FicCentral received a free copy of this book from *the author*.
Series: After Life Lessons #1
April 8, 2014
Genre(s): Dystopian (NA)
Hulking shadows emerge out of the chaotic flurries of the blizzard. Something is dying, and so they come, like vultures.
After months of struggling south to escape the zombie-infested remains of New York, a snowstorm traps 23-year old artist, Emily, and her son in an abandoned gas station. Starving and desperate, they encounter Aaron, an Army medic on a mission of his own, who offers them a ride to ease the journey.
The road is a long and dangerous place to travel, and every day brings a new threat. But fear and adrenaline also drive the two closer together; they find laughter and a budding attraction that starts to thaw at their numb and deadened feelings. And that’s when the pain really starts to hit, when places long thought lost prickle back to life. Eventually, they will have to fight not just for survival, but for a future together, or their broken world will swallow them whole.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Emily is living a mother’s worst nightmare. The world she knew is gone, replaced by fear, constant running and hiding, and struggling just to survive. Some sort of plague has taken over, turning so much of the population into fast-moving, violent zombies that those who are left hardly stand a chance. And now her son is sick, in terrible need of medical attention, and the old gas station in which they hide can’t possibly protect or save them.
Luck has been on Aaron’s side. He has a van that runs, supplies from the base where he was stationed, and the mental fortitude to stay ahead of the killing horde. He’s been helping people as he can, but the last thing he expects to find in a deserted gas station is a desperate mother pleading for his help. A medic, he knows the boy needs more than just a few aspirin. And so begins their journey.
This was a captivating story with an absorbing plot. I enjoyed it from the beginning! The characters face many obstacles, and have to overcome not only the basics of survival but the trials and tribulations of getting to know one another under dire circumstances. They are thrown together in a fast and furious manner. And all three characters are dealing with personal struggles and loss, that only starts to come out as things get comfortable.
Song, Emily’s son, is a major part of the story, but I could have done without the constant reminder. While it makes perfect sense that he would be Emily’s number one concern, too much of the story focused on whatever Song was up to, as opposed to what was happening around them and between Emily and Aaron. In some ways, it felt like filler in an otherwise captivating tale.
You know how I hate violence and gore, right? So while the occasional zombie story might catch my attention, I don’t often pick them up and read them. This one, however, struck me as a bit different, featuring a single mother instead of the usual young teens, and a zombie horde that may be the most frightening I’ve read about yet.
The first in a series of books, After Life Lessons may not zip through to a happily ever after (that’s to come in a future book, I’m sure), but it still offers up plenty of entertainment and emotion. The characters have been thrown together in a terribly frightening world, all experiencing profound loss and terrible struggles. They’re relying on each other before they really even know each other, and the relationship that begins to grow is a bright spot in an otherwise dark reality.
For zombie fans, this series looks like it’s going to be a big win, and for those of us who can do without the blood, it’s still an incredibly entertaining read. The characters are refreshingly mature, and while the general premise may be common, the depth of story is a rare find.