Gena Showalter is one of those authors whose works inspire readers to happily snap into auto-buy. Those fans have been nervously waiting almost a year for this grand finale to her undead fest White Rabbit Chronicles and The Queen of Zombie Hearts doesn't disappoint. In terms of the plot, that means that "Ali" Bell finds no rest, her hopes for an immediate happy-ever-after with sweetheart Cole Holland blown to the winds by more monster attacks, slayings, and surprises. A fitting finale to a reader-pleasing series. (P.S. This Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition contains deleted annotated scenes!)
The Queen of Zombie Hearts (White Rabbit Chronicles Series #3)by Gena Showalter
I thought I had nothing left to give.
I thought wrong.
They started the war.
Now I will end it.Alice “Ali” Bell thinks the worst is behind her. She's ready to take the next step with boyfriend Cole Holland, the leader of the zombie slayers…until Anima Industries, the agency controlling the zombies, launches a sneak attack/p>/p>/p>/p>
I thought I had nothing left to give.
I thought wrong.
They started the war.
Now I will end it.Alice “Ali” Bell thinks the worst is behind her. She's ready to take the next step with boyfriend Cole Holland, the leader of the zombie slayers…until Anima Industries, the agency controlling the zombies, launches a sneak attack, killing four of her friends. It's then she realizes that humans can be more dangerous than monsters…and the worst has only begun.
As secrets that may tear Ali and Cole apart come to light, and more slayers are taken or killed, Ali will fight harder than ever to bring down Anima—even sacrificing her own life for those she loves.Don't miss FIRSTLIFE, book 1 of Gena Showalter's action-packed, romantic and exhilarating new series, the Everlife novels!
"This action-packed, makeout-heavy volume is high on the wry humor....fans of the series will happily cheer on the strong female protagonist and enjoy the tidy ending." -School Library Journal
"Showalter winds up her Alice in Wonderland–based zombie romance trilogy in classic Harlequin style....this final fat volume will delight series fans." -Booklist
"Showalter concludes her White Rabbit Chronicles with this exciting finale that will have you hooked from the first page to the last. You'll cry, laugh and jump for joy as you uncover the final fates of Ali and the slayers." -RT Book Review
Read an Excerpt
"Dude. How about that one?" My best friend, Kat Parker, pointed toward the far corner, to a table occupied by three boys about our age.
One guy was hot enough to melt a polar vortex. One wasn't handsome in the traditional sense, but with his unusual chartreuse eyes, it hardly mattered. The third was amazingly rugged, with a fresh scrape on his cheek and scars on his knuckles.
Well, well. We had finally found a smorgasbord of different flavored man-meat.
"Perfect," I said with a nod.
"I don't know." Reeve Ankh, my other friend, surveyed the boys and chewed on her bottom lip. "I'm getting danger vibes from the one on the right."
The one on the rightKnuckle Scars. Excellent. Her dan-dardanger radarwas working at optimal levels.
In our little trio, she'd always been the voice of reason. Or, as Kat would say, "the voice of shut up and live a little."
My darling Kat meant it in the nicest way possible, of course. She simply had no filter. She always spoke her mind, always stood up for what she believedthat her way was the best wayand lived by the motto I'm On Board the Awesome Train and You Can Hop On or Get Run Over.
Was it any wonder I loved her so much?
"This is stupid, you guys."
The grumble came from Mackenzie Love. Once my archenemy, now one of my favorite pet projects.
Most people were surprised by our sudden friendship, but I'd learned life could change in the blink of an eye.
Everything could change in the blink of an eye.
I accepted, and I rolled.
"Suck it up." Trina Brighton, the last member of our group, kicked Mackenzie under the table. "This was your idea."
"That's right. You asked for our help, and we agreed to give it to you on one condition. That you do what we say, when we say." Grinning her happy-kitten grin, Kat rubbed her hands together. While I had grown to like Mackenzie, she hadn't. But she had softened ish. "This is gonna be fun. For me!"
Hated to admit it, but yeah, it was gonna be fun for me, too.
We were at Choco Loco, a chocolate bar where girls picked up treats and boys picked up girls. Not that I wanted to be picked up.
