I was rather impressed with Taking on the Dead. It reminded me a lot of The Walking Dead. You got to not only read about some truly disgusting zombies, which thankfully this book did not worry about the squeamish, you also got to see the after affects of when society completely breaks down. It felt very realistic to what I think really would be the “new world” if something like this ever happened. To me, that aspect is especially interesting, if only because it’s that much more frightening to know you live in a world where zombies outnumber the living, but they aren’t always the largest threat, nor the scariest monsters. It’s horrifying to think of a world inherited by the worst of the worst.
This book did some jumping around. It mostly took place in the present, which was about 4 years past the initial outbreak, but there were a few flashbacks from the beginning of everything, and a few in between, which gave you a better understanding of Kansas and her state of mind. I think one of my favorite flashbacks was right at the beginning of the story when Kansas encountered her first zombie while at the carnival with her boyfriend.
“The carnival had become a scene of macabre lights, blood, and screams. People were attacked and eaten alive all around us. Kids with face paint eating their parents. The parents screaming for help.”
GAHHHH not much scarier to me than being in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, except for being surrounded by clowns while it’s going down *shudders*. I’d die of fright alone. I’m not that strong lol. But the sheer horror of it made me instantly fall in love. I also liked that there was no holding back with the nitty gritty, no woman, child, infant, or animal was safe from the beastly living dead. Sounds twisted, I know, but if your doing something like zombies, blind to everything but their need to feed on flesh, do it right I say.
Kansas was exactly the kind of leading character I like to see in this type of situation. She’s strong, smart, brave and incredibly resourceful. She had survived completely on her own for years, and still held on to a huge part of her humanity, which I’d imagine can be quite the feat considering all the circumstances. But if we’re being honest here, I think that no one can hold on to all of it and survive as long as she has. Compared to the other survivors she encounters after time though, she can safely be categorized as one of the “good guys”.
Taking on the Dead managed to put it’s own spin on things though, it wasn’t a carbon copy of all the many zombie scenarios that we’ve seen before. Once Kansas ventured out of her bunker she got to see much more than she was accustomed to. She lived in an area where she, after the years, only encountered a small amount of Zombies and they were what they later called “putrids” meaning that they were in advanced stages of decomposition and pretty slower moving.
Later she started seeing a few new zombies, they looked freshly turned, and some not visibly bearing any wounds or further proof of how they became zombies in the first place. They called these the “famished” and unlike the putrid, they were just as speedy as the living. Not good news for the remaining living. It also seemed the more she found out about these famished the more brow raising questions popped up.
There is a romance factor here, although it’s more subtle. Lots of will they or won’t they. It almost seemed as if it ran along in the background though. I appreciated that. I do think it will most likely become a little more predominant in the books to come though. Which if done right, I would probably be ok with….as long as the gore and horror keeps on coming that is. I also loved some of the popular culture references in this book. Pennywise from Stephen King’s, IT, and Zombieland. Hell yes! All around a great Zombie story and I really look forward to seeing where the story goes from here! I already downloaded the next book in the series and plan on starting it very soon.