I decided recently that I would give up SiriusXM in my car and get a KindleUnlimited subscription instead. Best choice ever! I promise to read more than just post apocalyptic zombie fiction, but it is my favorite thing. I thought I’d share a few series that I was able to read with KindleUnlimited in case you’re in the market for a few decaying reads.
Sarah Lyons Fleming is an author you need to check out. She has intertwined her three series but still wrote them in a way that allowed them to be completely independent of each other. Until the World Ends is the first series about Cassie, an artist who escapes New York City with a small group of friends at the beginning of the Borona LX virus (right before the government blows all bridge access into and out of the city). The three books follow her through ups and down and serious growth as a person. Personally, I found Cassie to be a well-rounded character. She was great in many ways, but she had flaws, as did many of the others in her inner circle.
Fleming’s second series is The City series, and it follows Cassie’s brother Eric as well as Sylvie, his unexpected love interest in the zombie outbreak. Eric actually finds a way to enter New York City after the bridges are blown. He’s looking for Cassie, but instead finds a hardy band of survivors who save his life as often as he saves theirs. I loved the way Fleming used the word-of-the-day calendar in this book! Sylvie’s quirk becomes a way to work in new and interesting words to the book without it seeming like Fleming was just showing off her thesaurus skills.
Fleming’s newest series is The Cascadia series. I’ve only gotten to read the first book in the series, and I know there is a tie to Kate, a friend and ally of Eric and Sylvie in The City series, but I haven’t yet gotten to go back and figure out exactly what that tie is. I appreciated a main character who is my age, Rose is approximately 40, with all kinds of chaos in her life when Borona LX hits. The zombies are really only half of her problems though. I cannot wait to read her next book in the series!
Ken Stark is an author I just found, but I can’t put the books down! In the Stage 3 series, we meet Mace, an unsuspecting survivor of the initial infection of a virus that starts in Stage 1 with blindness then progresses to dementia. In State 2, the dementia becomes blind rage, with a loss of the ability to feel pain. Stage 3, the most surprising to the characters in the book, is walking death. Classic zombies at their finest. The books, Stage 3, Stage 3: Alpha, and Stage 3: Bravo have an upcoming addition: Stage 3: Charlie. I can’t wait!
Slow Burn is a massive series, 10 books in all, by Bobby Adair. This series took a different twist with the idea that the zombies are not walking dead. They are victims of a virus that destroys higher brain function but leaves behind the need to eat, mate and hunt. The main character, Zed (fun name in a zombie book), falls victim to the fever, but instead of turning into a mindless killing machine like millions of others, he survives, albeit with physical changes. Despite looking like one of the infected zombies, he’s very much in charge of his faculties and quickly goes through character growth from entitled young adult to capable, brave, selfless and more than a little reckless. Zed and his compatriots, some of whom are like him, and some who escaped the virus altogether, are searching for safety in a world where safety is a fleeting thing. I read this series last summer and I wouldn’t mind a return to Zed’s world, maybe from the viewpoint of another character.
Deirdre Gould’s After the Cure is a very well written, nicely conceived series. Gould’s series starts years after the initial outbreak of a virus that wipes out higher brain function leaving behind mindless killing zombies. These zombies will attack each other if need be, but they also have the ability to function in packs. Instead of framing the story with the moment by moment life and death struggle of most zombie books, we meet Frank and Nella. They are trying to figure out what really happened during the initial outbreak, as they are defending the man who created it in a court of law. Frank and Nella both know the story is off, and they know that something bigger could be coming. The scientist is truly a sociopath who started the outbreak while reserving an even deadlier strain for later. After the Cure is a series that follows Frank and Nella, as well as cured victims of the plague trying to rebuild a sensible society. This society isn’t perfect though. Despite coming through a possible extinction event, the people still manage to have prejudices and divisions in their society that might ultimately do more harm than the virus ever could. Gould did write another book called Before the Cure, and you guessed it, we follow Neil through the beginning days of the outbreak. Days where his days of regular life are numbered by the virus in his system. The writing skill required to go from normal father to struggling survivor, to ravaging zombie and back again was mind blowing. You have to read these books, and I have to sit and wait, and hope she’ll be coming out with more soon!
I’ve probably talked about it more than once, but I love zombie books. I think they tap into our deepest fears of death, and what lies after. I’ve heard theories about how they symbolize the poor overtaking the rich, but that’s not it for me. The saddest thing about all of these stories is what might be the most believable. The way man can change with the removal of our basic infrastructure. Take away law and order and people stop caring. Or at least some people. I actually quit watching The Walking Dead when I saw that it was more about fighting other humans than fighting zombies. Maybe that was too realistic. I want to believe that people are good, that they will take care of each other after whatever catastrophe befalls our species, but sometimes I doubt. Sometimes I think that we’ve become a very self-centered society. We are spoiled. We don’t know how to take care of ourselves, let alone our neighbors. Maybe these books are cutting to the quick and we should use them as a reason to make ourselves better. I don’t know. When the zombies come, I hope you’ll want me on your survival team, and I hope you will watch my back while I watch yours.