REVIEW & GIVEAWAY by Eryn: Devil’s Wake by Steven Barnes & Tananarive Due – Release Date 7/31 (@Rjbags19 , @AtriaBooks)

What happens when an unprecedented infection sweeps the world, leaving the earth on the brink of the Apocalypse?

But this infection goes far beyond disease. Beyond even the nightmare images of walking dead or flesh-eating ghouls. The infected are turning into creatures unlike anything ever dreamed of . . . more complex, more mysterious, and more deadly.

Trapped in the northwestern United States as winter begins to fall, Terry and Kendra have only one choice: they and their friends must cross a thousand miles of no-man’s-land in a rickety school bus, battling ravenous hordes, human raiders, and their own fears.

In the midst of apocalypse, they find something no one could have anticipated . . . love.

I’ve never been a fan of zombie anything. When Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, or 28 Days Later come on TV, my second reaction (as my first is to roll my eyes) is to grab the remote and find something else to watch. Needless to say, if I cannot stand a movie about zombies, enjoying a book about a zombie apocalypse is a far stretch. Yet, I am pleasantly surprised to report that from the start of Devil’s Wake I was completed enraptured.

Barnes and Due keep the pace of the story fast, giving the reader enough information about characters, but not so much to drown out the storyline. In keeping the story high-speed, you get the sense of how out of control the outbreak of infection can be, how the normalcy of life can change in a millisecond, and how the ones you love can go from sweet caring individuals to bat-shit crazed freaks in the blink of an eye.

Initially we are introduced to Kendra, who lives the stereotypical suburbia life complete with loving parents, a good GPA, and a stable environment. Next the authors jump to Round Meadows Summer Camp, where we meet the next cast of characters: Terry, Piranha, Sonia and the Twins, Darius and Dean. This crew of late teens has been court mandated to act as councilors at a summer camp by the juvenile justice system and each character comes complete with a degree from the school of hard knocks.

Mingled in with the intro to both character sets, we are offered a glimpse of a typical day in the life of these teens accompanied by snippets of details from the outside world, in the form of special TV and radio broadcasts describing the onslaught of riotous, flesh-eating zombie behavior flourishing throughout the major cities along the West Coast. The events that bring Kendra, Terry, Piranha, Sonia and the Twins together are both horrific and heart-breaking, with the Barnes and Due weaving a tale so enthralling that with little imagination the reader can grasp the pure, unadulterated terror, confusion, and will to live it takes to survive during a zombie Armageddon. Their travels in Blue Beauty, the bus from Round Meadows, bring the group through treacherous landscapes filled with Freaks (their nickname for the infected), pirates (non-infected humans who will kill, rape, rob and steal to ensure their own livelihood), and good folks trying to keep sanity in the world, offering a glimmer of hope to Kendra and her delinquent friends.

I did find the book jacket a slightly perplexing with its insinuation that this was in some way a love story. That little nuance, though playing an ever small role, is a bit misleading, and I feel that description might be better tagged for the next installment….and yes…there will be a next installment.

This is a read that I would unquestionably recommend to others, and, though it would not be one that would have take-up real estate on my bookshelf to reread (it really is not that kind of book), I am eager to see what the next segment of the story brings as the troupe of teens make their way through cities overrun by Freaks in hopes of finding a safe haven to call home.

Overall, I give this book a 3.5 (sorry, I am a tough critic). There are certain parts of the story that I found lacking such as the reason behind the zombie outbreak, the nuances between character relationships, and additional character introduction details. With that said, the low points are nothing that would deter me from recommending this series to others looking for an escape into the world of fiction. Barnes and Due have effectively swayed this reader’s opinion of the zombie genre, leaving me hungering for the continuation of Devil’s Wake.

Thanks to the generous folks over at Atria Books (imprint of Simon & Schuster),

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  1. Oooo I SO want to read this!!!

    1. Me too! I am going to have to grab a copy of this one for myself. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the review!

    1. Eryn says:

      Most welcome! I thoroughly enjoyed the read. As I had noted, never a big a zombie fan, but this book had swayed my take on the genre. Well done to you both!

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