Saturday, September 15, 2012
In the small town of Redwood Grove, Ashley Parker contracted a mean case of Walker's Flu right at the beginning of the semester, causing her to miss the first couple weeks of school. Just as she recovered, everyone else seemed to get sick with it. Her classes are mostly empty and few of those that showed up seemed healthy. Everything goes to hell when the dead start walking, which Ashley discovers in the middle of a sexy, romantic picnic in the woods. Her boyfriend panics and leaves her while she is savaged by the dead. Instead of becoming a zombie like most other bitten people, she discovers she is a wild card, remaining immune with some cool perks like increased stamina and keener senses. The government enlists her to join their zombie fighting team with other wild cards in order to prevent the infection from spreading outside of their small town. Let's hope they succeed or the world may be doomed.
This book grabbed me from the first pages with the clear, sarcastic voice of Ashley Parker. Her point of view was a joy to read, peppered with pop culture references and humor. She is a formidable mixture of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Ripley from the Alien films: kickass and strong without giving up her humanity. Dana Fredsti borrows the Buffy concept and makes it her own. Ashley has a romantic picnic with her boyfriend in the forest, a classic slasher film trope where her and her boyfriend would have been eviscerated within the first fifteen minutes of the film. Instead, she gains special powers and is trained to fight the undead hordes in order to save the world. The Ripley element comes in when Ashley accepts that physical survival is all well and good, but emotional and mental survival is just as important. One of my favorite parts of the novel is where Ashley goes with her friend Lili to save Lili's cats and bring them back. Even though it's a really stupid thing to do survival wise, I would probably do the same thing because I would be worried about them and it's my job to take care of them. I like that this novel definitely keeps humanity in an apocalypse setting.
The zombie situation in this novel is different than anything I've read before. The government across the world is aware of the existence of zombies and the periodic outbreaks over the centuries. Whole civilizations have been destroyed to stem the undead plague. Zombie films are either documentations of actual events to warn and prepare people or planted to make zombies a part of pop culture and convince people they are fictional. Our government has provisions and trained military for this, but it's different this time. People in staggering numbers get the flu first until they die and become zombies. The actual zombies are fairly normal types that shamble around and eat people. However, in large droves, they become almost intelligent and have strategy when individually, they are simply brainless. I liked this slight deviation from the normal mythos.
Plague Town is a fun, fast read that combines horror, humor, and zombies in an entertaining and engrossing way. I loved Ashley and the world Dana Fredsti created. The cause of the plague has far reaching consequences worldwide. I can't wait to see what they are in Plague Nation.
My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins