For 25 years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can’t remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her off on her personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulted remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.
©2010 Alden Bell (P)2010 Blackstone Audio
“Bell (a pseudonym for Joshua Gaylord, author of Hummingbirds) has created 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.” (Publishers Weekly)
I suspect those who will dislike this book, and the reviewer who panned it, are looking for the typical zombie action story - with loads of gore and action and maybe a bit of medical/scientific explanation of what zombies are... Hasn't that been thoroughly explored and enacted though in loads of other zombie fiction? It is troubling how "zombie" seems to imply all kinds of required stereotypes and expectations that limit what the story can be.
Fortunately, this, like many other great stories featuring zombies, is not a slave to those expecations and stereotypes. It has its share of action and intrigue and mysteries and it is an amazing survival story, but more than that, is a deeply philosophical tale, and a psychological exploration of hope, loneliness, alienation, grief, loss and perserverance. The characters are truly compelling and well explored and developed, and some of the relationships are truly profound. There are no easy, simple, predictable good guys and bad guys, but rather complex human beings in an inconceivable scenario making what htey can of it. It is a very intriguing and intelligent exploration, but at the same times, a very entertaining and fast moving tale. The main character is absolutely amazing.
I was riveted to the story, and think it is a real accomplishment. It moves along very nicely too, is never boring, never gets bogged down, and progresses with purpose toward an amazing resolution. I highly recommend it.
We've been inundated with zombie stories over the past few years, and I've read a lot of derivative, not especially interesting stuff. So I give Alden Bell credit for putting together a well-written story with a couple of fantastic characters. This book sucked me right in, and I enjoyed the heck out of it.
I understand the complaint that the world of this book is not entirely sketched out. Clearly the author didn't set out to write that particular story, though I wish he would have. The story is instead focused on a young girl who has grown up in this zombie infested world and kind of accepts it as her reality. If you want some long, epic book about the end of the world, you can always check out Stephen King's THE STAND or Cronin's THE PASSAGE.
If you've read THE HUNGER GAMES or any of that trilogy and enjoyed it, I would recommend this book to you. The main character reminds me some of that book's heroine. Although fair warning, this is not a YA title and has some graphic, gruesome stuff in it.
This is probably really a four star book in my opinion. But I thought the only other review on here was so wildly off base, I wanted to give it the full five stars and encourage people to check it out. I was pleasantly surprised how good this was and really wished it would have gone on longer.
A GOOD dystopian read, including some of those inhabited by *reconstituted beings*,the zompirepocalypse reads (i.e. I Am Legend, World War Z, The Strain,only book one--) is one of the hardest books to find, in my opinion, and one of the most fun. I loved The Road; Dog Stars will always be my favorite, there's Alas Babylon, Brave New World, Hunger Games, The Handmaid's Tale,...take me away dystopia. But I draw the line pretty sharply between GOOD and HOKEY ( a few hokey limbo-ing under the pole/line occasionally).
This book was suggested to me, I took one look at the cover and muttered to myself, "yeah, sure." But then I scrolled through my library and saw the jacket for Patient Zero, which I liked something awful. We never judge books by their covers....Reapers was a great surprise -- not so much about the *reconstituted* (aka *zombies*) at all, but more of a philosophical survival story western style, with a heart. Young Temple is anything but polished, born into a time that has always known the *meatskins*, danger, survival, and almost self-raised, or feral. Her survivalist nomadic life is interrupted when she saves a lumbering gentle giant that is mentally challenged and unable to speak. The narrator handles these one-sided discussions aimed at the wall of a man with warmth and heart--Temple talks about her own moral judgements, memories, and losses during her brief but difficult life, as the two of them embark on a quest Temple feels honor bound to see to the end. One of the bigger surprises was the quality of writing--really nicely done with some touching insights. Personally, I enjoyed this more than Cronin's Passage books (and it's only 7 hrs. long - and $9 on sale!) *but will refrain from final judgement on that until the series wraps. Whether you are looking for a little diversion before diving into Moby Dick (couldn't pass it up at $9.66), or tired of looking up pictures of cute puppies while you anxiously await the re-release of the expanded World War Z, you just might find this a pleasantly unpleasant book to spend time with. (BTW check out the Tibetan Mastiff puppy!)
I love reading and going on vacation with my family.
I am blown away by this book. I think this is considered YA and I typically have a difficult time with the language and general immaturity of of characters in YA novels, but this book is VERY different. The young protagonist, Temple, is just 15, but has lived on her own for years since zombies attacked her orphanage as a young girl. Temple was born after the world was taken over by Zombies 25 years prior, so this is the only life she knows. Temple has a shocking maturity level for her age, but most of all she retains a surprising sympathy towards the slugs (zombies), even though they have killed loved ones in the past.
This book is not your mindless zombie apocalypse novel, it is full of substance and philosophy-most definitely a worthy read.
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.???
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
It's a zombie novel that isn't really about zombies at all. It's about a girl trying to find a way to live in a world by herself. Or maybe it's about a girl trying to find some meaning in the world in which she finds herself alone?