I'd been going out with the drool-worthy Cole Hollandofficially againfor a little over a month. And, okay, yeah, there was a slight problem with our relationship. In the course of that month, we'd been on give me a second to count themzero dates. We'd had a total of let's see, let's seezero minutes alone. And we'd kissed oh, I don't knowzero times.
Here are things that suck worse:_.
Okay, fine. There are a few things that suck worse. Like the time I was an all-you-can-eat dinner buffet for zombies. The time I battled the worst Z-poisoning in the history of ever. And my personal favorite, the time Anima Industries locked me away, electrocuted me, starved me and studied me like a freaking zoo animal.
Considering all I'd been through, my love life should have been a sparkling diamond in a sea of coal. Or a sea of "Cole." Har har. We had tried to get together, like, plan-everything-down-to-the-last-second tried, but each of our sneak-overs had encountered one teensy-weensy problem.
Her name: Nana.
Seriously, my grandmother had morphed into the Make-Out Police, and okay, okay, I didn't really have to rack my brain to figure out why. One night Cole had saved me from a very painful death, and we'd decided to celebrate. Alone. He'd stolen into my bedroom, and we'd done what we always did. (I refuse to provide the down-and-dirty deets. But it was. Down and dirty. Anyway) She'd heard usthe horror!and had busted in.
We'd still had (most of) our clothes on, but yowza, the position she'd caught us in
Ever since, Nana has been attached to my side. In fact, the only time she detaches is when I'm hanging with my girls, or when I'm prowling the streets, hunting zombies.
Don't get me wrong. I love Nana to pieces. And so does Cole. When the three of us get together, we actually have fun. But I want more. I need more. I'm addicted to Cole's hands and his mouth and oh, Ali-want, his nipple ring. Withdrawals stink!
"What are you waiting for, love buns?" Kat banged her hand on the table. "Did I not make it clear that you don't get a vote in this? That the tribe has spoken? You know what you gotta do, so, do it."
A waiter stepped up to our table before Mackenzie could respond. He set a mousse shooter in front of each of us.
"Um." Reeve frowned. "We didn't order these."
"Compliments of the hounds in the corner." A wink, and the waiter was off.
In unison, my friends and I gazed at our chocolate-addiction enablers. Hot and Chartreuse lifted their own mousse shooters in a toast. Knuckle Scars just stared.
Reminded me of Cole.
Kat stood and called, "My friend MacLovin' will come over and thank you in person just as soon as her heartbeat settles. You totally rocked her"
Mackenzie tugged on her arm, both returning her to her seat and silencing her. "Do you have to be so humiliating?"
As the toasters high-fived, Kat slapped Mackenzie on the shoulder. "What are you complaining about? We came here to find you a date, and now, thanks to me, it's practically mission accomplished. I've set the stage, so all you have to do is walk over there and pick your favorite boy toy. You're welcome."
Mackenzie leaned over and bashed her forehead against the table.
"Why are you acting like such a baby?" Kat gave her another slap. "You're, like, some kind of super ninja warrior who spends her nights catching butterflies and"
"Good glory," I said. "Stop calling it that."
"Seriously." Mackenzie stopped bashing and looked up. "You make us sound like" she shuddered "girls."
Though Kat and Reeve were civilians, not slayers, they knew about the dark, secret world in operation around them. And Kat, well, she now liked to refer to slaying zombies as catching butterflies. She was sweet like that.
"I'm fine with calling it catching butterflies," Trina said.
Mackenzie gaped at Trina.
"What?" Trina shrugged. "I'm confident in my masculinity."
I snorted. Trina might look like she could lift a bus, but her heart was as soft as marshmallows.
"You should talk to the boys and get it over with, Mac." Reeve ran her finger over the rim of her shooter and licked away the chocolate. "Kat looks ready to drag you over there."
"True story," Kat said with a nod. "Just seconds away."
"If she does," Reeve continued, "the last five minutes will become your happy place."
"Fine." A scowling Mackenzie pushed to her feet. "But I'm not going to try to charm them."
"As if you could," Kat said, and Mackenzie's scowl darkened.
