A story of survival trust and fear.
The first in the series, Winter Smith is ripped from a rich lifestyle and forced to survive…
The zombie virus has torn through the world, and Winter and a group of survivors must get to the Thames
Winter deals with the loss of her parents, the harsh reality of promised safety, and learns that not everyone can be trusted…
*Thank you to J.S. Strange for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
This book was an absolute gem and got me through a pretty shitty weekend (I’ll explain later…).
I’m not easily spooked when it comes to books, or films for that matter, but there was something about this story that gave me the heebies and, to a lesser extent, the jeebies.
The story begins with a zombie attack which hints at the source of the infection and then moves swiftly on to introduce us to our heroine of the series, Winter Smith. She’s a disaffected teenager with a troubled past, her parents are too busy providing her with the early years they never had that they forget to be present for them, her status as a socialite makes sure that her every move is scrutinised by the media and… she’s 17. She’s not happy with any of it.
The zombie outbreak starts off slowly at first, people in the UK are denying that there’s a problem and that it could ever land on their doorstep (as we totally would) and keep going about life as usual for as long as they can until they have to wake up and smell the entrails.
Winter is at a celebrity party being held by her parents when they are attacked, she’s forced to flee and make her way to the Thames so that she can be evacuated to the relative safety of a refugee camp in Paris. Along the way, she meets other teens who are trying to survive in this savage new world – together, they try to make sense of what’s happening and get to safety.
The zombies in this installation are excellent, they’re fast and brutal but also quite stupid so the human characters have the ability to outwit them and escape which makes them scary but not invincible. The ‘virus’ is transmitted by bite, for certain, but there may be other ways that haven’t been explained yet.
Strange has a talent for suspense, the action scenes are perfect – they’re realistic and keep your interest without over describing events (I find that authors sometimes do this as if to prove to you that they really have done their homework). There are some creepy suspense scenes when you feel the characters are being crept up on that I adored.
However, I do feel that the way that the characters relate to each other is a little strained in places and that LGBT themes are shoehorned in a little bit too hard rather than flowing naturally- I’m pretty sure that this won’t be an issue in the sequel though, the writing style tangibly matured as the story went on and you could feel the confidence of the author building.
I will be following this series to its conclusion – these are the best zombies I’ve read in a while, with the right amount of action to character drama. This balance is normally very tricky to achieve and I think that Strange has nailed it!
To get a little bit more insight into what we can expect, I did ask my fellow countryman (I haven’t read anything else by a Welsh author since starting this blog!) a few questions to whet our appetites for the rest of the series:
If you want to learn more about this new author check these out:
While doing my research, I also came across this little gem of an article from a local paper which made me smile – this is a wonderful thing about Wales, local triumphs and successes usually make it into the media so we can all share!