The Morningstar Strain Book 1 - Plague of the Dead
Z. A. Recht
Plague of the Dead, the first book in the Morningstar Saga by Z. A. Recht, is perhaps, one of the better zombie stories I’ve read in a long time (and I’ve read my share.) Every character is believable, the zombies are both hideous and understated, and the action is mile-a-minute fast and succinctly described. While there are some questionable events – a general stuck in a tree for lack of planning, for instance - the book is a very good read and is reminiscent in some ways and has the same feel as Justin Cronin’s Passage. Not quite an instant classic Plague of the Dead will, nonetheless, entertain.
Two story lines come together in Plague of the Dead to form one cohesive and entertaining story. In the first, a rag tag group of defunct soldiers and civilian survivors of a brutal plague that began in Africa set off on a quest to reach a U. S. Government medical facility in Omaha, Nebraska. In the second, a medical researcher who was studying the Morningstar Strain pre-plague, a journalist who leaked the story, and an FBI agent who detained them both escape a government prison on the east coast and trek west to meet up with the first group. This secret facility, dedicated to researching the plague, is the designated meeting-place where the leader of the soldiers and the doctor believe they may find a cure for the virus that has caused the plague. Unfortunately, the infected victims suffer from symptoms often described as appearing zombie-like and each trek is fraught with danger. Zombies, bandits, and the last remaining government agents make each journey difficult and the losses heavy.
Recommended for post-apocalyptic fiction fans, action-adventure lovers, and zombie phreaks from all shambling walks of life.
4 out of 5 stars
The Morningstar Strain Book 2 - Thunder and Ashes
Z. A. Recht
Thunder and Ashes is a continuation of the first book in the series and is every bit as good. The pace is as whirlwind fast as Plague of the Dead and the narrative will keep you turning through action-packed pages to find out what happens next. I enjoyed the two party quest motifs, flipping back and forth from one group of survivors to the other, and was impressed by Recht’s unique two types of zombies - the quick and the dead. Yes, some of the zombies in this series have not completely succumbed to the virus and are as quick and lithe on their feet as normal human beings. The dead zombies? Not so much. They shamble, they crawl, they drag themselves towards humanity as expected but as a force the two zombie groups are as dangerous together as an entire city full of “normal” zombies.
With that said, Thunder and Ashes, lived up to my expectations and in some ways exceeded the story presented in Plague of the Dead. The characters, now familiar, continue their quest and the action is even heavier than the first book. All in all, a very entertaining read.
4 out of 5 stars
Note: The third book in the series, Survivors, was left unfinished at the time of Z. A Recht’s death (at the tender age of 26) but is still scheduled for release on May 5, 2012. It will be completed by a ghost writer.
(Note: Click on “LINKS” at the bottom of the main page to find a short list of other Zombie stories, websites, books, and movies. Highly entertaining Zombie faire to bite in to.)