Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Favorite Reads - The Zombie Edition

I've been asked over and over again by fans of the AS THE WORLD DIES series to recommend another zombie series just like mine.  Honestly, I don't know of any zombie novels that are in the same vein as ATWD.  I suspect that is why it's popular.

The other common question I am asked is to recommend other zombie books that I like.  Since I've been working on my zombie novels for almost 7 years on and off, I haven't read as many zombie books as people might assume.  I tend not to read in the genre in which I am writing at the moment.  I usually cram my zombie reading into time periods when I'm writing about other kinds of monsters.  But I have read a few books in the genre that I'd like to recommend.


BREATHERS from S.G. Brown was not only funny, but a story with a great plot, sympathetic characters, and a nice dose of social commentary.  It was so clever and well-written, I could completely understand why Hollywood snapped it up so quickly.

I had the pleasure of meeting S.G. Browne at a convention we were both appearing at.  He is a very nice guy and it was a pleasure meeting him.  I was very excited when I got an autographed copy of his novel.

THE ZOMBIE-WILSON DIARIES by Timothy W. Long is just all sorts of wrong.  It's just wrong!  When I read the original online serial, I busted out laughing too many times to count.  When it was later published by a small press, I had fun helping Tim tidy up the book (but not too much..the publisher wanted it to sound like a real diary), and we had a good time giggling over the cute illustrations his daughter did for each chapter.

Timothy Long does a great job making the obscene, macabre, and profane incredibly funny.

Once the zombie action starts in DEAD CITY, it does not stop.  Literally. I remember staying up all night flipping pages as fast as I could.  Our poor hero didn't get a break to take a breath, and neither did I.  I plowed through to the end of the book in record time.  Seriously, the book never lets up.

I met Joe McKinney a few years ago at a local convention in Austin, TX.  It was a great pleasure to meet him and chat about the zombie genre.  He was very encouraging to talk to and he gave me some of the best advice on my writing career I have ever received.

LAKEWOOD MEMORIAL is a return to the slow shambling zombies of the Romero films, but it is fast-paced and full of action.  The story revolves around a single mother, a nurse at the local hospital, and her two kids on the night the zombies rise from their graves.  The kids are home with the sitter since their mom is at work and a good chunk of the story is about the children trying to reach their mother.

Robert Best and I have a playfully adversarial relationship in real life.  I mock his enormous head and he loves to proudly proclaim how much I suck.  But I have to give him kudos for this book. I stayed up a good chunk of the night reading this book in one fell swoop while attending a convention where he was also appearing.  I could not put it down.


THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH is a unique take on the zombie genre.  It takes place a hundred years after the dead took over the world and our young heroine  Mary, lives in a fenced in village controlled by a religious order.  The world building in this novel is incredible and I loved the fenced in pathways and villages that inhabit it.  The idea of walking down a long path with zombies on either side of the fence trying to get to you is just terrifying.  The prose is lyrically beautiful at times, but the zombie action is excellent.  I didn't like the lead character in this book at all, but I loved the book as a whole.  The two sequels are also very good reads, building on the foundation of the first.  The third book in the series, THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES is my favorite of the three.

The author, Carrie Ryan, is one of the first women to write in the genre and she's amazing.

Ann Aguirre is the author of one of my favorite sci-fi book series of all time, the Sirantha Jax series (starts with Grimspace), so when I heard she was writing a dystopian novel with zombies, I was like "WIN!"  This book also takes place long after the zombies have risen after some sort of terrible event and humans have retreated to the world below.  A good chunk of the beginning of the book takes place in the tunnels under a major city as pockets of humans struggle to survive against very fast, very scary zombies.  This is the first book in Aguirre's RAZORLAND series, so it does have that cliffhanger feel to it, but it was definitely a good solid read with lots of action.

Both of these books are Young Adult, but its definitely fare adults can enjoy.

EMPIRE is a very different read, but awesome in every way.  Born online (just like my series) Empire was later acquired by Permuted Press (and later reissued by Simon & Schuster

I'm not going to lie. David Dunwoody is one of my absolute favorite authors.  He's amazing.  Every time I read his work, I wish I had written it.  He's just so good.

The strange thing about this novel is that you don't even need the zombies to make this a great book.  They end up like a bonus to an already awesome premise. Just the idea of a toxic gas rising up out of the ground and killing people is terrifying.  So is the concept of the city being encircled by a wall to keep that gas contained.  Add in a woman looking for her teenage son who has gone into that contaminated city to discover the truth about his father, and you have a killer plot to being with.  Add in zombies and the story just gets epic.

Cherie Priest does a killer job with this novel and I loved the entire premise.  I'm not a big steampunk person, but she really sold me on this world.


This is the second book in the AUTUMN series, but my favorite so far.  The tension, action, and character development are better than the first book.  There are some genuinely unique scenes in this book that gave me the shivers.  The zombies in David Moody's novels are not traditional Romero zombies.  In fact, they don't even eat their victims.  They just really, really, really hate the living.  I like how the humans' greatest enemy is any sound they make, because it will inevitably bring the zombies down on them.

If you don't mind your zombie fare with a twist of something different, this one is for you.

I love this anthology, and not just because I have a short story in it.  I just love the stories in this tome of epic zombiness.  There are some truly unique takes on the zombie genre in this tome.  One or two of the stories gave me nightmares.  This is definitely one of the best compilations of zombie goodness ever.

I have a ton of zombie novels still sitting in a huge stack in my bed room waiting to be read when I'm finally down with the AS THE WORLD DIES series.  I plan to read Jonathan Maberry's DUST AND DECAY very soon.

What are your favorite zombie novels?


  1. Rhiannon, thanks so much, I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your books and i'm always looking for other good reads, i've read a few of those on your list but I'll have to try the rest out.

  2. nice. gotta check these books out

  3. nice gotta check these books out

  4. AWESOME list!! But you already know that I think so! I'm now in desperate need of the Autumn series... and I'm thinking his Hater series looks awesome too!

  5. Thanks for the recommendations. Adding them to my list - I don't know any of them.

    I love browsing and downloading zombie novels on my kindle in the middle of the night. It is how I discovered your books, Rhiannon, and they have been much read and re-read.

    I really enjoyed Bonnie Dee's post-zombie-apolcalypse romances, Dead Country and After the End. I love the way she ends her novels.

    Also, Madeline Roux's Alison Hewitt is Trapped. I guess I especially like zombie novels written by women...

  6. Feed by Mira Grant is a great zombie book. The plot line is politically driven, too, which I liked a lot.


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