I don’t know why I find zombie books so very fascinating, but I really, really do. Sometimes that means I end up reading some pretty awful books, but sometimes it leads me to books like this. Living With The Fall was surprising and thoughtful, and I found it very compelling. Fans of everything from the Rot and Ruin series to Ann Aguirre’s Enclave will enjoy this read, but I also think that if you enjoy dystopians or post-apocalyptic reads like Blood Red Road, you will enjoy this one. I have to say that for under 300 pages, it certainly packs a big punch. This is a more mature read – language and discussion of sexuality (nothing terribly graphic, but, still) – but I think it is going to be one that a wide audience of mature readers can enjoy.
In a dystopian future ravaged by a zombie virus, teenaged Flo dreams of becoming a hunter. Instead, he becomes infected, and while plagued by hunger, he is able to control his urges. Hoping his life can still hold some meaning, Flo agrees to travel with hunters Hulme and Dihr, and he discovers a world unlike anything he imagined.
On the continent, people are struggling to hold back the apocalypse by finding a cure to the disease, and Flo might be the key. But friendships and trust are tested as the trio crosses hostile territory and faces dangers beyond the zombie infestation. In the end, only Flo can decide if he can live with what he’s become.
Living With The Fall is a great read with fully realized characters, a well developed world, and lots of clearly written action. Sure, it has a lot of blood and guts, but that isn’t all this book is about – themes about loyalty, what it means to be human, overcoming bad choices, and self-sacrifice really add a nice layer of depth. Flo is the narrator, and he is an excellent guide to this adventure. He grew up on a farm, so he is practical, independent, and efficient. He is no stranger to accepting the loss of his dreams, but he has a real loyalty to those he considers family, down to his dogs. He is infected early on in the story, and he pushes himself to make sure his family doesn’t have to suffer more than he can help. He isn’t quite like R from Warm Bodies because he retains the ability to speak, a lot of his reasoning, and he can pass fairly easily as a human. It was intriguing to watch him fight the balance between his new instincts and his old self. I particularly enjoyed his insight into the pack mentality of zombies. The secondary characters are just as well drawn. Hulme and Dhir are characters that shift in and out of focus as their true motives and pasts are revealed. I liked the way my perceptions of them changed with Flo’s as the story progressed, and they surprised me again and again. While the author didn’t spend huge swaths of time developing the world in this book, there really was a clear picture of both the setting and the society that ranged from the fairly untouched rural to the rather nasty urban. Finally, I have no idea how the author managed to balance all of this great stuff with all the action. There is serious zombie battle almost all the way through, and it is well written action. Overall, I would highly recommend this to fans of zombie books – good ones are hard to find.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.