I was very much excited when I saw that my library added this one to their limited collection of English. A horror/zombie book? Sign me up.
So this was a pretty interesting zombie book focusing more on atmosphere than creepy stuff. Sure, there are zombie encounters, but mostly it just focuses on the world, how desolate it is. How there is danger everywhere. Which I just love. Often in zombies it is all about the action, about putting as much gore into it as one can do. But in this one it is about a girl, the world changed, and how she is trying to find her way.
I loved that we see the now, the girl with the wheelbarrow and all that happens after, but that we also see how she came to be where she is now. How her childhood was, how her training started, how things started to spiral into chaos and bleakness. While the Now parts were definitely my favourite, I still appreciated the Then parts as they gave more insight in the character we are following through this desolate and rotten land.
I found it freaking scary that the zombies could talk, or at least in the beginning. We see how Maeve turns into a zombie and talks to Orpen. Really, a zombie is already a big fat NOPE NOPE NOPPPPPEEE and then this one can talk? Lure you in? Charm its way into your juicy meats? Eh, no. But well done to the author, that was exceptionally done.
I loved seeing various signs and marks left by other people over the years (and maybe even some from the beginning that were left), OK it was at times heartbreaking especially the warnings.
The zombies, or Skrake were really well described. They brought chills to me. I wouldn’t want to encounter that.
The ending had me feeling mixed. On the one side, yay for Orpen. On the other hand… does she really want to go to the place her mom and Maeve ran from? Knowing what C told her?
However I had several issues. Like with how Orpen just had Maeve around, bitten and dead, in a wheelbarrow for a long time and later we learn that something else happened as well. I would think that being in the zombie apocalypse for so long would have people know what to do with a zombie relative or friend. You don’t take them home or carry them around. You help them. Because from all the books I read about zombie changing and what you become when you have changed… it hurts like a fucker. Your body dies, then resurrects into something it is not. I get she wanted to find a cure, but this isn’t just about Maeve. This is about someone else as well.
Then there is the fact she had SO MUCH training yet she doesn’t seem to know how to kill a zombie immediately. It is first wrestling and struggling, then she stabs it somewhere, another stab, another stab, more wrestling and then finally she remembers to stab it in the head. I would think that the first thing you learn in ANY training in a zombie apocalypse is how to dispatch a freaking zombie the fastest way. Not just have a lovely wrestling match with it…. Also that she kept talking how she had training and blabla but in the mean time when it came to zombies she was just as bad as the three people she was with.
Also I was confused for a long time on the Phoenix City. I know of a Phoenix City (or something thereabout) but that is in the US, not in Ireland. Later on we learn that it is Dublin called that.
Orpen acted more like a kid rather than a teen. I thought for most book she was around 10, but instead, she is probably more like 15-16-ish. I guess partially this has to do with her being on a secluded island with no one around, but I wonder if that is really all to it.
Who the FUCK makes a freaking pyre of FIRE in a zombie apocalypse. Dear C, you are on the run from stuff, from people who are hunting for you, and you make a fire? So you can maybe find your groupmembers again? Hello. Zombies?? They love fire and light and such. rolls eyes
All in all though I did enjoy reading this one. It was different from many zombie books and while I do love action-paced zombie books, this one is a nice fresh breath in my Halloween reading. Still scary, but also not too scary.