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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review: 100 Days in Deadland by Rachel Aukes

Title: 100 Days In Deadland
Series: Deadland #1
Author: Rachel Aukes
Published: August 1st 2013 by Surprisingly Adequate Publishing
Format: ebook provided for review

A Journey Through Dante's Inferno with a Shambling Twist...

The world ended on a Thursday.

In one day, the world succumbed to a pestilence that decimated the living. In its place rose a new species: vicious, gruesome, wandering monsters with an insatiable hunger for the living. There is no government, no shelter.

Still in her twenties, Cash has watched her friends die, only to walk again. An office worker with few survival skills, she joins up with Clutch, a grizzled Army veteran with PTSD. Together, they flee the city and struggle through the nine circles of hell, with nothing but Clutch’s military experience and Cash’s determination to live. As they fight to survive in the zombie inferno, they quickly discover that nowhere is safe from the undead… or the living.

This is the beginning after the end.

(100 Days in Deadland is a modern remake of Dante's Inferno, the classic tale on the horrors of hell... zombie apocalypse style!)

I’ve read a lot of zombie books. I love them. What continually surprises me is how they are all so different. You’d think they’d end up the same, but nope – there are countless ways for these stories to go. Rachel Aukes really ups the ante with 100 Days in Deadland.

If you must come into contact with the infected, use extreme caution. Destroying the brain stem is the only known method of killing an infected. Due to lack of blood flow, the brain seems to be their only critical organ. A bullet directly through any other normally vital organ, such as the heart, has proven ineffective. However, they can be incapacitated by decaptiation or removal of limbs, but they will continue to post some risk even incapacitated. 

I wasn’t sure how this book was going to read. I admit it: I’m not very familiar with Dante’s Inferno. Each section of 100 Days in Deadland is titled to match a level of Dante’s Inferno. You get Limbo, Lust, Hunger, Greed, etc. One thing I can tell you, after reading this book, I am much more apt to pick up Dante’s Inferno and see what the hell that’s all about. No pun intended (wink wink). Rachel Aukes not only wrote an action packed horror novel, she did it in an intelligent and interesting way.

This book starts on the day the world as we know it ends. Mia is at work, in what most of us would consider “cubicle Hell”. She ends up killing someone who was trying to eat her, and she manages to get out alive with a coworker. Along the way they meet up with Clutch, who kind of renames Mia as Cash. As it turns out, its an excellent nickname for her.

Cash is a terrific character. In a lot of zombie books I’ve read, the heroine already is badass in fighting and survival. Not so with Cash. In fact, she’s more of a hindrance than a help. But Clutch doesn’t give up on her, even though he threatens to. Cash turns into a warrior, and is not only about killing the “zeds” but also taking care of those she loves. She morphs into this badass woman from a punky goth-like girl.

As for Clutch. I love him. He’s ex-Ranger and tough as nails. He knows how to survive. While he acts like he is hard and cold, the hard cold truth is that he is anything but that. There are times he is a father figure to some characters, and others he is a confidant. Sometimes he is a lover. At all times he is a real man. What I mean is that he is there for his people, he will stick by them through everything, and if need be, he will sacrifice for them. He’s the type of person you want to know – always.

There are other great characters, too. Jase is really something else, and your heart will break for him. Tyler is someone who still rubs me the wrong way, I feel he is a bit of a douche – but he’s a good guy. Even the “bad guys” are so awesomely bad, you hope they get what they deserve.

All in all, I’d say this is a great story. It’s very gruesome at times, but that’s how I like my zombie horror.  It's full of action, drama, and well, zombies.  Cash is a survivor, but Clutch may very well be my favorite. I’m already figuring the second book into my reading schedule. And hey, a little advice: when the world goes to Hell, stay away from the produce!

Award-winning author Rachel Aukes was raised on a farm where she boasted the nearby small town’s largest (and only) comic book collection, and she’s still hooked on stories starring characters with kickassitude. When not writing, Rachel can be found flying old airplanes in the American Midwest with her husband and an incredibly spoiled sixty-pound lap dog. Rachel Aukes also writes science fiction romance and dark fantasy romance under the pen name Berinn Rae. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). 


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