Monday, September 26, 2016

The Living Dead Boy

Josh Rondell loves all things zombie and even trains with his group of zombie hunter friends to be prepared when zombies appear. His home life is a bit strained and he gets in trouble for his zombie fascination especially because of his whiny, annoying little brother. One day, riots break out around the country. Josh glimpses some footage on the news and he knows in his gut that it's zombies. He tries to tell his family and friends but they figure it's his imagination going wild and his zombie obsession at work again. At school, all hell breaks loose as zombies attack. Josh takes it upon himself to keep his friends and family safe.

Josh is just a regular kid with a zombie obsession. He fights with his little brother, complains about chores, and plays in a treehouse with his friends. His home situation isn't the best. His father went to war and came back a changed person. He's struggling to find work, leaving his mother to support most of the finances by herself. Josh has many more responsibilities than he used to because his family needs help. Like a typical twelve year old boy, he complains, fights with his brother, and shirks his duties. When the zombie apocalypse hits, he grows up fast. He realizes he has to step up and make hard decisions to protect his family.

I love Rhiannon Frater's As the World Dies series which is targeted more for adults. I was worried that she would reign in the zombie violence too much for a younger audience, but she didn't. Josh's perspective focuses on the difference between being a zombie fan, enjoying zombie stories and the harrowing experience of seeing people you know being turned into zombie or being eaten by zombies. Emergency situations bring out the best and worst in humanity. Josh steps up to save as many as he can, but he sees some people acting deplorably, not saving the weak or vulnerable and only looking out for themselves. Others can't handle reality at all and refuse to accept it, leading to sometimes fatal consequences.

The Living Dead Boy is fast paced and exciting. It's similar in a lot of ways to Sick by Tom Leveen, but faster paced, much more zombie violence, and younger characters. I only had some small criticisms. The title and cover made me thing this would be about a zombie child and it wasn't. Also, the ending felt a little false in that it was too perfect. I hope for this part to be resolved soon since Rhiannon Frater is currently writing the sequel.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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