THEY HAVE COME FROM THE STARS…
In this riveting apocalyptic thriller for fans of The Passage and The Walking Dead, a mysterious event plunges Paris into darkness and a young American must lead her friends to safety—and escape the ravenous “undying” who now roam the crumbling city.
Jeanie and Ben arrive in Paris just in time for a festive New Year’s Eve celebration with local friends. They eat and drink and carry on until suddenly, at midnight, all the lights go out. Everywhere they look, buildings and streets are dark, as though the legendary Parisian revelry has somehow short circuited the entire city.
By the next morning, all hell has broken loose. Fireballs rain down from the sky, the temperatures are rising, and people run screaming through the streets. Whatever has happened in Paris—rumors are of a comet striking the earth—Jeanie and Ben have no way of knowing how far it has spread, or how much worse it will get. As they attempt to flee the burning Latin Quarter—a harrowing journey that takes them across the city, descending deep into the catacombs, and eventually to a makeshift barracks at the Louvre Museum—Jeanie knows the worst is yet to come. So far, only she has witnessed pale, vampiric survivors who seem to exert a powerful hold on her whenever she catches them in her sights.
These cunning, ravenous beings will come to be known as les moribund—the undying—and their numbers increase by the hour. When fate places a newborn boy in her care, Jeanie will stop at nothing to keep the infant safe and get out of Paris—even if it means facing off against the moribund and leaving Ben—and any hope of rescue—behind.
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This postapocalyptic horror novel effectively delivers gross-out thrills. After arriving in Paris just in time for a New Year's Eve party, young Americans Jeanie and Ben wake up to catastrophe. Showers of rocks are falling from the sky, and fires are spreading everywhere. As they trek through the stricken city to rejoin their friends, Jeanie becomes aware of pale, murderous revenants stalking the terrified survivors. The cause of the disaster remains unknown, as does the nature of the growing horde of "undying" fiends they aren't quite zombies or vampires, but that's just another aspect of the horrible uncertainty, which brings out the worst in Ben while purging Jeanie of debilitating depression and prompting her to protect a newborn baby. Debut author Reid keeps the action rushing ahead in hysterical panic with vivid scenes and convincing (albeit short-lived) characters. This one screams for a sequel.
Well-written, just not the right book for me
I love zombies. LOVE them. The creatures in this book are not zombies, but that isn’t a big deal. An apocalyptic tale of survival with zombie-like creatures from space set in Paris sounded amazing.
First, I want to start off with the good things about this book. The writing is excellent. I adore Paris and the descriptions were spot-on and made me really want to go back. The concept was unique and interesting, and I was immediately drawn in. The zombie-like characters created by the author were interesting. While I prefer the classic mindless dead, I’m not opposed to other creatures, and these were a scary mash-up of zombie/alien/vampire beings that could have made for such a great book. Unfortunately, it takes a long time to get to them. For the first half of the story, Jeanie is the only one who even sees them, and then only three times.
Only about twenty-five percent of the way in, I lost interest in the story. There were a couple main reasons for this. One, the prologue takes place months after the catastrophe, and we immediately find out that Jeanie alone lives. It took away a lot of the anticipation. Then, as the story unfolds, I find that I care very little about who lives or dies anyway, because I don’t really know any of these characters. Jeanie is very bland and her only defining characteristic is her inability to get over her father’s death. Zou Zou was a walking stereotype of what Americans envision the French are actually like, and with the exception of Ben, none of the other characters are developed at all. Ben alone was someone I could like and connect with. He dropped everything to travel to Paris with Jeanie, and he was described as her rock over and over again. The one person she could depend on when things got tough. The author even dedicated a few flashbacks and memories to establishing Ben as being strong. Unfortunately, the second the real disasters strikes all that melts away. As Paris crumbled around them, Ben slowly morphed from hero to whiny. He became the constant voice of dissent. The person who wanted Jeanie to leave everything and everyone behind and worry only about her how skin—or essentially, to help Ben save himself. So in essence, the one character in the book I did care about, suddenly became the one who annoyed me the most.
Flashbacks in a story like this aren’t unreasonable. In fact, I think they can be useful in character building. However, a lot of these flashbacks were not only ill-timed, but just pointless. We get that Jeanie can’t get over her father’s death and that she feels guilty. It was mentioned a lot, so constantly rehashing it only made the story drag on. Plus, the group spent way too much time just sitting around talking while Paris fell around them. It was beyond ridiculous and unrealistic. Everyone else in the city was panicked and running around, trying to escape, yet Jeanie and her friends break into a restaurant to have a glass of wine. I didn’t get it and it got old.
I wanted to find out what happened, I really did, but I was so tired of the group sitting around discussing what to do next or having the same argument over and over again that I had to skim a lot in the middle so I could get to where the story felt like it was finally moving forward again. Even then, I wasn’t really invested.
I’m not going to say this was a horrible book, it just wasn’t the right book for me. I prefer a lot more character development and a lot less idleness. I felt like the story was really dragged out with chapters and chapters of little to no progress being made. The synopsis says that this book is for fans of The Walking Dead, but I disagree. Those of us who love TWD love it because of the wonderfully realistic characters and forward-moving plot, neither of which this book had.
I received copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.