by Ilsa J. Bick
The novel is a successful marriage of recent apocalyptic-style novels like Life as We Knew It with Night of the Living Dead. Alex has run away from a terminal brain tumor to the wilderness where she plans to scatter the ashes of her beloved parents before she joins them in death. Skilled at hiking and survival, she embarks on a journey alone. She isn’t alone for long, however, when she encounters other travelers, a sudden excruciating burst of sound, and tragic events that change the entire course of her life. These events, however ironically, may have given her a new chance at prolonged living—that is if she can survive the present. The novel’s plot plows forward through increasing treacherous shortages of food and water, along with dangerous creatures that seem part human, part zombie the likes of which Alex and her new companions never imagined. What begins as a survival story cleverly mutates into a story about new families, new societies, and the sometimes twisted behaviors of those who believe they can form a utopia. Flawed, sometimes irritating characters you hate to love, overwhelming challenges on every corner, and a twist that will leave you begging for a book two, it’s a novel the reader will devour, even if it’s not an entirely new concept.