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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Review: Mortality by Kellie Sheridan

Title: Mortality
Series: The Hitchhiker Strain, Book 1
Author: Kellie Sheridan
Published: March 2013, Patchwork Press
Format: NetGalley ebook, Thank you Patchwork Press!

After surviving a deadly plague outbreak, sixteen-year-old Savannah thought she had lived through the very worst of human history. There was no way to know that the miracle vaccine would put everyone at risk for a fate worse than un-death.

Now, two very different kinds of infected walk the Earth, intent on nothing but feeding and destroying what little remains of civilization. When the inoculated are bitten, infection means watching on in silent horror as self-control disappears and the idea of feasting on loved ones becomes increasingly hard to ignore.

Starving and forced to live inside of the abandoned high school, all Savannah wants is the chance to fight back. When a strange boy arrives with a plan to set everything right, she gets her chance. Meeting Cole changes everything. Mere survival will never be enough.

It’s no secret (I think…) that I like zombies. I like to read about them, watch them on tv, and plan for when they are here. So when I saw this book on NetGalley, I was all like, “Oh hell yeah, let’s check it out.” And what I found was quite a different zombie book than any I’ve read.

It starts out with Savannah. She’s a teen girl, around sixteen years old. The world has become over-run with the zombs and she lives in the local highschool with a couple hundred survivors. Seems like a pretty good set up, to me.  Although I should mention that there isn't much to go on, I just think a building like that would offer a lot as far as a residence for a large group of people.  A couple recon teams are out, and they need supplies, so they send out four teens to get more. Savannah, Alex, Zack, and Pierce (who is only fourteen…) This seemed a little unlikely to me. There is no one else to go out, and they are going to send the only people left to go get medical supplies? As unlikely as this scenario seems to me, I’m still digging on Savannah. She’s young, independent, and family-less. She also has this inner driven need to do something. She’s the perfect heroine for a zombie novel.  I decide right away that I'm on her side.

And then we meet Zarah, who is also a highschool student, but in a different city. She gets rescued from her highscool by her crush, Liam. They take off on his motorcycle, and they are on their own…for a bit anyway. I’m not really sure how I felt about Zarah. I think I liked her. I don’t feel like I really got to know her as well as Savannah. It felt more like her story was prep for the point when the paths of these two girls crossed.  For a large part of the book, I just got annoyed when it switched to Zarah's story from Savannah's.  However – and I will say this – Zarah’s story became much more interesting in the last third of the book.

Overall, there was not a ton of zombie action in this book. I mean it wasn’t page after page of fighting for your life. There were a few fights, but they didn’t really go into much detail. You have the usual decaying zombies, and then you have something a little more like an evolved type of zombie.  They are faster and stronger, and as it goes on you learn more about them and why they are the way they are.  The story seemed more focused on the relationships of a few people, and Savannah’s journey. While this definitely wasn’t my favorite zombie book, it was pretty good overall. There is the colonization of a group of people to deal with, well… a couple groups of people. You have to try and figure out who is good, and who is bad. Or are they all grey? I liked that, that it wasn’t a clean cut issue. The characters were pretty interesting, and I even found myself drawn to some.

This book does offer something I’ve not seen done in a non-comedic fashion – a look at the brain of a zombie. Yep, you get to see the change from the inside out. This is something I thought was superbly done, and worth the price of admission alone. Sure, you’ve seen in done before in books and movies, and it’s usually got some kind of a fun tone to it. But this is different, and it worked great for me. This was the part of the book I couldn't put down, and its more than likely the part I will continue to remember.

Mortality is number one in a series. I’ve not quite made up my mind if I will continue or not. I like Savannah, and I like some of the people she has teamed up with. I love the apocalypse. I’m interested to see where it goes, so I will probably give it a chance.  The writing was smooth, and the author's voice is unique.  If you are into zombies, I say, “Hey, why the hell not? Give it a try.” Maybe it will work for you, maybe it won’t. But it’s worth a shot (and not a double tap!) 

As I'm gathering links for the bottom part of this post, I'm seeing that there is a 0.5 book in the series, before book one.  I'm thinking that might be a good story, something that will give a little background to Savannah and her friends, before they run for supplies.

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