Dead Living by Glenn Bullion
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Permuted Press
Release date: January 12, 2013
Reviewed by: Stéphanie
Source: Tour organizer
It didn’t take long for the world to die. And it didn’t take long, either, for the dead to rise.
Born on the day everything ended, a world filled with the walking dead is the only one that Aaron knows. Kept in seclusion, his family teaches him the basics. How to read and write. How to survive.
Then Aaron makes a shocking discovery. The undead, who desire nothing but flesh, ignore him. It’s as if he’s invisible to them.
The survivors of the old suburb of Lexington call a high school their home. They live day to day, without any of the luxuries mankind used to enjoy. Samantha is a product of the new world. Alone, cold, looking out only for herself. She and the other residents of Lexington feel their hope dwindling. They need change. They need someone who can face the corpses. They need someone who can live in a city of the dead.
They need Aaron.
I’ve been hooked on anything zombie lately. Simultaneously, I’ve been reading this zombie book, watching a TV series on DVD about zombies (The Walking Dead) and playing a zombie video game (The Last of Us). All three are excellent and DEAD LIVING is no exception. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it, especially since it’s such a short book. I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough character development or enough action, but since the author’s storytelling is right to the point, none of that was compromised.
While most of the story is held 23 years after the zombie apocalypse, I really like the fact the author still wrote about what happened before that, without being dragged through flashbacks. The book opens with the events that unfold the first day of the zombie apocalypse, which is also the day the main character, Aaron, is born. Then, were transported about 14 years into the future where Aaron loses his family and is left to fend for himself. And finally, the read story progresses as we follow 23 year old Aaron, who finally begins to trust humans again.
Ever since learning he has a special link with the dead, Aaron hasn’t been around humans all that much. Since the zombies don’t seem to want to eat him, he’s not afraid to live is a city inundated by them. Truthfully, it was humans that killed his family, and he feels like the real monsters might not be the zombies, but quite possibly the humans. Human survival can be a great and powerful thing, but for some people, surviving means letting go of morals and human decency. So when Aaron meets Sam (Sam to Aaron, Samantha to everyone else), he’s reluctant to follow her to her home base, but eventually decides to check out Lexington High School. Slowly, Aaron begins to trust other humans again and he quickly becomes an important member of the Lexington community. Everyone starts to look up to him, and Sam develops strong feeling for her new friend, despite her own reluctance to trust other people.
DEAD LIVING isn’t just a book about the walking dead, but a book on human survival. It’s realistic enough in the description of how people live, and the indecency of some human beings adds more conflict to the story. The book reveals a lot about the horrors of the human race like rape, slavery and human sacrifice. It almost makes you wonder who the real monsters are: the thinking, breathing humans or the mindless living dead.
For me, this was an excellent quick read, and exactly what I was in the mood for. Glenn Bullion succeeded in writing a memorable and readable book. He didn’t reinvent the zombie wheel but his original add-ons make this book stand out. His unique main character Aaron and Sam make you want to keep reading, and personally, a book is a success especially if you have characters that make you come back for more. While the secondary characters aren’t quite as developed as some, the fact that Glenn Bullion has Aaron and Sam seems to be enough. Bullion expertly captures the horror (and goodness) of the human spirit without being too gruesome in LIVING DEAD. It leaves you satisfied as a stand-alone book, yet truthfully I wouldn’t mind reading more about Aaron.