Turns out zombie stories can be more than gory 2D character, plot-driven action or parody add-ons to classic tales. Bell has written a story where the living dead are both real and metaphor. If you???re looking for action or parody, you can miss the richness of the metaphors and the mirrors: life and death, male and female, civilized and uncivilized, rule-bound and chaotic, care-giver and cared-for, father and daughter, god and godless.
Temple is a 15 year old girl who cannot remember her parents. She remembers living in an orphanage for awhile, but then it was overrun by zombies. For a long time she lived in the wild with a younger boy who may have been her brother. They lived with a kindly man for a few years until he was bitten by a zombie. Now the younger boy is gone and Temple wanders post-apocalyptic North America with a dignity and morality so often missing in stories of survival and the decay of civilization.
Sadly, for all the good Temple is and does, she thinks herself evil and seeks redemption. Temple is able to take care of herself against the best of enemies with all the skills heroes possess. She still has a vulnerability, a child-like quality, an innocence that caused her to be vulnerable to self-retribution that pained me and invited me to worry for, care for her and feel protective of the zombie slayer.
The richness of this story is not just in contrast to the usual thinness of these stories. It is a stand alone masterpiece that will mostly go unappreciated only because of the genre to which it???s been relegated. Too bad. It???s a rich emotional adventure described by Publishers Weekly as ???an exquisitely bleak tale and an unforgettable heroine whose eye for beauty and aching need for redemption somehow bring wonder into a world full of violence and decay.???
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