The First Days, the first in Rhiannon’s As the World Dies series, is a fantastic book in the zombie genre and the start of an amazingly good series.
Not a fan of the zombie genre? Read my defense of zombie novels explaining why I think they are worth reading. Seriously.
So, if you want to read zombie novels, where should you start? With this one, hands down. I have read way more books in this genre than I’m willing to admit to, and The First Days is certainly in the top 3, maybe even number 1. Books 2 and 3 in As the World Dies are equally good.
I rarely pay much attention to — never mind wholeheartedly agree with — the reviews in publisher’s blurbs, but I am totally on board with these:
“Frater is a terrifyingly talented new voice. Her characters spring off the pages and come to life with a depth most authors long to achieve.” ―Eric S Brown, author of War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies
“There’s a lot of great zombie fiction out there, but Rhiannon Frater sets the gold standard. She’s got the goods.” ―Joe McKinney, author of Dead City and Apocalypse of the Dead on Rhiannon Frater and As the World Dies
“The First Days is one of the few zombie novels fueled by the power of feminine protagonists in an apocalyptic world gone wrong.” ―Harrisburg Book Examiner, “Best Zombie Books of the Decade”
“Rhiannon Frater paints a vivid picture of what the world could become if a zombie outbreak were to occur. I found myself on the edge of my seat, turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next.” ―Bitten by Books (5 out of 5 tombstones)
These pretty much save me the trouble of continuing this review, but I have a few more things to add.
There are not many books that stay with me long after I read them (memory like a goldfish)… but the books in the As The World Dies series are still in my mind years later.
Read the first pages of Frater’s trilogy and tell me it’s not the most horrifying, sad, unforgettable thing you’ve read in a long time:
Regardless of theme (zombies, vampires, etc.) or whatever the genre (popular, historical, “Literary” fiction, …) good writing stands out and is memorable. And Rhiannon’s writing IS good! Her books offer great stories and dialogue, great characterization, tense plotting, emotional impact…. challenging the reader to reflect on both themselves and the human condition. And above all, they are entertaining.
She also portrays fantastic, doughty (that’s old-fashioned for ‘bad-ass’) female characters. Another reason why these are better than many other zombie books.
All in all, Frater is a master storyteller. I defy anyone to read the first pages and not want to immediately buy the entire series. You won’t regret it.
You might also like: Dead South – David Brinson.