My Loft of the Cabin where I store all my virtual reads, reviews and discover new adventures and share new stories!
Today's review is going to be a consistent series here on Wilderness Apocalypse. I will be doing a quick review of individual books and series (since so many post-apocalyptic & zombie books tend to be series sets). I also want to add a quick tip the characters in the book added to my big box of survival necessities. So without further lukewarm MRE's with clumpy coffee (you eat what you can on the road, am I right?).
It began on Freak Day—that day no one could explain, when strangers and family members alike went crazy and started biting one another. Some thought the outbreak was caused by a flu shot, others that it was a diet drug gone terribly wrong. All anyone knew is that once you were bitten and went to sleep, you woke up a freak.
"Zombie lovers won't be able to put down Barnes' gripping yarn, which will leave them hungry for the next installment." — Booklist“Adds welcome diversity to the crowded zombie field.” ( SchoolLibraryJournal.com ) “An enjoyable read . . . . solid storytelling.” ( Zombie Joe Reviews ) “Very fast paced and wonderfully written horror.” ( Bookhounds Book Review )
Devil's Wake and the second in the series, Domino Falls are two books I 've been really wanting to dig into after reading one of the author's fantasy books. He and his wife (writing duo for many fantasy reads) are clean solid writers and is apt at weaving character relationships which have you sitting on edge of your seat read. This style of writing is perfect for a good zombie survival book, it turns out he was able to do this and more..
Even after a month since finishing this I can remember the feelings evoked watching everyone develop fast and hard relationships and folding new found friends into the fold with ease. The cast is simple and part of the cast is going to be your quick survival tip, intrigued? I bet as soon as you read the list here you will know exactly ... well let's get on with this quick cast overview.
Kendra Brookings is the sixteen year-old who remembers exactly where she was when the virus started running rapid in Portland. She was sitting in the ER waiting to get the coveted flu shot, one of the last ones in the area. Ended up being a good thing they left when people started attacking everyone in the ER or the protagonists being infected would have caused the story to go a completely different direction. Her mother, before succumbing to the virus, locks her in the basement and makes her promise to not answer the door without hearing her grandfather's safe word.
Joseph is her maternal grandfather and thankfully her mother was able to get through as the first words she heard which were not from her mother now crazed and wanting to attack her since becoming full blown infected, she has not talked to anyone, has been living in fear and ignorance for days. The great thing which has been hinted at is Joseph is also a survivalist who has a place in the woods of the Olympic Peninsula. (Another reason this gal wanted to read it since I am from the Pacific NW).
Down the road a bit from Joseph's place is a place called Round Meadows Five run by Vern and Molly. Vern and a handful of the kids at this juvenile camp were in Seattle's famous Farmer's Market. This was really a good flash of these incredible monsters Barnes created for the readers, fantastic imagery here!
Then we have the Round Meadows gang; Terry is a councilor who was sentenced as such after shooting his abusive stepfather with a nail gun (snort). Chuck aka Piranha is a big daunting person, when you find out what he was sentenced for you will giggle a bit. He is one of my favorite characters. Dean and Darius are Squamish Indians. They are the pretty boys who look like twins but actually are cousins. These two really add a circle of diversity to the crew. Heck Dean is not even sentenced but he is there to be with his brother, who is being sentenced for auto-theft. You seeing some patterns here? Well you are right too!
The camp's last juvenile offender is Sonia and is the only girl in the Round Meadows Five. She was sentenced to the camp for shoplifting. But don't let her simple crime fool you, she is one heck of a complex character.
Lastly we have the camp dog, Hipshot. He is extremely friendly and loyal. On top of it all, they have the cousin's motorcycles and a big old camp school bus. It may help they reach one of their first goals, a military base where they are joined by Ursalina after she loses her partner.
Joseph has been working Kendra through learning how to hunt, shoot; not just use a weapon but take care of it so it always works. She is just beginning to come out of her shell, she even spoke for the first time the morning her grandfather was attacked during a normal trading trip. The only thing she knows is Domino's Falls is what is being told as a safe zone and if she has too, she will walk it.
I felt that over all giving you a window into these characters will truly give you a good intro into why you would want to pick the series up. They keep developing, it is realistic while still maintaining the moments of miracle escapes, unlikely surprises, devastation on a level which no one can possibly escape from yet they do without being so unbelievable it creates eye-rolling annoyance for zombie novel readers.
Zombies are wonderful, you cannot make them sparkly, cannot dress them up in pretty boy clothes which make the girls swoon or be buff alpha "dogs" which under the full moon could either love you or eat your heart out of the chest they just ripped out. Barnes and Due, a husband and wife team, have delved into the world of zombies. Sociological and cultural terror where the monsters are part of the world build and the characters developing relationships and how they cope and evolve into the world which has changed so completely around them.
This could be labeled a YA novel, in fact I would totally do so. Older YA (the author's label it as YA+) though since the gore and gun toting characters are violent, kind of have to be it is a zombie read! Heck the violence really is not even close to some of the dystopian reads for young adults. The kids are kids, and they are not just dealing with world problems but their own coming of age problems. Love, life and loss which would devastate the strongest of adults, and does. These guys pull it together and because of, not despite, their age they are not stuck in the old dogs tricks. Plus we all know there is going to be love interests, it is a given in any horror read like this! ESPECIALLY the norm for zombie survival movies.
If you like a great zombie read which has fun moments as well as the appropriate amount of terror and heartache, I recommend the series. Plus you may want to read it because it is coming soon to a big screen near you, (see announcement HERE). Tonya Lewis Lee, Spike Lee's wife and a producer at ToniK Productions got in touch with them after seeing their 18 minute feature short based on a story within the the novel, Devil's Wake (see below).
My only issue was with how it ended, it felt unfinished and I was extremely thrilled to have found the two books in the series after both had been published. Remember though in any zombie read the biggest monsters end up not being hungry flesh eating freaks. Friends are the most important thing to have and to hold onto in this world, remember that. But... if they had given us more information at the end we would not have the need to flesh-out the story happening in their pit-stop to Devil's Wake at Domino Falls (review coming in the next week).
Sure, they are an animal and have to be fed, trained and given special training in Zed alerts (well most of the time) but that is just it, they are useful, and not for food (bad survivalist). Train them to help haul things. They can carry a small fanny bags, they also can be trained to haul larger things, especially in the winter such as dog sleds.
These are going to be coming in handy especially if you live places that get cold and when the gas is no longer usable... Plus I'd put a dogsled with a good team against even a horde of runners any day!
Dogs have been bred to be man's best friend, both in companionship but also loyalty. They have not had as much selective breeding as horses so you won't have as much breakdown in breeds even if you cross bread. They will eat almost everything and in the case of DEVIL'S WAKE, Hipshot is an early warning alarm in more ways than just growling the freaks are coming.... He knew how loud to be and he could sense and smell an infected before they even know they are getting sick. They will keep you warm at night when you snuggle and they will help keep you sane. Better than an old volleyball, huh Tom Hanks!
So guys don't ditch the dog! Kendra and gang discovered Hipshot was one of the groups best members!
OH! Before I forget, here is the short feature film with Joseph and Kendra from the short story which started it all: