UnAlive is hailed as “Night of the Living Dead meets The Book of Eli.” I had to watch Book of Eli after reading UnAlive to see if the comparison fits. I would have to say that UnAlive is better than the comparison to Night of the Living Dead suggests, but The Book of Eli is not a bad comparison.
UnAlive starts with a decent hook; the mysterious character, Cian of the Nomos, the half-lives. It sets the tone that something unusual is going to happen in a way that leaves you curious to learn more.
Something is happening in the world and, at first glance, it seems to be some kind of an attack. General Pitman Grady leads the military investigation. Dr. Kwom Thomas joined them as an unwilling guest brought in at the suggestion of Susan Grey.
Meanwhile Adam Gardner’s world is turned upside down and destroyed during what would have been a peaceful afternoon in the country with his wife and two sons, if not for the sudden withering death of the vegetation around him, followed by the movement of frightening shapes coming from the woods accompanied by terrible noises. But this seems to be a dream and Adam awakes in prison. We soon learn that it is memories, not a dream.
UnAlive jumps between the military’s attempts to find out what is going on in a world that seems to be dying en mass, Dr. Kwon Thomas’ The Two Natures study from his attempts to research the strange mass deaths of flora and fauna and worldwide collapse of life, an old priest, and Adam Gardner’s life in jail and flashbacks to his life before.
When the zombies, dubbed the UnAlive, take over the world, it becomes a race for survival and against extinction of the human species. Meanwhile the Nomos, or half-lives, have their own agenda. I would describe the Nomos as vampires before I would call them zombies.
I was wary when I was asked to review a zombie apocalypse book. I couldn’t help the inward groan. I hoped for the best and was ready for the worst. The obsession with zombies since Walking Dead made its debut has resulted in a saturation of bad zombie everything, and there have been too many bad zombie movies and books before that. For the record, I do not dislike zombies themselves. It’s just that the majority of zombie movies and my few attempts at reading a zombie book have been B movie grade at best - B for B.A.D. I do, however love The Walking Dead. So you have some idea where my standards lie in the zombie world. This book was worth the read.
In UnAlive Kevin J. Fitzgerald gives us a zombie vampire apocalypse with some good descriptions of faces eating themselves from the inside and some scenes that would be Walking Dead worthy if they were adapted to film by a good director and film team. The book has enough suspense to draw you deeper into the story.
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