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Book Review:
'Survivors' - Z.A. Recht

ZWN's own media expert and all round celebrazon Kitty Pandemic shares her thoughts on her latest read

If you are a fan of zombie literature, there are a few books you have most certainly read or at least had recommended to you. At some point, you will have the “have you read World War Z?” conversation, which will lead to the “how about Day by Day Armageddon?conversation, which ultimately leads to “well what about The Morningstar Saga?” If you haven’t had that conversation yet, we need to have it now.

The latter two books have undergone a tremendous amount of comparison. Fans backing one or the other claiming it is the ultimate telling (besides Brooks’ masterpiece, of course). However, the stories had two different viewpoints with two different approaches. J.L. Bourne gave us a diary of one AWOL military man in DBDA; and Z.A. Recht gave us a narrative following multiple groups of survivors, moving to a common goal. The second book by Recht, Thunder And Ashes, was just as intense as the first, Plague of the Dead. Bourne’s sequel, however, left a great deal to be desired. (I refuse to praise it just because of the first stories brilliance. This was such a disappointment - Admit it.)

With two successful, gripping books under his belt, fans were obsessed with Recht. His untimely death left us fearing that we would never have closure to the masterful tale he had woven with General Sherman, Captain Harris, Kreuger, Brewster, Stiles, Agent Mason and Agent Sawyer, the town of Abraham, Dr. Anna Demilo and many others, including the Lutz brothers and their band of Raiders. I dreamt of these people. I believed they were real. I would randomly recall part of the story and have to remind myself it was just that, a story. A very well told, vividly captivating story…

Rumors eventually surfaced that Z.A. left notes, an unfinished third book. I scoured the web hoping it was true finding the story was to be finished… with help from a ghostwriter. It was enough for me. I needed to know; would they find a cure? Would everyone make it to Omaha? Would Sawyer come back for Mason? After a very long and much anticipated wait, the third installment was released: Survivors.

What I liked: This book gave me the closure I needed. It revealed the destiny of each survivor. Answered the questions that had been lingering for years. Since it had been so long since I read the first two, there was a welcomed recap of each character as they were reintroduced. With so many people involved this served as a needed refresher and soon all the original attachment came back.

After, you catch up with all the important parties the story unfolds to a very climactic and intense ending. The last third of this book was impossible to put down! Also, incredibly unpredictable!

What made me say “meh:” I thought the story was a bit flat. Honestly, I don’t know if it was just in my head but I felt like I could tell which was Recht’s original writing and then what was added to complete the story. The outline was phenomenal! Every event leading up to the end was perfect but it felt like there was a lot of filler. There were events described that seemed to lack the Authors particular flare and gift of description. The recaps in the beginning continued throughout with many flashbacks written in. In a way, it really is the perfect way to complete someone else’s masterpiece but lacked the “wow” factor.

Who is this book for: Everyone! Survivalists, Zombie Lovers, Horror lovers, book lovers, moms, dads, children, the monsters under the kids’ beds… Everyone! Of course, reading the first two is a must. It’s an excellent story and it’s not too gory.

Who should wait this one out: No one. But don’t read it until you are caught up with the other two…

Recommended: Yes, absolutely! I think it is essential to complete the Morningstar Strain Saga and learn how it ends. You cannot be an aficionado otherwise.

Overall: Given the unfortunate circumstances, a lot went in to this book to maintain Recht’s legacy. This book has earned 4 brainy brains and an undead heart (4 ½ stars). Not to mention the heart of the zombie community. Thanks for the last scare Zach.

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