My rating: 5 of 5 stars ★★★★★
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
When a series of massive catastrophes hits Earth, society is flung back into the Dark Ages. Everyone is terrified. Most people are dying. Only a few months ago, Cassie was a silly teenage girl. Now, she has to find a way to survive on her own while running from “Them.”
At the same time, a young man known as “Zombie” lives through the devastatingly fatal plague. When he recovers, he struggles to find his place in the world while grappling with debilitating guilt.
You know those books that you’re not super excited to read, but they have good reviews so you finally pick it up? You start the book sort of grudgingly, expecting something petty, trivial, and dull. This usually happens to me with YA dystopians: Legend, The Selection, and Matched, just to name a few. I was not impressed with any of them.
I expected the same thing from this book.
And that didn’t happen at all. This book is gritty, fast-paced, and suspenseful. I wish I had read it a long time ago.
The summary of this book on Goodreads is really not good; it captures such a tiny part of the book that it’s hardly helpful. Even MY above summary doesn’t cover what this book is fully about.
This book is from the point of view of three main characters: one is a 16 year old girl named Cassie. Another is a teenage boy nicknamed “Zombie” (whose real identity made me say, “What the hecckk?” out loud). And once or twice, it is narrated by the Silencer. All of them have experienced some cruel and ugly things since the destruction of the earth began.
“The first kill would be the hardest, but the next would be easier, and the one after that easier still . . . Cruelty isn’t a personality trait. Cruelty is a habit” (138).
I loved that the author wasn’t afraid to allow the main characters to be dramatically flawed. Zombie is a coward, almost unforgivably so. Cassie is rude and often annoying, especially to the person who is kindest to her. This honesty of flawed main characters was a breath of fresh air to me, in a world of YA fiction where this doesn’t happen often. (The Silencer is, however, perfect and this did not bother me at all…)
I thought about this book when I wasn’t reading, I cared about what happened to the characters, and I really didn’t know where the story was going.
And P.S. For the love of all that’s holy, don’t judge this book by its movie. The movie is a shallow, vapid parody of the book. Even if you’ve seen the movie, read the book. You’ll still be surprised by the story, the characters, and how darn good it is.
And P.S.S. I know that like any popular book, this one is fraught with different opinions. I know people who think it’s over-hyped and filled with annoying issues, while I know other people who love it. I happen to be in the latter group.