There’s no gray area with zombies. (Get it? Brains! Clever.) You either love them or loathe them. You’re either gung-ho to watch a horde of the undead tear through a series of burnt-out city streets in search of human flesh, or the very thought makes your skin crawl.
There’s no right answer to the zombie question. But for those of you who love the chaos and carnage of The Walking Dead, I’ve gathered together my favorite zombie-themed novels for your reading pleasure.
Six teens take refuge in the only place left that seems safe: their school. As the world descends into chaos outside, they face their own apocalypse inside. Allegiances shift, fortitude is tested, and the will to go on is stretched to its breaking point. At the center of it all is Sloane, battling the demons of her past as she struggles to confront the horror of the present. I tried to put this book down and simply couldn’t, it’s that fantastic. Summers does a brilliant job of letting her characters, not the zombie-infested setting, drive the story forward, and it works beautifully. There’s plenty of suspense, but it’s not the cheap, “turn around there’s a zombie behind you” kind. It’s the kind that comes from reading about characters that I actually care about, which makes the tension all the more intense. Give yourself uninterrupted time to read this—you won’t sleep, I promise! (Amanda loved this one, too! Read her review here.)
Mary has never felt safe, exactly, but she’s always been comforted by the fence, the boundary between her village and the danger of the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But when the unthinkable happens, Mary is forced to face the threat of the Unconsecrated as she flees from the only home she has ever known. As she and her companions press further and further into the dark unknown, secrets begin to appear that will challenge everything Mary has been raised to believe. Instead of giving us the opening horror of a zombie apocalypse, Ryan inserts us into the aftermath, years after the outbreak that would eventually ravage the world. What we’re left with feels like a dystopian fantasy, with a return to a rural mindset and simple, stoic living. Add a healthy dose of bloodthirsty Unconsecrated slavering to get in, and you’ve got yourself an awesome read! If you’re hooked, check out the rest of the trilogy: The Dead Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places.
If you’re one of those who always asks “how?” while watching/reading your undead entertainment of choice, this one’s for you. Alex has given up on life, when an electromagnetic charge pulses through the atmosphere and changes the world forever. Electronics are wiped out, billions are killed, but—you guessed it—not all of them stay dead. Alone in the woods, Alex isn’t sure she can make it on her own until she meets Tom, ex-military and battling his own past, and Ellie, a little girl left on her own by the flash. Together, the three of them must figure out a way to survive. Bick layers on the questions, giving readers plenty of secrets and conspiracies to puzzle over. Book two, Shadows, hit shelves September 25th.
What other zombie apocalypse books would you add to this list? Post a comment! I’m always happy to make room on my must-read list for some intense, end-of-the-world carnage!