We couldn’t kill the hungries, so we killed ourselves. That was always our favorite party trick.
Carey’s story of a young girl and a zombie apocalypse is, well, it’s what it is. Carey attempts to do some things that are different and sometimes it works, as with the haunting sequences revolving around zombie who have enough of their subconscious mind left to continue doing rote activities from their lives in a sort of fugue state. There’s a really tense and very creepy sequence involving a female zombie walking in circle pushing a baby carriage and a later encounter in an abandoned hospital. The action is good; there are a couple of very intense action scenes in the second act of the book. But the book can’t get rid of the clichés entirely; there’s the naïve young soldier, the tough but secretly kind old Sergeant, the evil scientist, etc. And the book is definitely too long; the first act is basically a mystery as Carey tries to let us get to know Melanie, the titular girl, without cluing us into exactly what’s going on, but it’s painfully obvious and so that bit drags. And the book has little to no idea how to end, so it kind of . . . well, it’s weird what it does, is all. It’s definitely an anti-climax and is kind of annoying. Carey has a way with stark imagery and high intensity action. But it falls short in the areas of pacing and characterization. Still, better than average at least. 2 ½ stars.
tl;dr – zombie thriller has a few new ideas and energetic action, but it struggles with clichéd characters and poor pacing. 2 ½ stars.