Ok the image didn’t work when I copied and pasted…hrm. No problem! today’s question is an awesome one!
“On a sunny Wednesday morning in October, a day that would mark the end of one life and the beginning of another, I found out my grouchy next door neighbor was the walking dead. When you turn around expecting to see something familiar, and instead see something else altogether, it takes a little while for your brain to catch up with your eyes. I call it the ‘Holy Crap Factor.’
Forced to flee his home and family, twelve-year-old Will Ritter falls in with the Undertakers-a rag-tag army of teenage resistance fighters who’ve banded together to battle the Corpses. (From Goodreads)
***Possible spoilers. You’ve been warned***
This book stood out for me. Unlike most zombie books I’ve read, where zombies have run amok and the world breaks down, here in this book, the zombies are quite different. They’re portrayed as what seems like a race from another dimension, and infiltrating Earth for their own purposes. It’s still unclear on where they came from, but I really did like this part of the book. It’s different, and it’s what sets itself apart from the usual zombie plot. It’s an interesting combination of zombies and The Body Snatchers which makes it all the more different and fun to read.
The action starts off with a bang in this book, and it’s continuous, with several pauses in between for a breather (and to read up on more information). The Undertakers, are really just a bunch of children who help other children who are called “Seers” because they can see through the façade in which the corpses are hiding behind. Again, this is a different idea that I have not read before, and could be compared to the Lost Boys from Peter Pan. They’re all split into different groups, each child sent to do important tasks for The Undertakers to thrive and survive. It’s well organized, and yet they’re still just kids, so obviously there’s a childish aspect to their organization as well. The plot is fast paced, and the pauses in between don’t drag or carry on for long.
I had a love and a hate for Will. I liked him because he had attitude and courage, yet at the same time, it’s that same attitude which annoyed me. There were just times when I wished he would shut up but Helene helped out with that (she got him good too). Yet I did like his ingenuity and his quick thinking helped a lot during the course of the book. The one character I did not care for, and thankfully, she did not make much of an appearance was Maria. Oh my, she was useless. All she did was cry, whine, or scream. Argh. I am just glad she wasn’t featured much in the book. The other characters are good and well written but are rather two dimensional since Will is really the center of the book.
The ending was great! and naturally there’s still a few unanswered questions in the book. I’m guessing this is going to be a series judging by the ending, so I am hoping it’ll come out soon, as I’m really looking forward to it.
This book audience inteded for this book does lean towards boys, younger girls might like this because of strong female characters like Helene and Sharyn but I think it’s a perfect read for all ages. It’s an interesting and different take on zombies and body snatchers. I say pick this up for a great action packed read!
I give it a 9/10
Note: Thank you Sourcebooks for providing me a review copy of this book!
It is best to read this mystery series in order starting with: Medicus and Terra Incognita, but it’s also fine just on its’ own – there is some background information you need but it’s not wholly necessary to understand the plot in this novel.
At long last, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his companion, Tilla, are headed home to Gaul. But with Tilla getting icy greetings from Ruso’s relatives, a family member having mysteriously drowned at sea, and the whole Ruso household teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, it’s hard to imagine an unhappier reunion. That is, until Severus, the family’s chief creditor, winds up dead, and the real trouble begins… (From Amazon.ca)
I enjoyed reading the first two and it seems with each book I’ve read from Ruth Downie, they improve each time. Although I found the first two a little on the dry side at times, Persona Non Grata was different. I was more interested in the book, and felt myself turning the pages a lot more quickly than the first two in the series.
I really had to sympathize with Gaius. Not only does he always get the short end of the stick in life, but you can’t help but laugh at his predicaments because things just seem to go from bad to worse when he’s around. His family isn’t the most supportive either but they were such a fun read and there was more than one moment where I found myself chuckling out loud. (Try reading Gaius and his fight with his brother oh my, that was a good laugh.)
There is more of a development in the relationship between Gaius and Tilla. I like how their character development is never quite finished but they develop enough so the reader is satisfied with the way they are throughout the novel. I enjoyed reading about both of them in this book much more. There’s more feeling and emotion between the two. I love how Gaius just wants to take care of Tilla, but she goes out on her own anyway. I like her independence and her strength. The two really do compliment each other nicely.
I enjoyed the plot. Suspects were great and each had a good motive. I was kept guessing although I did have a hunch about the last third of the book. Nevertheless I did like how the book ended and there was more action mentioned to make the plot more exciting and the pace was faster. It was also interesting to note, that early Christians are introduced into the story. I thought that was well done and it did give the plot a much more historical feel to it. When it comes to historical accuracy, I liked it and it seemed pretty accurate to me. Downie’s descriptions are well written and the setting is pictured clearly. I believe she does provide an Author’s Note at the back to explain certain inconsistencies and provides more information.
I do wish there was more to the ‘Dramatis Personae’ at the beginning of the book. It is a little hard to keep track of all the characters (Gaius has a family that could rival The Brady Bunch) plus the suspects, plus other secondary characters. It’s a lot to figure out and I thought the list of characters in the beginning could use a little more clarification.
To fans of Gaius, it’s a great book. I absolutely enjoyed this and the way the book ended paves the way for much more to look forward to. I believe the change of setting is what helped a lot for this book (and quite possibly the series). It’s a great addition to this series, and I’m looking forward to the next one. Ruth Downie just gets better and better with each book!