Author: Rhiannon Frater
Genre: Post-apocalyptic with zombies
Published: November 2011
Publisher: Tor Books
Author Links: Website ♠ Twitter
"The hundred or so survivors in the fortified heart of Ashley Oaks are running out of food and room. The newly-renovated historic hotel seems a perfect sanctuary—if can be emptied of zombies.
"A pitched battle in the banquet room is the start of a harrowing, room-by-room struggle from Reception to roof. The connection between beauty and death has never been more apparent to Katie, Travis, Jenni, and Juan than when they celebrate and mourn in the hotel’s lovely rooftop gazebo.
"As search-and-rescue teams bring food, supplies—and more survivors—back to town, they draw unwanted attention. Bandits see the fort’s citizens as competition for dwindling stocks of unspoiled provisions . . . and as a ready source of women to be used and abused. The bandits’ first few attacks are minor skirmishes, but Travis and Juan, unofficial leaders of the community, know there is worse to come.
"Outside threats are not the fort’s only concern. The mayor’s failing health spurs a battle for power erupts. Travis’s vow never to kill faces its greatest test. A vicious assault on Katie leads to vigilante action that shatters the rule of law. Jenni’s tenuous hold on sanity begins to slip. Juan is accused of murder.
"And beyond the fort’s walls, the zombies shamble, moaning, eyes fastened hungrily upon the living."
~ Author's website
Thoughts: I loved the first book, so we got it for my dad as an audio book. Since I never got around to buying the second book, he talked me into listening to it. While I can go through periods of listening to a lot of audio books, I really do not devour them the way he does. Needless to say, this took me awhile to get through. Unfortunately, my thoughts are not completely coherent and fully formulated. Please hang with me on this one!
I was happy to see continued character developments in our favorite heroines, Katie and Jenni. It was also nice to see how the relationship between Juan and Jenni was progressing and helping her move past her pre-zombies life. However, as a few people have pointed out, I don't really like the descriptions Frater always relies on. For example, Nerit is always seen as being cold, Jenni is always loca, and Katie is the one who likes girls. Granted, it changes for Katie as the story moves along. But, for me, that took a little away from the story. After the first book, I would have liked to see Frater branch out a little more with the characterizations, especially since the audience already had some time to get to know them.
Nerit's involvement in this book was stellar! Since Katie and Jenni first met her on their flight from the city, I have loved the character. It was nice to get some of her back story. Being a sharpshooter for the Israeli army really wets the reader's appetite, and I was not disappointed! However, I would still like to know more.
By biggest beef with the story was the climax and antagonists. While the zombies appear to be the most visible antagonists, Frater talks about a roaming group of bandits in the first book. It was rather obvious that she was bringing them back for an encore in this book. However, it took too longer for the conflict to finally happen. She dealt with getting the residents of the fort into the hotel, politics, and rescuing survivors for various reasons. Some of those reasons were the bandits. They did keep an eye on them and, eventually, lured them out into the open. But the final conflict was over too quickly and ended to easily. Yes, life was lost, but it was wrapped up too nicely.
Frater does think a lot about the logistics of a zombie apocalypse. Even though the bandits did not stay in the picture very long, it made sense that the fort would have to end up dealing with psychopaths. Not everyone is going to think about banding together and trying to survive. I also liked that she was very thoughtful about the fact of internal politics in the fort. People want leadership. (Although that also ended a little too easily for my tastes.) Further, I liked her addition of the crazy, conspiracy chaser. When he asked Nerit out/for sex, I nearly choked!
I enjoyed this book! At first, the narrator got of my nerves, but she grew on me. With the ending, I am glad I had the third one ready to go! There are so many interesting things coming up, and I am curious to see how Frater lets them play them out.
Current Pages: 12,113