Author: David Wellington
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 4 Stars
Book Summary: Anything can be positive...
Years after a plague killed 99% of the population, turning them into infectious zombies, Finnegan and his family live in a barricaded New York City. But Finn's sheltered life fractures when his unsuspecting mother falls sick with the zombie disease - latent inside her since before her son's birth.
Finn, too, can be infected. If he remains healthy for the last two years of the potential incubation period, he'll be cleared. Until then, he must be moved to a special facility for positives, segregated to keep the healthy population safe.
Tattooed with a plus sign on his hand that marks him as a positive, Finn is exiled from the city. But when marauders kill the escort sent to transport him, Finn must learn how to survive alone in an eerie, disintegrated landscape. And though the zombies are everywhere, Finn discovers that the real danger is his fellow humans.
Personal Review: I love zombie fiction, thanks to the Walking Dead, but sometimes with Wellington's books, they can be hit or miss for me. This one was a definite hit...not out of the ballpark home running hit, but certainly a hit.
In this book, I enjoyed how Wellington created a different construct for a world after the zombie apocalypse. In this world, we're now into the second generation of human survivors, now living in Manhattan. Although things are as great as they could be (obviously) they're certainly better than they've been. In their world, they have something else to fear, and that's the virus that may turn them into a zombie. The bad part is, the virus can sometimes have an incubation period of two years, if not longer.
Our protagonist is Finn. As a second generation human in Manhattan, he's branded with the positive sign after his mother turns zombie. Like others in his city, once you're branded, you're required to leave the city and live in a camp of other "positives" until you either become a zombie, or its determined the virus won't change you. It's pretty much standard for them, until their ride is ambushed and Finn is now alone, fending for himself, as a second gen in a world he knows nothing about...a world with zombies, and worse yet, other humans.
I enjoyed Wellington's writing and novel, and much like other fans of post-apocalyptic fiction, one of the key areas that interests us most is the break-down of society, politics, and people, to then see what's actually left behind. It's less about the zombies and more about how people are reacting and surviving in this new world.
This novel proved to be just that, because you're given a likable character, Finn, and placed in his journey with him, as he treks across the U.S. looking for refuge, but instead, finding one challenging situation after the next. He was likable, I saw myself rooting for him, and he had strong values as evidenced in how he treated his family, and his journey will become your journey. With each step he makes, and with each new experience he encounters, you watch as Finn becomes even more sure about the man he wants to be, and the man he doesn't.
Plus, zombies were very secondary to the overall flow and subject of this book. They were there, but Wellington offered a fresh new take on the tale, and instead focused more on the epic adventure aspect of it while surviving the most vile of human beings who have turned to murder, torture, and more gruesome forms of trying to vie for power in the wolds of the world.
I'd certainly recommend this book to others with an interest in zombie fiction, dystopian reads, or even epic adventures. There's something in there for everyone, and with this entry, I'll certainly be on the lookout for more from this author. Check with your Abilene Public Library and see about getting your hands on a copy of this read.