There was a bit of "right versus wrong" but it was hardly preachy at all (very well done). There was no justification or explanation for the zombies, they just were - and this was believable within the story because it was realistic that Temple would not know the history that led to the world being the way it was.
I think the end was a bit of a let down because I had expected Temple to be something more than she was. Not that the ending was bad, but I had it in my head that Temple was not just human. But anyway...
It was a very thoughtful adventure story, with a female main character (usually these types of novels have male protagonists) who was technically only 16ish but was written maturely enough that it didn't feel at all like a young adult novel. I don't recall any swearing or graphic sex (but it is possible that I am desensitized to both and just didn't notice it being there). The narration was also very good.
34-yr old African IT professional who relies on great audiobooks to get him through boring and repetitive work days. Also while driving!
This book is amazing. It's not so much a zombie book as they are barely in the periphery of the story as it is a story centered around the wonderfully written female character Temple and her journey of survival & self-discovery.
What I loved about Temple was her intelligence despite her lack of any sort of formal education, her fierce nature that has allowed her to thrive in a world where everyday is a struggle to survive, her positive attitude and hard-won wisdom in spite of it all. She's a character that is so well-written as to be completely believable and convincing unlike so many others in other series that are so bad-ass and competent as to be unrealistic. And I loved her for her unyielding sense of morality, her desire to do right by others while being stunned by her ability to see what's really important in life and still discover a measure of beauty in the world regardless of all the death surrounding her.
It was also nice and refreshing to finally see that a good number of good, decent people can exist in a (fictional) post-apocalyptic world as opposed to the over-abundance of looters/bandits/etc depicted in most other books of the same genre that take over the ruined landscape and continuously prey on the handful of decent folk trying to eke out a living.
And finally, the narration. Tai Sammons did a fantastic job by managing to sound both youthful and wise at the same time while voicing Temple as well being able to deliver convincing male performances. She even sung 2 short songs which is a first for me amongst the many audio books that I've listened to and she did a great job at both.
Absolutely. This book felt like poetry. It warmed my soul and chilled my spine.
description and dialog
Bit too southern. Excellent narration with the exception of the main character. If the poisonwood bible made you feel at home you will be ok. If you are from up north it might hurt a little.
I could not put this book down. I had to see if Temple would be ok.
Did you enjoy Hemingway? Do you think Cormac McCarthy is the bomb? Are you a sucker for descriptions that make you forget your surroundings? Do you like the end of the world books with the occasional zombie thrown in to spice things up? Yes? Then this book is for you.
Geeky, photography-loving stitcher. Hobbits, zombies, space cowboys, agents, avengers, & clones are welcome in my post-apocalyptic dystopia.
Bell’s narrative is wonderfully lyrical. He describes the ravaged landscape with a hypnotic merging of beauty and horror. It is a rare thing to want to find the description of a world teeming with living corpses so achingly beautiful, but Bell accomplishes this in spades.
There is a degree of social balance in Bell’s post-zombie-apocalypse not frequently found such stories. Our main characters frequently find people willing to offer selfless assistance. This realism serves to heighten the tension and in no way lessens the horrors we encounter.
And I absolutely LOVE the main character. What a heroine (villain?) Temple reminds me of Hailee Steinfield’s Mattie Ross from True Grit…after Mattie would have progressed so far down a road of loss and revenge that the prospect of personal salvation is no longer visible. Part mindless warrior, part innocent teenager, part mother and protector, Temple is one of those rare characters who defy easy attempts to categorize them. She is a character who isn't sympathetic simply because she is a girl. The author doesn’t spare this “little girl” out of any assumption that her gender makes her either more or less capable…or vulnerable.
After my second experience with this book, I’m convinced it will remain very high in my list of favorites. This book elevates itself out of a simple “zombie” or “apocalypse” genre consideration. It has echoes of McCarthy’s The Road, King’s Dark Tower Series and True Grit.
The scenes with the "Inheritors of the Earth" are as terrifying as anything to be found in horror genres anywhere. Truly (and wonderfully) difficult to read about.
Ms. Sammons made me “see” Temple. She brought out all of the nuances in her character…strengths, weaknesses, doubts, certainties. She nailed Temple’s uneducated, backwoods, long-ago-time accent. Wonderful narration!
I have a lot of questions for Moses Todd and need to know so much more about him. We'd have to make sure he wasn't carrying any weapons though.
"Doggone it, she says. Why do livin' and dyin' always have to be just half an inch apart." A common zombie-apocalypse theme, the definition of living and dying among the survivors in Temple’s world has overlapped to the point of obscurity.
This theme runs over every element of the story. The world is both glorious and damned and the defining line between the two no longer provides any tangible separation. In the same way, Temple struggles with knowing whether she is a good or evil person. How can a person remain good when mere survival requires such inexact savagery? She is in a constant search for a life not filled solely with survival, death and killing, but, believes she is fundamentally incapable in participating in such a life if she found it.
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