Publication year: 2012
Format: ebook, Kindle
Most of the people in the world have succumbed to a virus which makes them always hungry and cannibalistic. As far as Frieda knows, she and her cat Snuggles are the only survivors. She has fortified her apartment, grows vegetables, and raids nearby houses and stores for supplies.
The situation is ironic because all her life Frieda has suffered from a dissociative mental illness. She has trouble with her relationships, has panic attacks, and thinks that she feels everything too strongly. Before the apocalypse, she hurt herself to relieve her mental pain with physical pain. Sometimes she was too depressed to get out of bed. In fact, the day of the virus outbreak, she was depressed and hungover, and called in sick. This may have saved her life.
But now she has to survive and she does her best keep both herself and Snuggles alive. Earlier, she stayed in her apartment because she couldn’t face other people. Now, she regrets that decision but it’s too late.
This is a short book but it feels just the right length for the story. Most of the story is told in present tense and is set in Frieda’s present time, after the zombie apocalypse. A couple of chapters are flash backs to Frieda’s life before the Incident and they bring nice background to her character. These chapters are in the past tense. The actions scenes are intense and the story move along briskly. The zombies can also be interpreted as a metaphor for all of the other humans who treated Frieda badly because of her illness. As a character study, the story is great.
Unfortunately, the zombies and the situation aren’t very original. Frieda calls the zombies the Afflicted and thinks that they are mostly just sick but she has seen them tear healthy people apart and she knows that she has to kill them. The zombies are fast, they groan, want to eat brains, and tend to avoid daylight. The zombie virus is the only science fiction element in the book. The story’s strength is definitely Frieda who has to confront her inner demons in addition to the zombies. She also doesn’t go the usual way of becoming somehow cured or getting some powers to survive.
My review is part of the Waiting for Daybreak Blog tour and the author kindly sent a review copy.