Billions died and rose again, hungry for human flesh. When the nightmare reached Sheriff Danielle Adelman's small mountain community of Forest Peak, California, it was too late for warnings...forcing her to lead a small group of survivors out of hell, all the while seeking her estranged runaway sister at any cost.
Two years later, the undead have evolved. Now, besides the shambling, mindless cannibals are the hunters-cunning and fast, like wolves-and the thinkers, whose shocking intelligence and single-minded predatory obsession may mean the downfall of what's left of humanity. As Danny leads a ragtag band of the living through the remnants of the American Midwest, rumors arise of a safe place somewhere east. But the closer they get to it, the more certain Danny becomes that something evil waits for them at the end of the line.
With an unspeakable secret riding beside her and an unbreakable promise made to a small, silent boy, Danny must stake everything she has-her leadership, her sanity, and her life- in order to defeat the ultimate horror in a terrifying and dying world.
"More than a routine zombiefest, this taut and intelligent tale succeeds as a moving meditation on a world steeped in 'the loneliness of life without afterlife.'" (Publishers Weekly)
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wow! much, much better than expected!
constantly being surprised at how the story unfolded
there were several moments that moved me, moments of sadness and disgust. there are a few powerful moments, but i can't go into deal b/c i don't want to spoil the listener's experience!
wow! i'm shocked at how good this second book was! the first book was just MEH. so why did i download this second book? b/c there was some potential to make the story interesting, but also b/c first book ended with an irresistibly intriguing scene.
the first book had some ups and some downs. in the first book, i didn't really like the main character, danny, and it was hard to bond with her. she has some serious anger issues and is so hard-headed that she often alienates those around her. she is an unlikable hero.
however in the second book, the author does a good job making danny seem more human. yes, she still has some serious anger problems, but the author does a better job flushing them out. in the first book, the author used danny's anger to drive the plot, some of which seemed downright dumb (threatening looters with arrest during a zombie apocylapse) and contrived (leaving the group to look for her sister). in this book, the causes and reasons for danny's anger are realistic and at times, justified, and therefore more believable. i found it refreshing to listen to a zombie story where there was a lot of anger.
in a couple of other zombie stories, where characters have had serious anger issues, those characters did really stupid things, things that really uncharacteristic of their characters and thus wouldn't happen during a zombie outbreak, like shouting and breaking things while supposedly hunkering down in a safe house. i'm thinking of my review of the first 2 the becoming novels in particular.
anyway...back to this review. yes, danny blows her top and makes mistakes. these scenes are realistic and emotional. i found myself thinking "God danny, why did you do that!?" even though danny is brash and unlikable, you start to like her and care for her. this really surprised me after the first book. i really liked how the author explored the complicated relationship b/ween danny and her sister, kelly.
what happens in this second book is also much more interesting than the first book. the first book details the initial outbreak, followed by fleeing and trying to find a safe place to hold out. the main human enemies were a rogue band of private military thugs. been there done that. the pace of the story in the first book is herky jerky. the author does a much better job of pacing the story in this second book. one layer of plot smoothly lays upon another as the mystery and tension build.
i won't spoil anything more revealing than the publisher's summary, but what danny finds in the "safe" place is as intriguing as it is creepy. a few zombie novels i have liked have tried to do something along this line, e.g. beyond the barriers, the reanimation of edward shuett, i zombie, but ben tripp creates something truly unique and horrifying. the author really could of lost control of the story in this part, but he did a good job pulling in the reins, keeping the pace of the story moving without getting lost on a tangent.
what i really liked was how unpredictable the story was. every time i thought this or that was going to happen, i was proven wrong, all the way up to the closing credits.
now, the important question. drum roll...do you need to read the first book? i would say no. this story is pretty self-contained. you can catch up with what's going on in the beginning as the author briefly recounts what happened. but like i said, parts of the first book are painfully slow, especially the beginning- 2 and 1/2 hours before anything really happens.
overall, a great story! there are a lot of twists and turns and some freaky surprises! i definitely recommend this book. the first is your call!
to those who listened to the first book and didn't like it, i definitely suggest you give this book a chance b/c it's so much better. i think a good comparison would be the roads less traveled series. while the first book in that series was kind of MEH, the second book was great. this second book is really good!
- Mike Naka "Avid Zombie fan who's starting to listen to more and more Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories. So, my description is apt to change. Dog lover who's known to have cats. LOL C# coder, part-time prepper, B movie fan, AMC watcher, recovering but successful day trader, perpetual student, overjoyed uncle, former adrenaline junkie with a flare for cooking, and lots more. LOL"
Strong characters, but story meanders a bit...
- crazybatcow "I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)"