Rhiannon Frater's As the World Dies trilogy is an Internet sensation. The first two books, The First Days and Fighting to Survive, have won the Dead Letter Award for Best Novel from Mail Order Zombie. The First Days was named one of the Best Zombie Books of the Decade by the Harrisburg Book Examiner. And AmericanHorrorBlog calls Rhiannon Frater "a writer to watch".
The morning that the world ends, Katie is getting ready for court and housewife Jenni is taking care of her family. Less than two hours later, they are fleeing for their lives from a zombie horde. Thrown together by circumstance, Jenni and Katie become a powerful zombie-killing partnership, mowing down zombies as they rescue Jenni's stepson, Jason, from an infected campground. They find sanctuary in a tiny, roughly fortified Texas town. There Jenni and Katie find they are both attracted to Travis, leader of the survivors; and the refugees must slaughter people they know, who have returned in zombie form.
Fast-paced and exciting, filled with characters who grab your heart, The First Days: As the World Dies is the beginning of a frightening trilogy.
©2008, 2011 Rhiannon Frater (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"One of the few zombie novels fueled by the power of feminine protagonists in an apocalyptic world gone wrong." (Harrisburg Book Examiner)
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)
The names of the first two characters starts the story off confusingly - Katie and Jenny - and it went downhill from there. And I'm not convinced the author kept the characters straight either: it felt like sometimes Jenny was the hysterical useless twit, and at others it was Katie. Unless both women were supposed to be hysterical twits?? perhaps...
Jenny is an abused wife, but this felt like a feminism 101 version of spousal abuse. Jenny recollects how she was planning to leave her hubby, then a few pages later, she goes on about what a terrible wife and mother she was, and how much she needed a "strong" person (aka Katie) to follow. It's like the author read a book about how abused women behaved, and tried to incorporate this into the book. Including a moment where Jenny was going to "pay back" Katie by offering her sex. It didn't feel real - especially since I'm pretty sure women don't turn lesbian in a matter of a few hours.
And Katie says when offered the opportunity to join an armed group: "I think we're better off on our own"??? are you nuts? Yeah, sure... a couple of people against the world - it's even irrelevant that they are both women... nobody wants to face a zombie apocalypse with just one other person at their back. (Of course, the next day, they're all gung-ho to join a group...the reader is not told what stimulated this sudden change of mind.)
Then when they finally find a place where they think they'll settle down to stay (the author - I mean Katie - tells us directly that they want to stay here)... all of a sudden Katie (a lesbian) realizes that she has felt a connection and "feeling that they have a future together" with a man she met 30 seconds ago. Err... I'm not clear if this is meant to show that lesbians turn straight when necessary, or...
It is one of the more poorly plotted (two women take a road trip through the zombie horde, then they take another one), stereotyped (lesbian and abused wife), and repetitive (enter building, fight zombie, run to truck, run over zombie, rinse and repeat) zombie books I've read. I decline to read any more in this series.
Try Mark Tufo's zombie books if you want this type of story with better plotting and characters who act more like normal people would. Or Grant's Deadline series if you like more conspiratorial zombies. Or the Day by Day Armageddon series for a journal style one, or the Undead Situation for a one-off zombie book... they're all better written.
I love a good Zombie story / end of the world. This is OK but I think it's really geared towards young women not a guy in his 30's... I like story's that talk about tactics, food supply problems, society falling apart... This one breezes over most of the things I like and tends to focus on the emotions of the two young women and how the strong hard working guys look....
I think this book would be enjoyed by pre-teens or teenage girls as the authors writing has a "juvenile" tone. Definitely not worth listening to unless you enjoy banal conversations about hooking up with "hot" construction workers while zombies moan in the background. The author tries to show the emotional struggle of one of the main characters between staying faithful to her now dead wife or hooking up with the hot guy she's just met a couple of weeks ago and it falls flat. The other female character constantly goes between clutching at her female friend for comfort, to jealous cow and then to zombie killing b*tch in an unrealistic manor.
