Only Love Survives
Zombie romance. Yeah, I can’t be the only one who has qualms about putting those two words together. Rotting corpses just aren’t that romantic. Being the last hope for humankind, however, with a handsome former-CEO turned zombie outbreak survivor searching for his missing sister definitely has the makings of an intriguing zombie romance.
Megan Fletcher may be the last hope for humanity. At least she thinks she may be, and so after drifting about a bit following the zombie apocalypse, Megan decides to head to Las Vegas, where there are rumors of a community using the Hoover Dam for power, and scientists doing research into a zombie cure. When stocking up on critical supplies (like soap) in an abandoned suburban neighborhood, Megan almost gets herself eaten by a zombie horde trying to save a cat. Luckily Sam Woods happens to be in the area. After a daring rescue-by-SUV off the top of a roof, a run-in with some less than savory (and non-zombie) types, and hearing that Megan is walking to her goal, Sam decides he should be her guide, even though he is worried sick about his sister.
This book is full of interesting moments – when Megan decides she doesn’t need a protector, Sam just picks her up and puts her in his car. Yes, he kidnaps her. And yes, she forgives him. There is also a constant feel of danger, like there is something waiting in the wings to get our couple. The zombies are an ever-looming presence in the back of both characters’ minds, and that translates into how they react to the landscape, to each other, to everything really. It seemed very realistic when you hear about how Megan scopes out a store, marking the possible exits, before she starts looking for supplies, or how Sam has set himself up a trunk-pantry. And there are more things to worry about than just the zombies, including wild animals, illness, and other people.
Something I thought particularly interesting was that we got to see the good and the bad of post-apocalyptic humans. There are those who are just trying to survive the best they can, those who are banding together into commune-like towns, and those who are taking advantage of the chaos and anarchy to rape (a band of men who come after Megan) and murder (former prostitutes who target Sam.) There is also a particularly poignant mercy kill – what would you do if the option to save someone was simply not on the table?
I think this author handled both the romance and the zombies with a deft hand. My only real complaint was the book’s length – it seemed more like a long novella than a complete story. A lot happens, so my complaint isn’t about the plotline so much as it is about filling in the story all the way. I feel like I learned about the characters, and I learned quite a bit about the zombies, but not enough about either. I’m also not much of a fan of the slight twist for the rescue and the ending (spoiler alert – pregnancy plotline), but that is more my personal preference than any flaw in the writing. I would definitely like more in this universe.