"You've got this in the bag." I truly believed that. Mac wouldn't have to use charm. Not with a face like hers.
All of my friends had model-perfect faces. And yet, each was so different.
Kat, with her straight dark hair and hazel eyes, was girl-next-door lovely. Reeve, with her brown waves and doe eyes, was traffic-stopping stunning. Mackenzie, with her black curls and emerald eyes, was child-of-an-angel exquisite. And Trina, with her short spikes and black-rimmed eyes, was punk-rocker cool. I was the oddball, with pale hair and eyes so blue they were freaky.
As Mackenzie trudged closer to the boys, a shadow fell over our table.
Kat squealed with delight and threw herself into the arms of the culprit.
No need to glance over to figure out who had just arrived. Frosty, her on-again, off-again boyfriend.
They had a weird relationship, because even when they were off, they were on. Like, all-over-each-other on. I'd never seen two people more bat-crap crazy for each other.
She peppered his face with kisses. "You came!"
"And you look amazing."
Ha! Such a perfect, confident response. Such a Kat response. I'd have to remember it the next time Cole complimented me.
"I couldn't stay away." Frosty combed his fingers through Kat's hair. "I believe your last text said, and I quote, 'If you aren't here within the next ten minutes, I will probably forget all about you and fall in love with someone else.'"
My girl had such a poetic way with words.
Lucas, as attractive as ever in a polo with the sleeves rolled up to display his dark arms to perfection, stepped out from behind Frosty. He nodded at Trina, peering at her for several seconds beyond polite. A lance of awareness arced between them. Well, well. I'd suspected they were secretly seeing each other, and this just cinched it. Good. They deserved a steamy dose of happiness.
Kat wrapped her fingers around Frosty's wrist and pulled him closer. "I've always believed open lines of communication are the key to making any relationship work. That, and presents. Do you have one for me?"
"Me, too!" Reeve waved her hands expectantly. "Gimme."
Frosty ignored her. As usual, he cared only about his girl. "Shouldn't my exalted presence be present enough? I ditched Cole and Bronx and broke speed records to come snap the spine of anyone who's made a play for you. And since that's surely everyone breathing, I just need you to tell me where you'd like me to start."
My ears perked at the mention of Cole. "Where'd you leave him?"
Of course, Frosty ignored me, too.
"Tatty's Ink," Lucas said. "Bronx is getting Reeve's name inked into his arm. Which, I just remembered, is supposed to be a surprise."
Reeve cooed happily, thrilled with her boyfriend's unexpected gift.
I'd decided to get two new tattoos myself, so why not drive over there now? Cole could hold my hand through the process, and afterward, he'd realize there had never been a more perfect chance for Nana-free time. Two birds, one delectable stone. Afterward, we could do things. I shivered with anticipation.
Knowing it would have been criminal to leave a single drop of my mousse shooter behind, I downed it and licked the rim, then licked again just to be safe. I knew I wasn't over-hyping the dessert when I muttered, "This is the best thing in the entire world."
"Agreed," Reeve said.
Finally, I made the brave decision to step between Frosty and Kat.
Yes, other people had been donkey-punched in the throat for doing such a thing, but I was willing to risk it. I needed my best friend's full attention.
"I'm leaving, and I'm taking Mackenzie with me." Love bug was my ride. "You're not going to have as much fun without me, but I hope you're willing to make the sacrifice."
Kat pursed her lips. "What about this most special of occasions? Girls' day out."
Honestly? "It crashed and burned the second Frosty and Lucas showed up."
"Hey," Frosty said behind me. "I only crash and burn the people who say I crash and burn things."
"True story." Kat blinked up at me. "But that aside, let's cut through the crap and focus on what you're really saying. I have to choose between him and you."
If it would save me from having to argue about leaving?
"Oh. Well, then. I choose you," she said with a sunny smile. "Of course."
Should have seen that coming. As much as she loved Frosty, she loved me. Maybe more. We were sisters of the heart rather than blood, and (almost) always put each other's needs above everyone else's.
"Get lost, Frosty." She made shooing motions over my shoulder. "You can remind me of my affection for you later."