I enjoy post-apocalypse novels of all types (nuclear, zombie, disease etc) so no this book didn't turn me off the genre as a whole but I certainly will read a few more reviews before buying again. If you're looking for some good post-apocalypse novels try "Cell" (kind zombie-esque), "The Road", "Swan Song", "The Stand", "The Hunger Games Trilogy", "The Long Walk", or "The Children of Men".
The only redeeming quality is the general premise of the story and that's about it.
I can't imagine who would be drawn to this book. The "romance" novel aspects of the book are so off putting it's hard to imagine even the most enthusiastic romance novel fan finding anything to enjoy here.
I've enjoyed broad range on apocalyptic novels, from classics to modern day comedic novels but this book has gone somewhere I'd never imagined and it hurts the genre as far as I'm concerned. It will pass as I blot the book from my memory.
Lackluster and the material is such I doubt anyone could read this with a straight face.
NO! The women as the protagonists and one a lesbian and it all goes horribly off the tracks as it degenerates into a standard romance novel where women just need a good really hunky guy to make things right. The sex in this book is the scariest part.
Choose a genre... Romance or Zombie but for gods sake not both!
"Tiny fingers. So small. So very, very small. The fingers pressed under the front door of her home were so very small. She could not stop staring at those baby fingers straining frantically to reach her as she stood shivering on the porch".
This is the opening to "The First Days" and Ms. Frater had me hooked with them. Personally, I think it's probably the best opening lines I have ever read, and the book lived up to my expectations. It's a fantastic read with an excellent narrator. If you are a zombie fan, or even if you aren't, this is still one of the better books I've heard. I've already downloaded the second book in the series and started listening to it
This audio-book started off so strong, the first few hours were great zombie fiction. A bit formulaic but a story well told and well narrated. Then it crashes into a badly written harlequin romance. We're talking about two women, both widowed and 72 hours into the zombie apocalypse who start competing for the favor of a guy. The level of "shark jumping here" is epic. I can envision the author with the novel 1/2 way done showing it to a friend and saying:
"What do you think?"
"But I don't know how to write romance, and it would make no sense in context..."
"JUST DO IT!"
I love this type of book and I've enjoyed this audio reader in the past, but this was HORRIBLE. gave up a few hours in. WASTE OF A CREDIT
Avid Zombie fan who's starting to listen to more and more Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories. So, my description is apt to change. Dog lover who's known to have cats. LOL C# coder, part-time prepper, B movie fan, AMC watcher, recovering but successful day trader, perpetual student, overjoyed uncle, former adrenaline junkie with a flare for cooking, and lots more. LOL
wow! what a creepy beginning! jenni, dressed only in her bath robe, is half catatonic, standing on her front porch watching little fingers reaching for her under the door. the fingers desperately trying to find purchase of her flesh is her youngest child, who has come back to life after being half eaten by his own father. around jenni, the whole neighborhood is in chaos. jenni is so traumatized by what has just happened that she can't move.
katie, a prosecutor, is on her way to work in her convertible bmw when she's confronted by a mob of the undead running up the street. a kindly old man saves her, and his dying words are, go! go! go!" in her flight from town, katie ends up in jenni's neighborhood and watches in horror as a stunned jenni just stands there as her husband and eldest son break through the bay window to feast on jenni's flesh.
katie, now driving the old man's truck, rescues jenni before her family can eat her, and they flee the neighborhood. the first half of the story revolves around jenni and katie fleeing the city and heading into the country. i liked this part b/c it was tension-filled, seeing if they could stay ahead of the infection that's spiraling out of control.
after jenni and katie rescue jenni's stepson, jason, a hoard of zombies forces them to change their planned route back to their safe house. fleeing the zombie swarm, they find sanctuary in a small town that started fortifying itself as soon as the first zombies attacked.
