Customer Reviews for

Dying to Live: A Novel of Life among the Undead

Average Rating 4.5
( 67 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

This is an intriguing intelligent zombie thriller

Almost one year ago, the dead began to reanimate. The zombie infestation spread and soon few humans are left to choose fight or flight. Jonah Caine, a former English Lit professor, has been alone for most of this time. He prays that he find other humans, but so far h...
Almost one year ago, the dead began to reanimate. The zombie infestation spread and soon few humans are left to choose fight or flight. Jonah Caine, a former English Lit professor, has been alone for most of this time. He prays that he find other humans, but so far has not met anyone except the undead.

Needing food, he enters a dead urban center in which the abandoned jewelry store is stocked but the liquor store has one bottle of bad bourbon left. Jonah knows how dangerous the urban centers are so hr hopes to leave soon. At a convenience store he hits the jackpot with Twinkies and snow ball cakes until zombies attack him. He kills some and flees with the zombies in chase when a man with a bullhorn calls to him. His first human he has mot seen in weeks, perhaps months. They rescue him. Their leader is Jack Lawson who welcomes Jonah into the group staying inside the Museum of Science and History. He meets Doc a former dental hygienist turned medical practitioner and the odd Milton who is different yet obsessed with rebuilding civilization; it is the latter he finds stimulating as they intellectually discuss philosophy.

This is an intriguing intelligent zombie thriller that hooks the audience from the opening when Jonah kills from a tree house. Kim Paffenroth effortlessly intertwines plenty of action with literary commentary and philosophy. Besides obvious names like Jonah and Milton, there are references from the bible, Dante's Inferno and works of the Bard. Yet with all that the story line is loaded with action. However, it is the optimism of Milton contrasted to the grim description of a dead America especially the small Midwest city that keeps the reader's interest in a strong fresh zombie tale.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on September 12, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Seems familiar....

Any zombie fan ever read day by day armegeddon? If not read it because this book is pretty much an exact copy of it and is much better than this pile of rotting crap.

posted by 6408752 on March 29, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2007

    A reviewer

    The world has been taken over by the walking dead, some people call them flesh eating monsters, while the word, Zombie is more commonly used. Only a few living humans are left and they must ban together to repopulate and rebuild what is left of this Hell on Earth. Jonah Caine knows his wife and child have crossed over to the side of the undead, he just prays he does not run across them only to slay their rotting corpses. Living in tree houses for nearly a year and foraging what he can from homes and stores seems to be working. When Jonah finds himself surrounded by the Zombies he fears the worst. Thank heavens someone was looking out for him and was prepared to risk the lives of others in order to save him. Inside the Museum of Science and History was a community of the few survivors, they all opened their arms to Jonah and sooner than expected Jonah became comfortable with them as well. He made a few good friends like Jack, Sarah, Tanya, and the very strange but useful Milton. Milton possessed a gift, a gift that would possibly give everyone a chance at life....once again. When Jonah joins a few of his friends on the search for more living people, they are captured and held hostage by the inmates of the prison. Jonah knows they may not escape, especially when he smells the putrid smell of death walking. Can Jonah escaped with the help of his new friends, or will he die only to be reborn to something so sinister and dark, the devil himself will shy away? Kim Paffenroth entwines the want to live with blood and gore. This book is violent, bloody, and somewhat sickening. A true horror novel at its best. The few main characters could have a little more detail, I easily pictured the grotesque Zombies but I could not conjure up in my mind Jonah's image or Jack's for that matter. There was always excitement happening and not one moment in this novel did the characters let their guards down. Dying To Live is a novel any horror reader would enjoy, and possibly read many times over. So if you're looking for a good novel to read in a haunted house this Halloween or anytime for that matter, then I suggest you get to the nearest bookstore and pick up your copy today...you never know when Zombies will invade the world and time will run out. 4 Hearts

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Intelligent horror

    Dying to Live, both the original and this book, the sequel, are heralded as "the intelligent man's zombie novel" and I can't think of a better description than that.

    The second book picks up twelve years after the first as Zoey, the baby rescued at the end of the first book, prepares to be inducted into life as an adult-in-training. Between Jack, Will (aka Popcorn) and Milton (the other zombie Christ figure) the survivors have branched out quite a bit from their initial encampment in a museum. Now part of a prosperous town, with the zombie threat so far diminished that terror and survival has given way to a ritualistic reverence of the ambulatory dead, Zoey concentrates with precocious skill on the nature of their existence and surviving in a new kind of world.

    As she faces danger from zombies and other humans she slices into the nature of the people around her (dead, living and somewhere between) with a painfully keen intellect. Harder-core horror fans shouldn't be disappointed. Through the commentary on human nature there are fights, gore, moaning undead and more.

    There are also peculiar things happening among the dead, including a pair of zombies who seem to remember their lives before death, and who refuse to be dismissed as mere mindless creatures of hunger. Truman, once a philosophy professor, now a dead man, challenges the town's perceptions of the creatures who destroyed the world with his refusal to eat flesh and his joy of reading.

    And because Paffenroth himself is a shrewd flayer of human behavior, there are not-so-subtle reminders that the walking dead are far less sinister than the living who embrace cruelty and savagery.

    It's very readable, smooth and insightful. Intelligently horrific and outright beautiful in places, it's a must-read for zombie fans looking for something more than a zombie uprising story of a motley crew being picked off one by one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2012

    This is one of the zombie books that is on my list of favs. It w

    This is one of the zombie books that is on my list of favs. It was the
    first zombie book i'd ever read, and i'd say it was a good one to start
    off with. The intro really drew me in. And that is something that a book
    HAS to have. Whoever reads this one should get the second and third
    books as well. "Dying To Live: Life Sentence" (2nd one) AND
    "Dying To Live: Last Rites" (3rd one)

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  • Posted March 10, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    George Romero movies then this is the book for you!!!!!!

    If you enjoy watching George Romero,Resident Evil films then ,,,Kim Paffenroth Trilogy "Dying To Live" is a Must Read. Warning you will get Addicted One of the Best Trilogy I have read .Great Work........ *** Bram Stoker Award ****

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  • Posted August 31, 2011

    Great read

    Absolutely a great read! Not your typical zombie novel though; more of a mixture of a zombie novel and "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". Well worth the read, even for non-zombie fans (if there really is such a person).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2011

    Best of a great series!

    All three of the Dying to Live series are must-read, but Last Rites is by far the best and most character-driven of the three. Truman's character especially is fully fleshed out. Paffenroth is much more character oriented than most zombie fiction authors, so it's really pleasant if you're not into the same old action packed zombie books. There's plenty going on, but Last Rites really gets you thinking. Highly recommended!

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  • Posted April 8, 2011

    Great and Interesting

    A good portion of the Dying to Live series. This book begins where book 2 left off, following Will, Rachel, Truman and Lucy after they've been tossed from their only home.

    This book is written in third person from the perspective of each of the four on the journey.

    The story is about love and hate, fear and understanding... and mostly about sacrifice.

    I missed Truman's journal style and wished for a touch more action. But a really good read all the same.

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

    Human side of a not so human issue

    The book was a good read...fast paced..not too much detail to overwhelm the brain and I have to say the amount of research done in order to portray the Military weaponry was very well done. The romance/human side of always hoping for better and making certain sacrafices is really a key issue here. One question for me remains un-answered though..(I am hoping I just missed the detail) where is the wide wide world of sports did they get the fuel for the helicopter?? Now I am being picky..I would not hesitate to recommend to others and I already have loaned my hardcover to 6 different folks who said they could not put it down. ENJOY!!

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