her. Only it's not what she expects. Her knowledge of the living dead grows and only makes her more curious as humanity continues to hang on by a thread. While on her search for answers she finds comfort in new friendships and love, but her past seems as if it will haunt her forever.
Kansas takes it upon herself to help other survivors, which would be easy if the famished were the only obstacles.
In a trilogy plot thick with twists and turns, this adult dark fantasy is emotional as much as it is horrifyingly gripping.
Interest in Book
Zombies! Character-driven plot! End of days nightmarish world-building. Great heroine and smoldering, sexy romantic tension. And the author isn’t afraid to write gore. Wooooty woot!
Oh, the world-building was just incredible! The setting is 4 years after the zombie apocalypse. The main character, Kansas, has been living on her own most of that time and has learned to take care of herself. When a group of survivors stumble upon her secluded home, she reluctantly welcomes them in. Kansas learns a lot about herself, the people of the new world and just how much has been going on outside her little bubble. When she ventures out to explore, she learns that zombies and humans have both evolved in some form or another.
The author was not afraid to write gore! Yahoo! This made me happy, but should be a warning for those of you who do not like blood and guts. There are also some pretty disturbing scenes involving humans and how they treat zombies in a settlement that Kansas stumbles upon. I think those scenes were more horrifying than any bashed-in brain or putrid zombie explosions. Some of the people in this new world are just as crazy as the zombies, in my opinion. Their humanity is teetering on the edge of a cliff throughout the entire book. And, of course, we get a nice dose of fanatical cult fun. Cult mentality is so fascinating to me!
Kansas is a great character. She has issues letting people in, due to being alone for so long and being wronged in the past. She has become a lean fighting machine from being secluded and relying on her own physical finesse for so long. She also has wicked long dreadlocks because she got sick of brushing her hair. I really loved this about her, because dread locks just look cool – on the right person, anyhow. She has moments of clarity and moments of utter despair, but one thing is for sure, she wants to survive and will mow down a cult, a zombie horde, or a few indecent assholes if they block her path.
Kansas meets Rudy along her journey. He saved her life out in the wild and they end up becoming close friends in a settlement that takes her in. Rudy’s quite the looker, if you ask any of the settlement’s hookers that want to go for a ride on the Rudymobile. Rudy and Kansas have a very interesting relationship throughout the book. They don’t always say what they feel and give mixed signals. They do, however, remain supportive, respectful and protective. Love blossoms under the surface but the dangerous, chaotic environment leads to missed opportunities. And yes, there is a love triangle and some nice sexy time. I don’t want to say more than that. It was not annoying, for me, but I am hoping and praying that Rudy comes out the winner. His smile won me over, not to mention most of his personality.
This book is a fantastic start to a new zombie post-apocalyptic series. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the wacky mentality of the settlement, the cult action, the zombie lore and the romantic tension. It delivered on all aspects of what makes a book entertaining for me.