Monday, December 26, 2011

The First Days by Rhiannon Frater (4/5 stars).

In this new world, violence was the way to redemption.

Title: The First Days (As the World Dies #1)
Author: Frater, Rhiannon
Publisher: CreateSpace
Date Published: 14 August 2008
Genre: Horror
Paperback: 298 pages
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is my first time to read a Zombie book! And I now understand why a lot of people are fascinated by Zombie books. I’ve only watched Zombies in movies before but with reading, the horror is heightened by the emotions, anguish and desperation of the survivors as they lose their loved ones who then turn into monsters, hungry monsters, who would eat them.

What makes the book so riveting is how eerily real the response of those who survived the first day are - a tv reporter commits suicide because her family has perished and couldn’t bear to live with this new reality and she imparts the same advice to others. Some people are in denial, they refuse to believe that Zombies exist despite what they’ve seen with their own eyes, saying that Zombies are sick and they need medicine or that a bite can be cured. Some act stupidly, they don’t care that their actions might endanger other people, becoming part of the problem instead of the solution. Some go insane and I mean hysterical-insane while others go catatonic, their minds stop functioning.

I love that both main characters are women! They are both strong and beautifully dynamic. Rhiannon Frater writes about their inner struggles. Jenni (with an “i”) was a battered wife, she felt imprisoned by her role as wife and mother, and while she grieves for her children who were bitten by her husband, she finds freedom in this new world and comfort with Katie, the woman who saved her. She changes from being the meek housewife in a catatonic state to a gun-slinging badass babe dubbing herself as the “deadly Tinkerbell of death”, enjoying Zombie killing a little too much. 

Katie was a prosecutor and she was on her way to work when she was first attacked by a zombie. She was saved by a priest sacrificing his life for her. When she got home to check on her wife, (she’s a lesbian but later on it is revealed that she’s bisexual) she finds her wife, Lydia, undead. She keeps her grief in check as she tries to get herself, Jenni, and Jack (the priest’s German shepherd pup they later on find) to safety.

Only knowing that they had to get away from the city, the girls were driving aimlessly to the hills when Jenni remembered that her stepson Jason is in camp and even after finding temporary refuge in the home of an old couple who owns a hunting store, they again had to take a road trip to save him. As they pass by a school and a clinic, a horde of Zombies running very fast (when they’re supposed to be slow!) started to chase after them. After saving Jason, they find that the Zombies are still running after them, they were running out of gas and they all had to pee! 

After that AMAZING car chase, they get to Ashley Oaks, where a group of survivors have built a fort, the girls meet Travis, he instantly feels attracted to Katie, who, guilt-stricken with Lydia's death, pretends to only be attracted to other women when she's not, trying to build a wall between them. I was drawn by Katie's character at first, she's a fighter and she seems pulled together but when she meets Travis, she seems to fall apart, overwhelmed with guilt that Lydia is undead and she's starting to feel something for Travis, that she's replacing Lydia. Jenni disappears for a bit but comes back strong, that by the end of the book, she has become my favorite character; she may be loca but she won't hesitate to risk her life for the people she cares about.

My Verdict:
Frater is just so freakin' good! The book has got my heart pumping all the way! I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to try reading something new.