I’ve been following, reading, and enjoying Jean Marie’s work for a while now. I consider myself a fan and we’re also friends via the usual social media channels. She blends fantasy and romance in a way that I enjoy. When she solicited reviews for this book, I immediately raised my hand. Does this meet my standards? Read on and find out!
Nursing student Hannah Jordan knows things are bad when her mother dies while giving birth to a son. She knows things can’t get much worse when her mother gets back up and tries to have the baby for breakfast. When she’s forced to put her mother down like a rabid animal, only one certainty remains: Hannah will do whatever it takes to stay alive and protect her baby brother.
The only survivors out of a family of survivalists, Hannah and the baby ride out the zombie apocalypse in their family’s backyard bunker, emerging months later to find a world taken over by the newly self-appointed saviors of humanity: a race of vampires hellbent on preventing the extinction of their food supply.
The Goods – Zombie vs. Vampires with humans stuck in the middle? Sign me up! This uses the typical horror tropes well, without abusing them a la Twilight. The romance angle is well written and I enjoy watching the principle love interests falling for each other. Hannah Jordan is the kind of kick ass heroine I think we all need to see more of. She’s strong, but far from a robot. She knows her way around a gun and isn’t afraid to go hand to hand. She’s also smart, though she makes plenty of mistakes of the sort you’d expect from any young person. So, she’s no Mary Sue. The pacing and amount of detail are both solid. JM knows how to keep the story moving, but she doesn’t sacrifice character development. It’s definitely a page turner and literally kept me up until midnight so that I could find out what happened.
The Bads – As much as I enjoyed the book, it’s not without its flaws. Hannah is in her bunker for five months and it seems to me that the world went from normal to post apocalyptic far too quickly. Things happen that probably should have taken longer than five months. When a prisoner is telling her what’s happened since the zombie outbreak, it sounds like everything fell apart too quickly. Speaking of too quick, while I applaud the pacing, there are a few scenes that seem to move the plot along a little too quickly. More time with her settling into life at the camp would have made what happened next a little more believable. By that, I mostly mean the relationships that she builds with the other humans. They go much too fast. In addition, everything at the human camp is a little too clean and nice. Hannah starts off paranoid and justifiably so, but she works through it too quickly.
There’s also something that bugged me about both this and another romance I read recently. People are too nice to each other. I’ll grant you that most of the vampires are evil buggers, but I don’t recall there being an ounce of tension between Hannah and the people she ends up befriending. She does things that should bother her new neighbors and there’s no huge reason for anyone to be so open and trusting. I suppose I’ve just come to think of the post-apocalypse genre as being chock full of anti-social behavior.
Finally, while I found the idea of the solution to the zombie problem to be interesting, it was also a little confusing. How it works is a mystery, as is how it was developed.
None of these by themselves hurt the book that much, but a few answers might be forthcoming in the sequel.
The Verdict I enjoyed this book. The vampires are mostly monsters, though the doctor has an interesting explanation as to why that is. The romance is heartfelt. And the plot and characters worked for me. The flaws pulled me out of the story a few times, but getting back in was never a problem.
I give this book four out of five silver bullets and look forward to the next in this series.