September 30, 2013

Almost-October Zombie Roundup

Hey, everyone else seems to be putting up Halloween decorations and selling fun-size candy and whatnot, even if it's only September still--so I feel perfectly justified in posting my zombie fiction roundup a little early.

This is actually my first attempt at a new way of blogging about books--not the roundup part, but the fact that I'm going to write about a book I'm currently reading, as well as a few others I recently finished. Ultimately, I envision a recurring "now reading" sort of thing. Maybe. I'm not sure yet. We'll see if I have fun this time. (I definitely had fun finding the clip art.)

So, I'm currently reading Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry, which is the fourth and final installment of his Rot & Ruin series. You may remember Book One, Rot & Ruin, was a past Cybils winner for YA Sci-Fi. I was, in fact, a Round 2 judge that year and highly approved of the choice of winner--not because I am so incredibly fond of zombie fiction (actually, I'm not, particularly), but because Maberry wrote a book that was so post-apocalyptic and action-packed and suspenseful and FUN that I couldn't stop reading. The baddies were horrifying, the zombies scary yet pitiable, and the heroes larger-than-life (with their own trading cards! a nice touch)--and, of course, our protagonists were relatable teen characters growing up in a harsh, barely-recognizable world. The primary narrator, Benny Imura, is half Asian, a multicultural touch I appreciated. And girls get to kick some serious zombie ass.

I seem to be nearing the climactic final action of Book Four, and over the course of the series, the baddies have only gotten worse (somehow), the zombies scarier, and even the so-called good guys have a few dark marks on the soul, as it were. Our main characters--Benny, Nix, Lilah, and so on--have meanwhile also grown: grown up, and grown harder, thanks to the screwed-up world they've inherited. I don't want to go into great detail in case of spoilers, but at the same time things are going from bad to worse, there is also greater cause for hope in this fourth volume.

I am the sort of cynical person who fears that, given such a zombified future, we would all be toast. Not because of any failures in our Zombie Apocalypse Preparations, but because humanity, in many irrevocable ways, truly cannot get our heads out of our asses. We suck. Not necessarily individually, but on average. And so I like that Maberry's series has a cautionary aspect, pointing out in no uncertain terms that we are often our own worst enemies, and if we don't get our heads back out into the sunshine, future generations could inherit a big fat mess.

If you are a big fan of zombie fiction, let me also recommend some other titles I enjoyed: recently I finished the last two books in Carrie Ryan's trilogy that began with The Forest of Hands and Teeth: the second book was The Dead-Tossed Waves and the third was The Dark and Hollow Places. Although I wasn't fond of the love triangle in the first book, the action was great and the world Ryan drew was all too believable and frightening. I think I enjoyed Books 2 and 3 more than the first one. A bonus zombie read: I really liked Cherie Priest's Boneshaker--steampunk AND zombies! Whee!

You can find Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry, The Dead-Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan, and Boneshaker (and its sequels, which I haven't read yet) by Cherie Priest online, or at an independent bookstore near you!


Mari Adkins said...

fire & ash was fantastic!

aquafortis said...

Thanks for leaving a comment, Mari! I just finished it this morning, and I totally agree. I found the ending very satisfying and really liked how all the threads were wrapped up.

Jonathan Maberry said...

Thanks for that lovely, insightful review!

We're now in development for a ROT & RUIN movie and discussing an ongoing comic book as well.

And...who knows, I may choose to revisit that world in a year or two. Anything's possible

aquafortis said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jonathan! I think a comic book would be a fantastic medium for Rot & Ruin. That's all really exciting news, in fact--congrats on the movie!

Mari Adkins said...

John ~~ exciting! :)