I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.After Life Lessons by L.C. Spoering, Laila Blake
Published by Lilt Literary on Expected publication: April 8th 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, zombie
Pages: 80k words
Hulking shadows emerge out of the chaotic flurries of the blizzard. Something is dying, and so they come, like vultures.
After months of struggling south to escape the zombie-infested remains of New York, a snowstorm traps 23-year old artist, Emily, and her son in an abandoned gas station. Starving and desperate, they encounter Aaron, an Army medic on a mission of his own, who offers them a ride to ease the journey.
The road is a long and dangerous place to travel, and every day brings a new threat. But fear and adrenaline also drive the two closer together; they find laughter and a budding attraction that starts to thaw at their numb and deadened feelings. And that’s when the pain really starts to hit, when places long thought lost prickle back to life. Eventually, they will have to fight not just for survival, but for a future together, or their broken world will swallow them whole.
This novel contains language some might find offensive, some gore and situations of a sexual nature. Reader's discretion is advised.
This is one of those books that reminds me why I still love to read about zombies or apocalyptic stories. If it’s done right there can be so much depth not only to the story but also, and here is the most important part, the characters.
And after reading zombie books you get a feel straight away if it’s going to be something that you’re going to like from the get go. For me this book was one where I knew instantly that I was going to like it. It starts and I really didn’t know if Emily and Song were going to make it. They were struggling hard. And sadly that’s what I loved about it. There are too many zombie books out there where the main characters get away too easily and I’m always left wondering exactly why they had so many supplies prior to, or why they decided to keep themselves locked in a bunker… etc. In this one, however, it felt completely real, chillingly so, while Emily searches for shelter, and then hurts her arm when she slips and falls. This is only maybe 5% into the book and my heart was already palpitating!
And it just gets better from there. I could feel her plight from the beginning so when they meet Aaron I’m worried but also hopeful because they really do not have a choice.
This is absolutely fantastic and fans of books and shows like the Walking Dead should fall in love with this and with the writing. Cannot wait to read more from Laila and L.C.
“They are fast…” she exhaled.
Rolling down the highway, Aaron was trying to avoid broken down cars and fallen trees, snow-choked drifts and holes in the road. They were slow, too slow; and the creatures had little trouble keeping up. There was no question of stopping, of course, but he couldn’t accelerate, either.
“It’s like they’re hunting…” he muttered, focus completely on the road. They were nowhere near an established town, not really, so there shouldn’t have been as many as there were. He’d counted five, now, in the last mile, and that meant, logically, there were more he wasn’t seeing. There were always more, always unpredictable. Underestimate them once and you were dead meat.
Emily clenched her hand around her thigh and glanced at Song still sleeping on the backseat. He looked as peaceful, as oblivious as she had been mere minutes ago.
“Maybe it’s because we’re moving or… or making sounds,” she whispered. Aaron couldn’t tell if she was worried about waking her boy, or whether the soft hush was her way of keeping her voice from cracking with fear, but he shook his head, distractedly.
He had to come up with a strategy, some way out of this, but it was high stakes situations like these when his army training broke through and he felt paralyzed, waiting for an order, for someone else to take over and tell him what to do. There was a sense of shame in that, and one he wasn’t eager for her to notice.
“Oh—fuck, no.” Aaron jumped and stepped on the brake pedal. Around a bend, they’d come to a downed tree, large and crushed down by the snow, and the van rolled to a stop in front of it. It had to have fallen sometime during the last storm, as the roots were still caked in soil and snow had frozen in a thick sheet of ice over the trunk.
A dizzying sensation of panic sunk through Emily’s body; she took a rattling breath.
“There’s no way we can move that,” she said still in that small voice, thin but steely.
Guys!!! A zombie giveaway! But honestly it’s too cute for words! A drawing kit, cards, Starbucks, and more! What more could you ask for if a zombipocalypse hit?
L.C. and Laila met in 2010 on an online forum and have been inseparable ever since. Having supported each other in their individual writing projects for years, they finally decided to work more closely together in a cross-continental cooperative writing partnership. Together, they host the podcast Lilt and started their micropublishing venture Lilt Literary in 2013.
L.C. (generally known as Lorrie) lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, kids, and too many pets. Laila is a nerdy German translator, living in Cologne with her kitten and a lot of sparkly lights.