"But, kitten," he said, his tone beseeching. And it was funny, hearing one of the biggest, baddest Z-killers in Birmingham, Alabama, reduced to begging, all because a tiny fluff of nothing had decided not to play with him. "I have a fever, and the only prescription is more cow-kat."
Kat narrowed her eyes at him. "Cow-kat?"
"Dude," Lucas muttered. "Do you want to lose a testicle?"
"Okay," Frosty said, "I'm man enough to admit that might have come out wrong."
I gripped Kat by the shoulders. "You don't have to worry about hurting my feelings. I'm foaming-at-the-mouth eager to see Cole."
"You planning to make out with him?"
"Yes," I admitted, even as my cheeks heated.
"That's so cake. And you'll give me every detail?"
"My new favorite word, meaning so totally beyond amazeballs."
Well, okay, then. Soon, it would be the world's favorite. "If you insist, I'll give you a play-by-play." I knew she would.
She thought for a moment, sighed. "Fine. Go. We'll reschedule."
"What can I say? I'm a giver."
"Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you." I kissed her cheek and raced to Mackenzie's side.
"must be a light switch, because every time I look at you, I'm turned on," Chartreuse was saying.
No. Just no. Pickup lines were never okay. "We've gotta go," I told her.
Chartreuse frowned. "But she just got here."
Relief radiated from Mackenzie. "Sorry, boys. It's been. Yeah." She said no more as she tugged me toward the door.
"Hey!" Reeve called. "No one said 'bye to me."
I waved, saying, "'Bye. We love you!" over my shoulder.
She blew me a kiss.
Trina laughed at something Lucas said, unconcerned by our departure.
Mackenzie and I stepped into the wintry afternoon. The sun was shining but the air was chilled. Shoppers wove in and out of nearby boutiques, each lost in their own little worlds.
"Thank you," Mackenzie said with a shudder. "The only guy I had any interest in never spoke a word to me."
"Let me guess. Mr. Knuckle Scars."
"Yeah. How'd you know?"
"We have similar taste." Proof: we'd both dated Cole. "He would have been my choice, too." And not just for his rugged appeal.
Every slayer in the war against Z's had lost loved ones to bites and battle wounds, and the sorrow and grief tended to build barriers around our hearts. More and more, it became clear that the strong had a better chance of survival; Knuckle Scars had definitely been the strongest of the bunch.
Shockingly enough, Frostywho had lost more than mostwas the exception to my theory. He'd fallen for Kat despite her kidney disease. But I wasn't going to think about her illness and the pain she wasand would beforced to endure. I'd break down and be forced to compartmentalize, shoving the heartbreak into a deep, dark corner of my mind, to be dealt with later.
My compartments were almost full.
I'd told myself I'd stop doing it, stop locking away the hard emotional crap and finally deal with my feelings, but I'd fallen back into the habit and honestly, I wasn't in any hurry to change.
"Where are we going?" Mackenzie settled behind the wheel of her truck. "It's too early for patrol."
Oh, yeah. We had to patrol for zombies this evening. We'd be with Gavin the man-whoreanother one of my pet projects, despite his warped sense of humorand the mostly silent Bronx. Time was limited.
"We're going to Tatty's," I said and explained why.
"I'd advise you to play a little hard to get, but I swear, it doesn't matter what you do. Cole thinks it's the most adorable thing ever. It makes me want to stab you both in the eye."
A few weeks ago, she would have spat those words at me like weapons. Because the moment Cole had displayed an interest in mewhich had been at moment one, thank you very muchshe'd hated me.
My sparkling personality had eventually won her over.
Meet the Author
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over fifty books, including the acclaimed Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, and the White Rabbit Chronicles. She writes sizzling paranormal romance, heartwarming contemporary romance, and unputdownable young adult novels, and lives in Oklahoma City with her family and menagerie of dogs. Visit her at GenaShowalter.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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love the book, it can't be over!!!
