Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: The First Days by Rhiannon Frater


The morning that the world ends, Katie is getting ready for court and housewife Jenni is taking care of her family. Less than two hours later, they are fleeing for their lives from a zombie horde.

Thrown together by circumstance, Jenni and Katie become a powerful zombie-killing partnership, mowing down zombies as they rescue Jenni's stepson, Jason, from an infected campground.

They find sanctuary in a tiny, roughly fortified Texas town.  There Jenni and Katie find they are both attracted to Travis, leader of the survivors; and the refugees must slaughter people they know, who have returned in zombie form. 

Fast-paced and exciting, filled with characters who grab your heart, The First Days: As the World Dies is the beginning of a frightening trilogy.

My Thoughts:

 To start off, I love zombies. I have a complete zombie-apocalyspe plan in place, with Plan Bs and Plan Cs to boot (1 involving the apartment building across the street and another involving my brother's ranch). That said, I'm also a bit of a zombie snob. I like my zombies dumb and my protagonists smart. I'm not afraid to stand up (or sit behind my laptop) and say that the last to Romero films I watched (Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead) were absolute crap. Before you all hunt me down, I still agree Romero is the master, but his recent films are no where near as good as his earlier work.

The point of this post is not to criticize Romero, it's to applaud Rhiannon Frater for her great zombie novel, The First Days. It has everything I want in a zombie book: smart protagonists, truly undead zombies and a good story. From the very first scene, this book grabbed me and it still hasn't let go! I loved the first chapter, I can't think of a better way to start a zombie story and I can't wait until I can get the next installment from the library.

Katie and Jenni are great characters and each must deal with the loss of their families, though they do so in very different ways. I've heard a lot of people comment on Frater's use of two female protagonists (and the inclusion of homosexual relationships), but to be honest, there is so much more to this book than that and I feel like focusing on sexuality and feminism is a disservice to this awesome story.

Anyone who loves classic zombie stories will love this book. These zombies aren't sexy (like Bram in Dearly, Departed) or cool and likeable (like Angel in My Life as a White Trash Zombie). No, they are scary, stupid, bite-your-face-off monsters, which is perfect!

There were a couple things that bothered me a little about this book. First, sometimes Frater would use a lot of slang in her writing (not just in dialogue), while I would prefer slightly more polished descriptions, but a lot of that comes down to personal style and preferences. Second, I thought it was unrealistic how long the power and water lasts in this situation. I grew up in a rural area and the power would go out in a thunderstorm, let alone a zombie apocalypse!

On the Cover:

I like the grittiness of the cover and I think it fits to story. But I don't like how muscular Katie's arms are.

Favourite Character:

My favourite character was Katie. I like how competent and in control she was throughout the story, despite the difficulties she encounters.

Rating: 4.5 Hearts

Source: I borrowed this book from the public library.

Where to Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Kindle Store

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Don't Just Take My Word For It: Xpresso Reads


  1. The brunette in the front is Jenni. Those body-builder arms threw me a little, too! But the new cover for the mass market edition is awesome.

    Thanks for the lovely review!

  2. Sweet! I'm glad you liked it so much. I love Rhiannon's gritty writing style.