I love all things horror. The scarier something is, the more I’ll probably adore it, and horror books are no exception. So when Stephen Cross came to me with book two of The Fall Series, I jumped at it. It’s been forever since I’ve had a good zombie novel in my life and even longer since I reviewed book one, Surviving the Fall. So let’s chat about After the Fall…
Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
It’s been three months since the world went tits up, and eight groups of survivors are still alive…for now.
We begin with Jack, the widowed father who has been at a holiday park, fighting to keep his daughter Annie alive since England fell into the hands of the dead. Pub owner Mac and his wife Angie are still holed up in their building, scraping by with raids into the village, where the zombies are growing restless. Adam, Harriet, and Arthur are still on the run, always working to stay out of danger. Five more pockets of people are still clinging to the small pieces of safety that they’ve managed to savage.
Not always intersecting, each story highlights a different aspect of survival. There are intact families and single parents. Alongside soldiers, civilians try to adopt military standards to keep order. Some find safety within gates and walls, while others try to rest in tents and fields while constantly moving. While some people steal to eat, others just try not to get eaten. All of them, however, have one thing in common–the will to survive.
Because all the characters are varied and diverse, almost all readers will find someone to connect to. For me, that’s Jack. While I’m not a widowed father, a man, or British, I can relate to his protectiveness toward his daughter and the lengths he goes to keep her from harm. Maybe you’re strong-willed like Mac. Maybe your first move would be to find a secluded island or hole up at home with canned food. Maybe you’d kill for those cans, or maybe you wouldn’t live long enough to consider it.
Again, I was impressed with Cross’s work and the way he humanized the zombie apocalypse. I liked how, while there were a few military men around, most people didn’t know anything about surviving without grocery stores and electricity. I’m tired of everyone in apocalypse books knowing how to set snares and modify cars like a Mad Max ripoff. It’s just not realistic and I like realism with my zombies, as silly as that may sound.
I want the human struggle to find clean water, the hopelessness or having another safe place overrun, the fumbling of trying to work a gun when you’ve never shot one. To me, that’s what people would truly be like. Keep your super spy ninjas with their gated, solar house and doctorate in emergency medicine out of this. I want you to show me how the average Joe would stay alive, something Cross delivered.
If you love horror, zombies, stories that feel real, or just want to get pumped for Halloween, pick up After the Fall on Amazon now.