I had a big decision to make when I received this book. Did I want to stay up all night devouring every page as I usually do with Gena Showalter’s books or did I want to savor this one and take my time reading it? I decided on the latter since this was the last book in the series. Let me tell you it took lots of discipline for me not to rush through the pages especially during certain scenes when I needed to know immediately if what I just read was right or if there was still some hope to cling to. Ah, HOPE you demon trickster! Ali has survived the death of her parents and little sister, the destruction of her home, kidnapping, torture, and a break up with the smoldering Cole Holland. Evil Zombie Ai is gone for good and finally she’s getting a break. Her and Cole are back together and ready to take the next step in their relationship! YES! Everything is on the bright side of life where unicorns, hot springs and rainbows exist until Anima Industries launches an all out war on the slayers. This time Anima isn’t just looking to get Alison back in their clutches they want to wipe out every single slayer for good and they are willing to do anything including putting innocents at risk. Ali and the rest of the slayers have to pull together to fight for their lives. This time they’ll need to join another group of slayers to win and the costs will be high for everyone. Hearts will be broken, lives lost and shocking secrets revealed. I knew going into the book that there were going to be some punches to my gut but I was still unprepared for the heartbreak and death. Oh my, the lives lost. I can’t even get into it because I don’t want to spoil anything and I don’t want to cry AGAIN! I enjoyed the twists regarding the revelations of Alice’s past and the addition of River and his gang of slayers. More cute guys to drool over! I was enchanted by the story. I was laughing one minute and crying the next. I have so much love for this series, every character, every scene, every bump, twist, heartbreak and bit of happiness. The ending was perfect and I was blubbering when a certain Witness appeared. Cue the boxes of Kleenex and sad music. There are some characters I hope are revisited in future short stories or novellas. I would love to have some in-depth stories involving some of the other couples that came together in this book and please, PLEASE one day revisit our heartbroken boy (you know who I am talking about, won’t say names, spoilers). I really need to know that at some point he finds some peace, some calm, a way to smile and a way to move on happily. I don’t think I will feel completely at ease until I know he’s okay. When it comes to creating characters that you would love to hang out with, characters you become so wrapped up with that you don’t ever want the series to end Gena Showalter is a writing genius. You hear that Gena? I’m declaring you a Genius! Also this Alabama native thanks you for making Birmingham the backdrop of such an amazing story.
Im in love with this series it only took me twi days to finish this book. I was AMAZING!!! I was sucked in to this book the moment that i started it!! I am sad that this is the last book to the series they were so good. This is a really good read i think i might even read them again that's how good they are. I recomend this book for teend an up.
I couldn't put it down. Each page was an unexpected journey. Awesome ending.
I loved the whole series! I think this book did a great job of tying up all the loose ends of the series. It was so captivating, I tried to read it all in one sitting. It seemed like so much was going on and it was fast paced. This was the first series I read by this author and am going to be reading more. She makes the reader feel like they are right there with the characters going on these adventures!
I am truely in love in the way the lay out of this seris is going. I can't wait to read the next book, even though I am highly upset that it is the last book.
This book kept my interest from go.
Alice Bell thinks that the slayers have finally one after the slayers found out about the healing fire, but they were wrong. In a matter of weeks Anima had killed four of her fellow slayer and injured many others. While looking for others she sees the witness that is like looking in a mirror. This witness gives her abilities beyond anyones' thinking processes. When the slayers are surrounded by zombies, Ali does the unthinkable..... She makes them float and then explode, including her fellow zombie slayers. There is one problem though.... She is having a hard time getting a grasp on what's going on. There are traitors in the team of slayers and Ali only has one option to save her friends and hunky boyfriend, Cole..... Surrender herself to Anima. Secrets and lies will be revealed to Ali along the way and many will die. Cole and Ali are getting more together, too! Who will die? Will Anima succeed in what they have planned? This was a great book in all. I loved the romance and I did tear up at parts. This book is full of heartache.... and also HOPE!! This book was a great read with many twists and turns. It makes you want to help the slayers and be with them to rid the world of Anima. I was sitting on the edge of my chair while reading... Very suspenseful.! The only problem I had with this book was the fact that on Amazon, this was marked as teen read.... It is not. This is definitely Young Adult or older. Guardian discretion advised. There is vulgar language and sex-related themes. They do actually have sex, but it isn't very descriptive.
