Two common urban fantasy sub-genres, 1) Zombies and 2) Young Adult Girls Fighting Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian Adults, come together in this well-paced, well-charactered stand-only novel. Do not expect a cliffhanger or a sequel here, though the latter would be welcome.
Ten years after a British-style Zombie pandemic sweeps through the known world, teenaged sisters Mal [Mallory] and Kay [McKayla] have lost every last ally and relative from their escape from San Francisco. The girls have become resourceful and adept foragers and fighters in the Northwest’s temperate rainforests as they carve a path to British Columbia’s gulf islands. “Stricken,” infected and mutated living humans that hunt other humans, wander sparsely through the reclaimed wilds. So do other survivors, but they are rarely to be trusted as supplies dwindle and many are willing to kill for a good blanket or book of matches.
Seattle, flooded and Stricken-filled, ensnares the girls en route through the city. Warlords and gangs of survivors–constantly battling–don’t tolerate interlopers, however innocent. The girls find a quasi-welcoming group with a couple age-appropriate love interests and almost consider settling down before full out war erupts . . .
Like most zombie tales, this story isn’t about the zombies. The plot drifts to the horrors of the un-infected and the power grabs in the wake of anarchy. With female, teenaged protagonists, the potential risks are great and the rewards slim, but through love, trust, and grit, the sisters pull from what they’ve learned and adapt to an increasingly harrowing situation.
I received my copy of this novel directly from the author after previously reviewing his thoroughly enjoyable fantasy heist novel, Starwatch, which deservedly made my Best Reads of 2015 list.
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