#1 Day by Day Armageddon- J.L. Bourne
An astonishing novel of a highly skilled survivor and his journal entries. The story stars a man that is a pilot in the air force, currently on vacation.
Although this format has a few drawbacks, such as limited perspective and lack of dialog, these weaknesses don’t detract from an excellently scripted story.
Reports keep coming in across the news, that viral outbreaks keep popping up in and around China. Since many sources compare these outbreaks to the SARS virus a few years prior, not much notice is taken. After a month, the outbreaks begin to occur closer to home, and the naval officer begins to go to the store and stock up on supplies. Soon these outbreaks get much worse and he hears sporadic reports of people attacking other people in the U.S. Day by Day Armageddon chronicles his life after society breaks down and zombies begin to walk the Earth.
I enjoyed the realism element that the journal format gave to this book. He doesn’t go through everything that he does each day, rather he goes over plans, what happened during supply outings, and supplies that need to be acquired. Throughout the book the survivor thinks intelligently and realistically. He writes about his fears and through his entries you get a sense of his personality and those that he meets.
There is so much mystery and suspense throughout Day by Day Armageddon. J.L. Bourne really does a good job of creating a world that is filled with horrors and dangers. The description of many of the ghouls paints a clear and concise picture of the nightmare J.L. Bourne has dreamt up.
Day by Day Armageddon is an exhilarating book, that leaves you wanting more. There were parts that my heart was pounding and I couldn’t stop reading. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys zombie thrillers. This is one of the best books the zombie genre has to offer.
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Check out the sequel Day by Day Armageddon: Beyond Exile.
#2 Rot and Ruin ~By Jonathan Maberry
Rot and Ruin takes place 14 years after what is deemed First Night.
First night refers to when the dead began to walk and feast on the living.
Benny Imura, the star of the novel, lives in one of the small villages that have somewhat been rebuilt after the collapse of first night, located in California. The village requires all teenagers, once they turn fifteen, must acquire a job or risk having his or her rations cut in half.
Benny lives with his half-brother Tom, who is a bounty hunter. Bounty hunters are the only people that travel outside of the towns. Their job is to find and silence zombies that relatives or friends have requested to end the zombies suffering.
Benny Imura doesn’t want to follow his brother’s footsteps in apprenticing as a bounty hunter. He believes Tom to be a coward and wants nothing to do with him. After having no luck with any other jobs, Benny unwillingly decides to apprentice with his brother. Through his apprenticeship, Benny is forever changed in his views of his brother and of the outside world. His views on his mentors and those he once respected will be turned upside down.
#3 Patient Zero By Jonathan Malberry
Patient Zero is a fast-paced, exhilarating military/zombie novel. Finally, a solid story that combines biological terrorism and zombies together, delivering a heart pounding adventure.
Starring Joe Ledger, a police detective with his share of gruesome memories, Patient Zero starts off quick and keeps a wild pace until the end. Joe Ledger is recruited into the Department of Military Sciences (DMS), where his team is tasked with finding and stopping a group of terrorists from unleashing a plague that would start a zombie apocalypse. This terrorist organization has a secret high tech lab located in the Middle East, where they are developing the virus.
Patient Zero, by Jonathan Malberry, is everything a zombie thriller should be. Non-stop action and a heart pounding story combines to make a fantastic read. However, if you are looking for a zombie novel with strong character development and compelling back stories, look elsewhere, you will not find it in Patient Zero. What you will find is a kick ass thriller that will leave you wanting more.
#4 The Forest of Hands and Teeth By Carrie Ryan
Carrie Ryan’s zombie book, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, isn’t like the typical post apocalyptic zombie novel.
As most zombie or post apocalyptic novels are about freedom, society without law or boundaries, and looting, The Forest of Hands and Teeth focuses on society’s constraints.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth takes place several generations after a zombie outbreak called the Return and many people don’t believe in life before the return, a time of massive skyscrapers and advanced technologies.
The novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, takes place in a small village, located in a large forest. The novel’s protagonist, Mary, is faced with the repression of a group of Elders called the sisterhood. The Sisterhood is a religious group that controls every part of the village, from birth to death. The village is surrounded by a chain linked fence that separates the living from the dead infested forest. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is about breaking through the barriers of society, love and friendship, and triumphing over overwhelming odds.
#5 Twilight of the Dead by Travis Adkins
Twilight of the Dead is an interesting zombie story. The novels large font, cover art, and short number of pages makes me think it was intended for a younger audience.
All that aside Twilight of the Dead takes place 5 years after a zombie apocalypse. A community that was fortunate enough to have a wall built around it survived and has, through many scavenging runs, become self sufficient. A newcomer that claims to have discovered the cure to the zombie plague arrives and the community must once again face a world ruled by the undead.
It is refreshing to see a women protagonist, Courtney Colvin, for a change. She and a few others is what the book calls black berets. Individuals who have been trained to fight zombies, and have specialized equipment ideal for surviving amongst the dead.