Catching Butterflies Ali Bell has gone through a ton in this series, and it didn't stop in Queen of Zombie Hearts. She's gotten so strong over time that she is a true force to be reckoned with which makes it even better that she's so often taken for granted since she looks like she stepped right out of a children's fairy tale book. This one starts off with an ambush that leads to a full-on war and the slayers are fighting two separate enemies (a horde of soul-eating zombies and the mad scientist group Anima). There are a lot of deaths which get harder with each book since I love every single character in this series. The Blood Soaked Road Text-speak gets annoying sometimes, but thankfully it's not used too much. Gooey Center Finally Cole and Ali have patched things up, but this one is in no way easy on their relationship. Ali finds out one of her relatives is responsible for Cole's mother's death. Much drama ensues. There are a couple of moments where Ali seems like that young girl idealizing love that you want to shake, but she corrects herself after a few chapters which is refreshing. We Won The concepts are unique, the story is very character-driven, and the plot just gets more intriguing. Each book is filled with more new characters to love, a ton of action and sass. Definitely recommended. Originally given 4 1/2 stars at JC's Book Haven.
OMG!!! I love this series more and more with every book. Alice and the slayers are ready for war. This isn't just another battle - only one will come out on top and both side will suffer along the way. This is really a non-stop action packed story that never calms down until it's all over. Zombies and Anima are back with a vengeance and some really imaginative tactics. Alice gets an unexpected blast from her past that really causes some problems - but may be the only way to solve the even bigger problems. Cole and Alice will have to face another landmine in their relationship that threatens to tear them apart. The snarky comments and attitudes are still present and they may be even bigger than they were before as we introduce a whole new slayer crew to stir up the existing dynamics. Warning: You just may cry - it's an emotional roller coaster that never stops. Also, this is a trilogy. Book three wraps up the story very well - but apparently others like myself just wanted more, so there is a fourth. But if you were looking forward to a good ending of the series - it does happen.
I read the entire series, it was amazing. I have to say this is a bittersweet ending. I so wish there was a fourth book coming, but sadly there is not :(
Not like the best series. That would be the Mortal Instruments. You should read the first one. Its name is The City of bones.
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Just beyond words amazing
The Queen of Zombie Hearts is by far the best book in the White Rabbit Chronicles trilogy. I enjoyed all three books, but this one kept me hooked from page one. Showalter does not disappoint, and this book is equal parts romance, action, and emotion. Action packed and full of adventure, this novel will keep you on the edge of your seat from the first page to the very last. The cast of characters is amazing in this final installment. Ali has been a terrific and strong character since the first book, but she learns to embrace her emotions and herself more in this installment. She really grows as a character, and she makes some serious sacrifices. Ali is a great narrator and her perspective is fun to read from. Cole is as swoon-worthy as ever, and he also grows into a much more impressive character. I really like how he's willing to fight for Ali, no matter what. Nana is also a bright spot with her teen slang, and of course the phrase "douche-purse" made a few appearances, which added some humor to some serious and/or steamy situations. Kat is charming as usual, and the new characters that are introduced in this book are also well-developed and personable. The plot is fast-paced and has more twists and turns that a rollercoaster. Some of the surprises I saw coming, but a lot of the things that happened actually shocked me. Showalter's writing is top-notch, and the world-building is well done. The romance between Ali and Cole is sweet with just the right amount of heat, and the friendships between characters is touching. I will admit that I cried toward the ending, and even though some parts are sad, I like that things aren't perfect for everyone. I hate convenient endings because life isn't always convenient or pretty. Things are complicated and messy, and the last chapters of this book really reflect that. Overall, I'd recommend this book and series for people who are looking for something that is different from the normal zombie and/or teen paranormal romance fare. This trilogy has heart and a kick ass leading female, fantastic writing, and a captivating world. What more could a person ask for?
I dont usualy like scary things or creatures but when i gave this series s try i stayed up all night reading them. This series is a must read and if you dont, the zobies will get you!
A wonderful, fast-paced, heartbreaking, entertaining, romantic, and action filled ending to a wonderful series.
Loved it so.
me personally i love it because it not like those regular super nature teen love books. it makes me crave more and want to know what happens next