I, probably like many of you, have OD’d on zombies a little. Not so much in fiction, for me, but in movies and tv and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little wary of them. Sure, I’ll stick with The Walking Dead as it stumbles to its slow, cruel death because I am a glutton for punishment but I don’t seek out zombie novels to read in my spare time unless they’re funny or super disturbing or promise to bring me some new twist.
This one offers the new twist. So I read it. But I read it not really expecting all that much because honestly, how many books promise you the world and fail to deliver? Far too many, if you are asking jaded me. The blurbs, oh how they can lie and be deceptive creatures! No worries here though, I will always give you nothing but the brutal truth even when it gets me in trouble. And I have good news! River of Souls does have a somewhat unique storyline (unless you’ve watched IZombie) and I liked it a lot because it also has great characters.
In this world people who die continue to walk the earth but society has found a way to integrate them back into society with a drug called “Lazarus” which tames their worst impulses and allows them to function without eating people and being too disgusting. But it’s not working out too great for most people because dear old dead dad is now a walking vegetable that needs constant care and a daily dose of drugs and he’s not terribly thrilled with getting poked each day. This is asking a lot of citizens. Especially teenager Davin who is left alone to fend for undead dad and his younger sister (who has not been zombified, thank goodness, because she is full of sass and I love her). When Davin is invited to enroll dad into a new but secretive treatment program, who can blame him for wanting to relieve himself of some of his burdens? Not I. This poor kid has way too much on his shoulders.
Davin’s life takes a strange turn shortly after visiting the facility and I won’t spoil it for you because I’m not a complete jerk. But I wasn’t expecting the turn and the things that followed and I loved that. There are good characters here and I can always get behind a well written brother-sister bond and this writer does a fabulous job with their relationship. These are people you want to care about. People you want to win or at least people you hope can catch a break.
There are also a few side characters who are interesting too, namely Randy who is my favorite. He is fun, flirty, and colorful. Just full of life which is a weird thing to say in a book about the undead but there it is. There is adventure and, more importantly, some humor here and I’m always there for some humor. It’s a little gross and a lot of goodness and I can easily recommend it to you even if you are sick to death of zombies.I hope there will be a sequel because I want some more of these characters and their adventures, and that’s not something I say often because I already own a zillion books!