Review: As the World Dies by Rhiannon Frater (Series Review)

The First Days by Rhiannon Frater Fighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater Siege by Rhiannon Frater

Katie is driving to work one beautiful day when a dead man jumps into her car and tries to eat her. That same morning, Jenni opens a bedroom door to find her husband devouring their toddler son.

Fate puts Jenni and Katie—total strangers—together in a pickup, fleeing the suddenly zombie-filled streets of the Texas city in which they live. Before the sun has set, they have become more than just friends and allies—they are bonded as tightly as any two people who have been to war together.

During their cross-Texas odyssey to find and rescue Jenni’s oldest son, Jenni discovers the joy of watching a zombie’s head explode when she shoots its brains out. Katie learns that she’s a terrific tactician—and a pretty good shot.

A chance encounter puts them on the road to an isolated, fortified town, besieged by zombies, where fewer than one hundred people cling to the shreds of civilization.

It looks like the end of the world. But Katie and Jenni and many others will do whatever they have to to stay alive. Run, fight, pick each other up when they stumble, fall in love…anything is possible at the end of the world.

(Above summary is for The First Days only.)

I read almost exclusively YA, but sometimes I do read adult fiction and even (rarely) nonfiction. I’ve had the three books in the As the World Dies zombie trilogy for a few months, but I didn’t have any real desire to start reading it until mid-October when The Walking Dead returned for its fourth season. Although I love the show, I had never considered myself a fan of the zombie genre. I’ve seen about two zombie movies and I’ve read some of TWD comics (after starting the show), but I had never read a zombie book before.

I’m so glad I finally broke down and read The First Days! It’s a compelling read that I could barely put down. I was constantly on edge and afraid for the characters, Katie and Jenni. They’re strangers when they meet, fleeing zombies. Heartbreakingly, and like so many of the other characters we’ll meet, each of them has lost her family. Katie’s wife and Jenni’s husband and sons have all been bitten. Jenni does have a stepson who’s away on a school trip, so she and Katie, along with the German Shepherd they pick up, set out to find him.

Almost immediately after finishing The First Days, I started Fighting to Survive. It’s more of the same, yet still interesting and fresh. The group grows as more survivors are rescued, so there are always new characters to get to know, and there’s constant action. There’s even a chapter from the point of view of a dog in this book. I always worry when there are animals in books. It’s not that I’ve been burned too many times, but I’m constantly in fear of the animal dying or even being injured. That’s especially true in a zombie book. You just never know. This chapter was a welcome break from the stress of trying to build a safe haven and a new society for the group.

The final book, Siege, about broke my heart a dozen times. Even more than the two previous books, this is not a safe read. People get bitten. People die. This series is not afraid to kill off your favorite character, or your next favorite character after that, or the next one after that.

Some of the characters in the As the World Dies series are a little too over-the-top stereotypes. The elitist rich people insist on being waited on hand and foot despite ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, the gay male is a sassy hairdresser, the crazy old guy is occasionally more astute than people think, and the rednecks are homophobic bad guys. There’s also insta-love, which is bad enough in YA but I expect more from adults. Then again, they’re all about to die at any moment, so why not? Maybe this is one time it’s excusable and even understandable.

There’s a three volume short story collection spinoff series called As the World Dies: Untold Tales that I have not yet read. I think I’m going to take a break from this world for a little while, but I’ll definitely be back to read them in the near future.

four and a half stars
The First Days Fighting to Survive Siege

Jenna

Comments

  1. It makes me happy to see other people discovering Rhiannon Frater! I read her Pretty When She Dies and was gobsmacked by how dark and true to the vampire gore genre it was. So different to any other vampire book, that doesn’t romanticise it. Lovely review, I can’t wait to read this series.
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