there's a lot of tension that ebbs and flows and culminates in their final push to safety behind the town's hastily erected walls. the story then takes a breather as jenni, katie, and jason are introduced to the town and people there.
the story slows down and then becomes something a kin to a love story. jenni and katie are both attracted to the same man, travis, who is the de facto leader of the town.
i won't divulge to many details, but i'm not sure if i believe the transformation of jenni's character. then again, i'm not familiar with the psychology of abused women. mix in a zombie apocylapse, and she's more of a teen girl with a serious crush and a penchant for putting her life on the line than a mother and a survivor.
while jenni's displaying adhd, katie's pining away for her wife, lydia, which kind of makes the love triangle interesting since katie's branded a lesbian by the whole town.
there is zombie action in the second half of the story, and it is made more interesting by the fact that some zombies seem to be smart. but the second half of the story is dominated by interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict.
character flaws aside, i enjoyed the story. i know most zombie stories have one dimensional characters so perhaps, i'm a little more critical in my review of the main characters in this story b/c i became attached to them in the very beginning.
even though i liked this story, i don't have a burning desire to download the second book. there are a couple of other books that i've got my eyes on. so if i do run out of zombie stories to listen to, i may come back to the series.
No, Unfortunately I ignored the other reviewers who stated correctly that this has way too much touchy feely girl talk & not enough action... and I'm a touchy feely girl!
Sometimes I get bored with zombie books that are full on military driven, so as a woman I thought this would be perfect for me.
Alas these women are less Thelma & Louise & more Fried Green Tomatoes w/ zombie extras. After losing so much in the first days of a zombie apocalypse, it was hard to believe these characters would be so concerned with hunky men & other frivolities.
Cassandra did a very nice job, but this tale still fell flat.
yes, find better zombie books.
I listened to a sample, and the 'tiny fingers' got me to sink a credit... wish the book had lived up to it's potential. I know this was serialized first on the web, perhaps some editing would've been helpful for the the audio/print version.
I am 36 years old. Married with 3 kids - 2, 4, 13. I work at night, my wife during the day. I don't have time to read, so I listen at work.
I love that Frater was not intimidated to write about child casualties. Also the level of detail through her words made it seem as if she were really there. I did not however like the inconsistencies that existed in the book. Such as the woman in the managers office was alive but completely emaciated and near death from starvation yet the time frame wold not allow for such a scenario. The Z-Day happened only weeks before finding this woman. Details like that and more, distracted me from getting wrapped up in the story.
Yes, but with a disclaimer.
Katie, she seem the most real. Had real fears and real emotions. I took a personal interest in her safety and actions.
No, this book had to much estrogen in it. Too much feeling and not enough fight or flight. I would think in a disaster such as a Zombie Apocalypse, people wouldn't have time for love. Its a matter of survival. Especially when the bulk of this story takes place a few weeks to a couple months after Z-Day. It would be emotional whiplash to get jerked in so many directions. Jenny lost 2 kids and an abusive husband. Where is the time allowed for healing. Not to mention love would be too delicate and leave a person emotionally vulnerable and thereby allowing one the false sense of tranquility thus causing that person to drop their guard. Love strings cause pain because death is always right around the corner.
This book felt too much like a soap opera that just so happens to be about Zombies. Not a Zombie story that just so happens to deal with the prospect of love.
I cant believe somebody reviewed this book who doesnt like zombie stories and bought it by accident - how useless is that? I found this book very well read and easy to listen too. It isnt scary but I never thought it was meant to be. It is a story about people and how they react to an unreal situation and it interested and entertained me enough to buy the second book before I completely finished the first (so I could get right on to the next part of the story).
First a warning: as a new father I found the opening scenes so distressing I almost stopped.
Overall I was interested in the characters development and enjoyed the zombie apocalypse elements of the story. Occasionally I felt like I had accidentally strayed into a mills and boon which I personally found stylistically jarring.
"Not so terribly bad..."
