The Rising by Brian Keene
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The shit has hit the fan and the dead walk the earth! Survivors wander around, staying one step ahead of the undead hordes and struggling to survive. Rogue military units are on patrol, rounding up survivors. Meanwhile, Jim Thurmond is on a trek from West Virginia to New Jersey to find his son...
I'm a zombie fan from way back. My favorite movie as a teenager was the 1990 Night of the Living Dead remake. I have the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack on vinyl (I can smell your brains!) and Zombies!!! the board game. About fifteen years ago, I kind of fell out of zombie fandom since it felt like it had all been done many, many times. However, in recent weeks we've dusted off the Zombies!!! board game and I had the hunger for some zombie fiction. This hit the spot like some nice warm brains.
The cause of the zombie plague this time was the government mucking with the barriers between dimensions. Now, everything with a brain gets reanimated upon death AND retains some of its own knowledge. The zombies in The Rising can use guns and drive as well as munch human flesh. I'm old school: I like my zombies slow, dumb, and numerous. However, these zombies wound up being very scary.
The gore and violence level is pretty high. People get chomped quite a bit and there are headshots galore. The zombie animals are no picnic either. Swarms of zombie birds are nothing to scoff at, not even in a helicopter.
The different viewpoint characters are what set this apart from being a typical zombie killfest. I felt for Jim's plight, even though I was pretty sure he'd get Cujo-ed at the end. Frankie was a born survivor. I was pretty sure she'd live through it. Baker's relationship with Worm was touching so I knew the emotional wringer was coming my way. While I was disgusted by the national guard unit led by Schow, I had no trouble believing in it.
There were a lot of memorable, inventive scenes in this book. The Rising was harder to put down than a shotgun during a zombie apocalypse. I've read a couple Brian Keene books before but now I'm a Brian Keene fan. Five out of five stars.
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