I wish to thank the publisher and tour coordinator for the print ARC I received in exchange for an honest review. Receipt of any material does not sway my reviews in any way.
Many readers know author Jamie McGuire from her Providence and Beautiful series. I have both, but have only read the Beautiful books. For those readers of hers, take everything you know of Ms. McGuire and strike it from every corner of your memory before reading this. Why? This book is unlike anything she has previously written and I believe she’s found herself a new niche in the literary world.
The book starts at the dawn of the zombie apocalypse. What was interesting to me was that the author integrated the faster turning of people into flesh eaters through an inoculation that has gained more controversy over the past several years. It really made me stop reading for a bit and actually take some things into consideration. It was an ingenious move of the author to put that spark in there. She may get some grief from certain circles, but the everyday reader will not put a lot of weight into it but it will strike up the conversation in a group of friends.
We have multiple POV’s going on. Now this is where my issue was, why I took a half star away. In the beginning, the multiple POV’s were just a bit too much. Trying to remember who goes with whom and what is driving them to get where they are going and the members of their party during that section. About half way through the book you start gaining your footing in this area, the ah-ha moments begin, the connections start happening and the story starts to soar from there.
This was a book that I did not want to put down. When I had to, I found myself thinking of the characters and their strengths and weaknesses. The things they will have to overcome and project outcomes for each of the characters. Boy was I wrong on the outcome on a few of them. The author brings to the table the reality of human nature, the possibilities of how one might adapt and overcome what is put before them, and how it affects not only you as a person but also those around you. What may look like a simple person may be your savior in the time of devastation and chaos.
I watch The Walking Dead, no, I’m not one who has to watch it the night it’s on nor even that week or month it was on, I’m more of the catch up during a marathon session. I was able to connect this story with the characters of the series. No, this is not a copycat nor a rip-off. Maybe a bit of fan fiction mixed with a whole lot of genuine storytelling. There are your strong female leads, your strong male leads, the weak that prey on the weaker and who get their rears handed to them in the end.
Now the other half star I gave up was for a bit of unconvincing moments and a bit of story that really seemed to be thrown in. The slow and sluggish shufflers seem to be able to get one too many people in their grasps at times. Another is a certain incident of a live person coming in with someone else and taking upon himself to start doing things wrong from almost the moment he walked in to the house. That was a crushing story for the other character involved but also brought a bit into the story that really seemed to be not needed.
The story goes well into the apocalypse, brings people together, shows the vulnerability in a person dealing with loss in a world where there isn’t much happiness in and coming out intact. Loss, love, hope, endurance, weakness, craziness, rebellious, courageous, revenge, and more come together in this book. It’s written, I believe, as a standalone, but could easily later have a sequel if the author chooses to. Is one needed? No. The author didn’t wrap everything up in a pretty bow but did let us have peace with the end result.
Who do I recommend this to? Just about anyone 13+. The scenes are not graphic, sex is nearly non-existent. Yeah, flesh eaters kind of put the fire out of the libido of the normal person. If you like zombie stories, you’ll like this book. If you are all about romance, romance, romance, ummm…not for you. If you even have the inkling towards paranormal, this will be right up your alley. Thank you Ms. McGuire for thinking out of the box and letting this story come to fruition.