Sunday, 31 March 2013

Books in Brief: Zombie Edition!

Whilst its fun writing reviews for the books I'm reading now, I keep regretting that I've read so many great books previously. I really want to share them, but they just aren't fresh enough in my memory for a full review. As a result I've decided to try out a new feature of sorts: Books in Brief, where I will write a very diddy review of 3-4 books I want to talk about, linked by some sort of common theme. Today, I'm starting with zombies.

First up is The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell

In one of my favourite books of 2012 we follow 15 year old Temple across a devastating wasteland as she runs not just from zombies, but a vengeful man determined to see her dead. Temple is brilliant, and broken. Growing up post-apocalypse has made her tough, and she does what it takes to survive with a hardened calm which masks the terrors of her past. Although written in third person, the narrative carries Temple's distinctive voice, which is part of what makes the book so memorable. You can see what I mean from the very first line:

God is a slick god. Temple Knows. She knows because of all the crackerjack miracles still to be seen on this ruined globe.”

I was hooked from there, and even once I finished the book her voice seemed to linger in my head. This quote also leads into another thing I loved about this one: Temple's ability to see the beauty that exists even in her ravaged world. It's a reminder that no matter how dark your situation, the sparks of light are always there if you look for them.

A beautifully written book, with a protagonist I adored and some memorable supporting characters. I had to give it 5 stars.

Next is This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers.

In This is Not a Test Sloane Price and 5 of her schoolmates take refuge in their old school to hide from a world which is falling to pieces outside. As they listen to the zombies clamouring at the doors, fear and mistrust stretches the tensions between the group of teens to breaking point.

Sloane stands out from other zombie apocalypse protagonists in that instead of fighting to stay alive, all she really wants to do is die. In an ironic twist of fate, the disaster actually saves her life in the first chapter, when she is preparing to end it. Swept up in events, as her companions cling to survival she remains detached, quietly working out the best time to leave for good.

This is Not a Test is a book which contains zombies, but is not really about them. It is what happens within the walls of the school which is important, and the way humanity, when frightened, can be as dangerous as any supernatural monster. Summers' characters are believably flawed and sometimes frustrating, but hard to dislike. In terms of plot and pacing I was always on the edge of my seat, as the tension was palpable throughout. Whilst it wasn't on the same level as The Reapers are the Angels for me, I rated This is Not a Test a very decent 4 stars.

Finally we have The Infects by Sean Beaudoin.

After an incident at the chicken processing factory where he works, Nick is sent to boot camp with an assortment of misbehaving teens. However things take an unusual turn when their camp counsellors suddenly develop a taste for human flesh. Joining forces with another group, which happens to include Nick's school/work colleague and crush, Petal, they fight to stay alive.

Honestly, I can't say I enjoyed this one very much. I never really cared about any of the characters, and the pervasive puerile humour wasn't really my style. I also felt like it tries just a bit too hard to be clever, which turned me off. There are a lot of references to popular Zombie films, most of which I haven't seen, so its possible parts were going over my head. Maybe I would have enjoyed the book more if this wasn't the case, but I do have to point out that my ignorance never stopped me enjoying the equally derivative Shaun of the Dead.

The Infects just escapes a 1 star rating because despite my complaints it did keep me reading, and an interesting twist made it just about worth making it to the end. I also thought Nick's relationship with his sister was quite sweet. As a result, I'm bumping it up to 2 stars.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Any other zombie books you would recommend?  Let me know in the comments below. :) Happy Easter all!


  1. Gah, zombies are the one paranormal creature that freak me out. Well, maybe that and ghosts. xD My friend read This Is Not a Test and recommended it to me, so I might have to give it a try.

    New GFC follower from Blogger Lift!
    Daphne @ Reading Until Dawn

    1. Hi Daphne! This is not a Test may be a good one to start with, as most of the time the zombies are really just in the background. It's not as gruesome as some! I think I'm scared of ghosts most of all, but zombies really are sooo freaky! Vampires and werewolves though... I think I'm desensitised by now. XD

      Thanks for following. :) I've followed you back!

  2. Oh my! I never could have guessed that This Is Not a Test is about zombies! I've always thought that it was an angsty YA contemporary about death or something :)

    I need to check out these books! Some of the zombie reads I know of are Warm Bodies, Dearly Departed, Forest of Hands and Teeth ;) They are really classics of the YA Zombie genre.

    New follower :D

    1. Haha it doesn't look a lot like a zombie book from the cover, does it? I think it has a lot in common with YA contemporary anyway, as a lot of the focus is on the characters rather than lots of zombie action.

      I've also read Forest of Hands and Teeth and heard of Warm Bodies, but Dearly Departed is new to me! I'll have to look into that one. :)

      Thanks for following :D I'd say I'd follow back... but I already do!

  3. I love zombie films and the books that you have reviewed all sound very good. However, I would probably read the first book.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Spangle@theolivareader

    1. Thanks for returning the visit! :) Of the three the first is definitely the one I'd recommend most, it's amazing!

  4. I loved This Is Not A Test. I wonder if it is a series?

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