We probably don’t need to tell you this, but zombies? Oof, so hot right now. World War Z is one of the most-anticipated movies of 2013. The cold-skinned “R” of Warm Bodies has replaced Edward Cullen as everyone’s most favorite undead boyfriend. Even the haughty, grandiose Mr. Darcy has unlaced his cravat and stopped doing the promenade to take up arms against the shambling undead in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. So in honor of everyone’s blazing new enthusiasm for the great American zombie, we’ve picked three new (or new-ish) novels from the genre to add to your shelf.
A lyrical, moving, brutal portrait of a destroyed America through the eyes of a teenage wanderer… or, in other words, not your typical zombie bloodbath! But don’t worry: there’s plenty of gore and gruesome scenery in this short, stunning book by Alden Bell. Told from the perspective of 15-year-old Temple, an orphan of the apocalypse that turned the civilized world into a dangerous wasteland, this is a story of survival, retribution, redemption, and the down-to-the-bone morality that emerges from the ashes after the whole world has burned down.
The only thing better than one zombie novel? Three zombie novels! These hefty books by Mira Grant take place a generation or so after the outbreak of the world-changing Kellis-Amberlee virus, following young heroes Georgia and Shaun Mason as they report the news, poke dead things with a stick, and stumble onto a vast conspiracy that reaches into the highest ranks of the rebuilt U.S. government—all of which adds up to one serious wet dream for lovers of the undead.
Er, wait, that came out wrong.
Anyway! Zombie sex innuendos aside, this trilogy has everything: politics, virology, technology, and, of course, lots and lots of shambling corpses just dying to take a bite out of humanity—all set in a world that feels expertly-drawn and entirely real. Grant definitely did her homework on everything from online journalism to the behavior of viruses in order to write her compelling series.
A practiced master of the character-driven thriller, Jonathan Maberry takes on the undead in this gross, gory romp through a small town whose population is being slowly overtaken by a parasitic plague. A colorful cast ups the drama factor with likeable, fun characters: beautiful, broken, bad-ass policewoman Desdemona Fox; intrepid, wisecracking journalist Billy Trout; good-hearted police chief JT; and even a recently-turned member of the zombie brigade who can’t stop ripping the intestines out of random strangers but at least has the decency to feel bad about it. This book is the most fun of our featured three— compulsively readable, and nicely laced with humorous moments that help break up the monotony of gunshots, destruction, and zombie maulings.
Which zombie tale is next on your list?