“You are standing on the brink of a new world.
Whether the dead or the living rule will be decided.
I know you think of yourselves just as survivors, but you are more than that.
You are the new Eden.”
– Siege by Rhiannon Frater
The story follows two women, a disillusioned mother named Jenni and an attorney named Katie, in their desperate quest to survive the zombie apocalypse in Texas. As Siege opens, the heroic duo (I’ve described them as Thelma and Louise of the Apocalypse) is safe inside of the fortified town of Ashley Oaks and beginning new lives. Jenni is in a loving relationship with a man named Juan and Katie is married to one of the fort’s leaders, Travis, and pregnant with his child. Even with the threat of death by zombie still imminent, the small community is miraculously surviving and rebuilding itself from the ashes of the old world.
Let’s talk about the positives first. Siege was action-packed, relentlessly paced and filled with eye-popping, jaw-dropping, splatterific sequences that stand up against any zombie novel or series ever written. One particular scene towards the end of the novel was virtually bladder loosening. Enough said. As with the previous two novels, Frater excels at character development – all of the characters in this trilogy were memorable, even the peripheral ones, and that is an impressive feat. And, last but not least, the ending. While it wasn’t exactly surprising, I absolutely loved how Frater ended it – with a glimmer of hope.
But in the grand scheme of things, this is a minor criticism. I loved this trilogy, I loved the heroes and heroines, I loved the emotional intensity, and I loved the way in which Frater used allegory as – forgive the pun – biting social commentary. Anyone who calls themselves a hardcore zombie fiction fan who hasn’t read As the World Dies trilogy simply isn’t a hardcore zombie fiction fan.
Bottom line: a “must read” for anyone who enjoys zombie fiction and/or apocalyptic fiction.
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
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