Twilight of the Dead is a character driven novel, which is much appreciated over other stories where the author focuses so much on gore and action that the characters’ suffer for it. None of the characters seem hollow or dull. I did get tired of hearing about all the male characters in Courtney’s life. All of them, excluding her father, have had sexual relations with her. It seemed a little cliché to me.
Read more: Twilight of the Dead
#6 World War Z – An Oral History of the Zombie War By Max Brooks
The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet.
He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time.
World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.
Read more: World War Z – An Oral History of the Zombie War
#7 Dead Again By George Magnum
Dead Again by George Magnum reminded me of an 80’s action flick, full of action but so unrealistic. The plot involves a team of soldiers, who are ranked higher than delta force and officially don’t have a name. They are given a top secret mission to rescue a scientist from a lab near New York.
This story is so unrealistic it was hard to finish. First, the bunker they were at to start their mission was overrun, and nobody saw the zombies until they were eating the soldiers. This seems kind of silly for a military bunker to not have its perimeter secured.
Then the black hawk chopper they are flying in ends up crashing because one of the fuel lines was hit in the firefight back at the bunker. I researched this and black hawks have more than one self sealing fuel tanks.
George Magnum completely lacks any military knowledge throughout the book.
Read more: Dead Again
#8 Dead City By Joe McKinney
Dead City picks up quick and doesn’t let go till the last page.
Dead City begins with hurricanes devastating the Texas mainland. Thousands die followed by devastation. Within hours a plague breaks out from the wreckage and Eddie Hudson finds himself facing civilians that seem unstoppable. Bullets don’t faze them, and there milky white eyes crave for a heart, pumping uninfected blood.
Dead City stars a San Antonia police officer name Eddie Hudson, who is sent out on a call to stop a gang of street brawlers. He soon realizes that these are not ordinary people and that this is not a contained incident. The whole city is teeming with the infected.
Dead City is about Eddie’s quest to save his wife and 6 month old child and get out of the city. Joe McKinney’s novel gives you non-stop, heart thumping action throughout the book.
Read more: Dead City
#9 Apocalypse of the Dead By Joe McKinney
Joe McKinney’s second novel in the dead world series, Apocalypse of the Dead, is an epic tale of human survival in a world torn apart by flesh eating zombies.
Apocalypse of the Dead takes place in the same world as Dead City, but the characters and time are different.
Faced with immeasurable amounts of sluggish, drooling, and biting undead, the book follows four interweaving story lines from all over the United States. In a world where one small scratch can mean a death sentence for anyone, McKinney shoes us what true horror is.
The events of Apocalypse of the Dead take place two years after Dead City. Houston has been walled off and has been declared a quarantine zone. There are innumerable amounts of infected inside the zone.
Those people lucky enough to have survived the initial onslaught, are written off by the government as collateral damage and must fend for themselves. A band of survivors in the quarantine zone escape along with the filovirus.
Read more: Apocalypse of the Dead
#10 Plague of the Dead: The Morningstar Strain Z.A. Recht
Out of the depths of Africa comes a virus, so deadly that it makes Ebola look like the sniffles. First a few random reports, then confirmations of the attacks, followed by massive outbreaks across all of Africa.
Lt. Colonel Anna Demilio of the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID), tries to warn the US and other western powers, about the severity of the virus. Travel restrictions are not placed until it is far too late and the virus has spread to all corners of the globe.
The story switches between General Sherman and his group of soldiers and refugees, and Anna Demilio’s (USAMRIID) party consisting of herself, an NSA agent, and a news anchor. The “carriers”, as the survivors deem, come in two different flavors, sprinters, the ones that were infected but never died, and shamblers, who are killed and reanimate.
Read more: Plague of the Dead: The Morningstar Strain
#11 Thunder and Ashes: The Morningstar Strain by Z.A. Recht
The story continues straight from the first novel Plague of the Dead. Thunder and Ashes splits between Demilio’s group of survivors and Sherman and his company of refugees and military. Both groups are headed for Omaha, Nebraska, and Recht gives you plenty of head busting zombie action along the way.
This book overall was just as good as the first one, but I do have a few minor problems that, if fixed, would have made this book excellent.
First, I love the fast paced writing style of Recht, but when he split between Demilio and Sherman, I just thought that Demilio’s group was a bit boring. I would find myself counting pages to get back to Sherman’s group.
Read more: Thunder and Ashes: The Morningstar Strain
#12 Survivors: The Morningstar Strain Z.A. Recht with Thom Brannan
So the story so far in a nutshell is, Sherman’s group and Demilio’s group have joined forces in Omaha, Nebraska, and the remaining sailors for the destroyer aim to travel to Omaha with a sole survivor of Morningstar.
First, I would like to state that Z.A Recht passed away before he could finish this book. The final novel was finished by Thom Brannan. It is very difficult to finish someone else’s book, let alone trilogy, so I think Brannan did a fine job.
That being said there is definitely a different writing style in this zombie book. Instead of the fast paced, high intensity of the first two, the book Survivors: The Morningstar Strain, was a bit slower. The ending to the novel wasn’t very suspenseful, although it had some action, I wasn’t on the edge of my seat like at times in the first two.
Read more: Survivors: The Morningstar Strain