Ok, this is not a bad book but more your mediocre attempt at zombie literature. She writes well enough but unfortunately it is full of clichés, it is very very predictable and of course, the good guys all stay alive. It is entertaining enough but if you're a serious reder of zombie horror, avoid this at all costs. If you like teen supernatural readings like Twilight and such, go for it!
"One of the best stories ever."
This truly is one of the best stories and what read so well .just loved it
"A stunning 'must have' for your zombie collection."
This has all the great ingredients for a zombie story that you start and you can't put down. Great characters, nice gory details and believable.
It doesn't have anything in it that you couldn't imagine happening. No supernatural overtones and no characters are beyond being realistic.
Her narrative is perfect. Her characterization is really good and she portrays the emotion superbly.
I was hooked when I started it. No better reaction than that.
One of the best, and one I'll listen to again.
"Not my cup of tea"
Pretty much everything. I don't know why this is so popular, because this book to me had very few good qualities. Some of the problems, in my opinion:
1) The time scale does not match the character development, and within a couple days the main characters have developed a very close relationship, rescued someone, killed loads of zombies, witnessed several humans-turning-zombie-events, met other survivors and ended up in a colony that somehow has had the time to build a sort of fort. The plot is on speed while the actual time scale is in no rush at all.
2) Emotions. There are far too many of them. Or rather, the author has this need to describe them far too often. Don't get me wrong, if there's something that there is a lot of in a situation like this, it has got to be emotions. And zombies. However... Every little bit of emotion, whether its fear/sadness in some zombie-situation or jealousy/anger/love/lust in social situations, we hear about it. In detail. This kills all the mystery, leaving the characters fairly uninteresting, and their personalities feel constructed. End result: I didn't connect with any of them.
3) And quite frankly, this is a total zombie soap opera. I drew a little map of who wants who, and who doesn't want who at a particular time, but then changes their mind again later, and who tells who their secrets, and who feels this then, but that now, and it goes on and on. Not at all my sorta thing, far too tedious and unnecessary.
4) Although it does have it's moments now and then, most attempts at humour falls flat. For example, there's a scene where three grown men, two of which are the central "dream guys" (characters tend to be either perfect or completely flawed, with an exception in Jenni, who's a complete lunatic - but very pretty, so its okay), are going out to get supplies. Only, they can't get it all, because tampons are embarrassing. No, seriously, they have to bring Katie along, because they are too embarrassed to go out there - in a zombie infested world where you risk your life just by being alive - and pick up a feminine hygiene product. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! This would have been funny if they were joking about it, or if they were genuinly embarrassed, but able to pick it up anyway. But no. These three knuckleheads need to risk one extra life and bring the woman with them. This was so unrealistic to me that I actually got angry. I don't know a single man that's that useless, and Rhiannon Frater puts three of them in this book. How on earth does she justify this?
If this is anything to go by, then no.
No, I haven't, but the narrator was the best part about this book, so I certainly won't mind listening to anything else read by her.
Mostly disappointment and confusion at how this gets good ratings.
(Too) fast-paced action with too many unrealistic scenes and too much noise (emotions and drama) to be anywhere near as good as it could have been.
From the opening lines, this novel had me hooked. It haunts me still. I listened to this book about a year ago, and have read many zombie novels since. This one (and the two more in the trilogy) remain my favourites. World War Z has - justifiably - the reputation of being the best zombie novel, but this trilogy isn't far behind. It has engaging, powerful characters, a good storyline, and an excellent balance of character-driven and action-driven interest. I strongly recommend it if you're a zombie fan. If you're not - yet - start with World War Z. And the reading is excellent.
Story grips you right from the start. You get drawn into the characters straight away, have ordered next book before I've finished this book.
"Its a zombie road trip."
What utter tosh. I thought books about zombies rising up and taking over the earth died out years ago. I bought this title by mistake, but didnt send it back because I assumed it would to be OK. Mistake compounded.
Even the gruesome bits aren't frightening. No terror or suspense.
The narrator has the sexiest voice ever though.
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