Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Fighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater

Fighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater is the second book in her As the World Dies trilogy and it's just as good as book one, The First Days. In this action-packed sequel, the survivors of the small fortified town of Ashley Oaks decide to expand their walled compound by clearing out the town's large hotel. This is a mission fraught with danger, as they all know that the hotel is populated by numerous zombies. The four main heroes of the story, Jenni, Katie, Juan and Travis, are part of the teams assigned to clear out the hotel. What follows is an unbearably tense piece of story-telling as the clearance teams search the hotel room by room and floor by floor. Not everyone makes it through alive.
Afterwards, Katie declares her love for Travis. She had been in a lesbian relationship, but when her former wife was killed by zombies on day one of the outbreak she thought she'd never love again, especially with a man. But it turns out she was actually bisexual and in a world with so much death and horror all around her, she came to the realisation that she needed Travis as much as he needed her. Ah, sweet!
Jenni and Juan had already hooked up in book one and their relationship continues to blossom in book two. What I particularly like about this series is just how well rounded the characters are. You can see character development in all of the cast, not just the four leads. When one of the supporting cast is killed it does have an emotional impact on you because these are people you care about.
The latter half of the book is taken up with dealing with the threat from bandit raiders, who strike at some of the smaller enclaves of survivors nearby to kill the menfolk and capture the females for sexual gratification and to loot the places for essential supplies. When the bandits turn their attention to Ashley Oaks, the defenders decide to fight fire with fire.
There are a couple of sub-plots worthy of mention. The town's mayor is forced to resign on the grounds of ill health and Travis is one of the two nominations put forward for the vacant post. He doesn't want the job but many feel he is the right man to become the new mayor. A second sub-plot, which remains unresolved, involves an unknown vigilante in the town who kills anyone deemed undesirable to the town's population - drug dealers and rapists, for example, get their comeuppance at his (or is it her?) hands. No doubt we'll learn his or her identity in book three. I have my own suspicion of who the vigilante is but I'll keep it to myself for now.
I mentioned in my review of The First Days the old lady called Nerit, who used to be a sniper with the Israeli Army. She really makes her presence felt in this novel as she is promoted to the town's defence chief. Her tactics for dealing with the bandit raiders are brutal but devastatingly effective. Don't mess with this old lady!
Those of you who have read book one will surely need no urging to buy this book. If you haven't read either, I can highly recommend this series to you. The story moves along at a rapid pace. It is tense, exciting, funny, harrowing and an absolute joy to read. The book retails for $14.99 or for £9.59. I bought my copy from Amazon for £8.74. it's where I buy nearly all of my books nowadays. Book three, Siege, is due for release in April 2012. I can't wait!


  1. Yet amother book to addd add to the ever-growing list. Its notyet available on e-books (kindle) it seems, but book one, "As the World Dies" is, at about £2.00

  2. I'll second that comment. Maybe after Christmas

  3. Correction to the above, I've referred to "As the World Dies" - a collection of short stories, not "The First Days" (currently not available as an e-book as far as I can tell.

  4. Thanks for the heads up, added to Christmas list!

  5. im readind the first days at the moment, its a good book, i like the way the girls reference the romero movies, so i will order this one after crimbo, Thanks

  6. @Joe. You seem to have confused this series with another of Rhiannon's books called "As the World Dies - the Untold Stories." This is a collection of short stories set in the same world as the trilogy. One of the stories centres on Lydia, the wife of Katie who was killed on day one of the outbreak. Presumably it's a flashback story. I haven't bought this yet, but I know I will very soon.

    I don't know whether to be pleased or to apologise to you for lengthening your list of books to buy!

    @Brummie. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

    @Fran. And ditto!

    @Shintokamikaze. There are a lot of references to George Romero in the novels, some of them quite funny.

  7. This series was totally off my radar. Thanks for pointing it out and reviewing it. It sounds worth getting!

  8. @Mike. I'd say it is definitely worth getting. Great story and great characters. What more could you ask for?

  9. Like ConfusedDad, I'd not picked up on these until you pointed them out, thank you sir.

  10. @Zombie Ad. You're most welcome, my friend!

  11. Just finished listening to this -in part due to your review. The casualties they sustained in a certain place were very appopriate. Every real-life soldiers dreads Close Quarter Combat because it's murderous. That particular section really reflected just how dangerous even slow lurker zombies would be in a cramped interior.

    If it wasn't for your review, I'd never have gotten past the first books endless repititions of "those tiny hands" (thirteen references in just one chapter of the audio play - I counted) and the constant repititions of the phrase "it's okay." by every single character in tbe book. So many, in fact, you could make a drinkng game out of it. Other than those minor niggles, I really enjoyed both books. But this second one is where the series seems to find it's feet.

    1. Good call again Vampifan. How is it that I can forget to mention the main point I wanted to make in a comment time and again? Must be getting old.

    2. Ah, Lead Legion, we're all getting old. I wish I could turn the clock back. Anyway, thanks for your comments and I'm glad you enjoyed the book. It's funny but I never noticed the repetition of the phrases you mentioned. However, if there's a spelling mistake, I'll spot it a mile away!

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