Zombie Month Book Review -- First Days


Title:  First Days: As the World Dies
Author:  Rhiannon Frater
Genre:  Post-apocalyptic
Pages:  Oversize paperback, 331
Published:  2008, 2011
Opening Lines:  "So small.  So very, very small."

"It begins on a peaceful, beautiful morning.  Katie, a prosecutor, is driving to work when a dead man jumps into her car and tries to eat her.  Elsewhere in the city, Jenni, a housewife opens a bedroom door to find her husband devouring their infant son.


"Fate puts Katie outside Jenni's door when the younger woman flees her zombified family.  Fate—and Katie's quick reflexes behind the wheel—see them safely out of the city while most of the living are quickly chased down by the undead.


"The two women begin a cross-Texas odyssey to rescue Jenni's oldest sin and hopefully find safety . . . somewhere . . . Jenni discovers the great joy of watching a zombie's head explode when she shoots its brains out.  Katie learns that her analytical mind is perfect for planning the best attacks and escape routes.


"A small, isolated, fortified town is their only hope.  Fewer than one hundred people have gathered there, clinging to civilization and to hope.  They all know the zombies will come for them.  But until that day, they will live, and love, and maybe even laugh."
~ Jacket copy


Thoughts:  I first ran across this book back in 2008.  I'm not sure if I found it during a casual zombie search of Amazon or if I saw it mentioned somewhere.  One way or the other, I was completely and utterly drawn to this book.  However, for various reasons mostly focusing on forgetfulness, I never ended up buying it.  So, when I decided to host Zombie Month, it was the first book on my list!

First Days follows the story of Jenni and Katie—two women thrown together through unfortunate circumstances.  Katie is a prosecutor and Jenni is a battered housewife.  Both women are from completely different walks of life; however, they find solace and resolve in each others company.  After fleeing the city, they decide to rescue Jenni's remaining son.  Camping up in the National Park, Jenni hopes that he has escaped the dangers of the city.  On the way, the meet Narit, an ex-Israeli sharpshooter, and her husband Ralph at a small hunting store.  The four form a quick bond.  With Ralph and Narit's help, the girls now have a plan—and guns—to rescue Jason.  While everything seems to be going good, the women are chased by a horde of zombies and find they are far away from the safety of the hunting store with a dangerously low fuel line.  Through Ralph, Narit, a small town sheriff, and a CB, the women are led to a safe area in a small town.  Even with such a crazy and action packed beginning, their story has barely started!

Throughout the book, the POV shifts between Jenni, Katie, and sometimes other characters.  This can be problematic for some authors; however, Rhiannon does an amazing job of keeping each voice unique while supporting the integrity of the story.  It also gives the reader a well-rounded view of the zombie situation and the characters.  To me, this really added to the reading experience.

Even though Jenni had her short-comings and desperately needed to get over her victimization at the hands of a abusive husband, it was refreshing to read a novel with strong female leads.  In fact, I found Jenni's abuse was a wonderful vehicle to show character development and the realities of fighting for survival.  Along those lines, I felt that she put a lot of thought into her characters and their reactions to the situation.  The unknown vigilante and the renegades at the end really show that.  Also, the whole controversy surrounding the views of Richie, Shane's response to Katie, and so on goes a long way to show the tenuous nature of their small society.  As Juan said, in-fighting tends to make the zombies win.   

The scenery of the book was amazing!  I never felt bogged down by descriptions.  On the contrary, I felt Rhiannon gave enough details to allow me to form a mental picture.  It was obvious that she knew he way around Texas.  That lends an authority to the novel.  Further, she does an amazing job turning the zombies into background scenery.

My only misgiving about the book is editing.  On the whole, the book has very good editing; however, there are occasional mistypes and sentences to be reworded.  A few times, I had to reread sentences.  It kind of slowed down the reading and broke illusion.  But, as stated above, this was not all the time.

Honestly, this book was worth the wait!  I found myself intentionally slowing down, so I could make the book last longer.  It is action packed, but has a very deep plot.  Rhiannon definitely put a lot of thought into the book.  If you love zombie books, I highly recommend this one!

Stay Tuned for a Guest Post by Rhiannon Frater!

Rating:
Currently: Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Current Pages:
2788
Current Progress:

8/50 books





Sinn

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the great review. I have added this one to my TBR list! :0)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oooh, zombie month? *squee* The First Days looks interesting! Will have to see if I can find an excerpt online and check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @BJ: I think Rhiannon Frater has a expert on her website, so you might want to check it out ^_^

    @Tracy: Yay, you'll have to let me know what you think!!

    ReplyDelete

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    "If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.