Zombies have been roaming the Earth for twenty five years now. This is the only world that fifteen year old Temple has ever known and she’s learned how to survive in it because it’s either learn fast or die. She travels around looking for safe havens and moves on once those places cease to be safe. On her travels, she encounters a variety of living situations, from groups of people living in skyscrapers to a rich family hiding in their house oblivious of the crumbing world outside. When staying with the people settled in skyscrapers, she is attacked by a man there and is forced to kill him in self defense. His vengeful brother, Moses Todd, vows to kill her and follows her everywhere she goes. As she tries to evade Moses and zombies, can Temple ever find a place she can stay permanently and find peace?
The world that Temple lives in is different than most zombie novels. The initial outbreak is long past and our protagonist has never even seen the world as we know it. Most novels of this sort focus on the start of the zombie apocalypse. The only other book I can think of that is similar is Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, but this book is much more brutal than that. The zombies are a constant threat, but there is also a more unpredictable danger from other people resulting from the breakdown of the government and society in general. In addition, the novel takes place primarily in the south, giving it a distinctive flavor.
The writing in the novel is spot on. It’s descriptive enough to give great detail to the world contained in the novel, but not so much that it bogs down the pacing. There are no quotation marks to denote conversation in the entire book, but the writing is such that it’s clear who is talking and it ends up not distracting from the novel at all. It just gives the book a little different feeling to read than most books for me. I read this book so fast and couldn’t put it down. I was so engaged in the story and the characters that I found myself reading in every moment possible throughout my day.
I really like Temple and her blunt honesty. She may be young, but she can certainly take care of herself. She can’t read because she never had a formal education, but she is one of the smartest protagonists I’ve ever read. In her short life, she has seen a ridiculous amount of violence and it takes a strong person to not just break. Although Temple is tough, her humanity remains intact, as shown with her tolerance and treatment of Maury, a mentally disabled man she meets and takes care of. Her character has many dimensions that are revealed throughout her travels in the novel.
The Reapers Are the Angels is now one of my favorite zombie novels. I like and dislike the ending at the same time. It’s realistic and fits the tone of the book, but I wish it didn’t have to happen. I would recommend this to any zombie lover.
My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins
**This post is for Velvet's September Zombies.**