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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Loving Among the Dead by Dahlia DeWinters

What would you do if the world around you suddenly went crazy and the dead didn't stay dead? What if people started
eating one another, and the remaining "normal" people are just
as likely to steal, rape, or murder you? Loving Among the Dead by Dahlia DeWinters gives a pretty good, and dare I say fairly believable, glimpse into a post-apocalyptic world in which all of the above is an every day reality.

The story begins with a woman named Jude burying her parents. The writer lets you in on Jude's reality right from page one. She's a woman alone in a world that's gone mad. She has a pretty secure set-up in her parents home and I have to say that I'm impressed with how resourceful she is. I was also impressed with how the writer used "green" techniques to solve obvious problems that a person would face (like showering). Jude meets a man by the name of Sky who comes to her aid during a scary situation with a mob of "normal" men. These two lonely people must learn to survive with one another, make some hard decisions and eventually find in each other a tentative hope and the will to do more than just exist.

Jude is a woman who has a strong survival instinct and who is intelligent. She isn't the heroine that trips over her own feet, or makes bumbling mistakes that force the hero to figuratively ride to her rescue at every turn. When Sky helps her, it isn't because she did something stupid. She wants to survive and is willing, for the most part, to do what it takes. But, behind her bravado she is very afraid. She's made a safe haven, but that safe haven has also become a weakness in that it's now her security blanket as well.

Sky was a laid-back teacher before the world went crazy. He's trying to make his way out of New Jersey back to the south where he has family. I liked that Sky wasn't over the top macho. He's competent and like Jude he does what he has to do to survive. Unlike Jude he hasn't had a safe haven to hide out in so he's faced more danger in general than she has. If there's a problem or danger he wants to handle it right away, while Jude's solution is to stay put in her safe haven and let any problems pass if at all possible. On the surface he also comes off as more compassionate than Jude, but you come to understand that Jude's occasional heartlessness comes from a place of not wanting to be hurt either physically or emotionally.

In the middle of all the ugly that is the world, Jude and Sky come together, physically and emotionally. I would under normal circumstances say that this happened to quickly, but considering the world that they live in and the uncertainty of it I give them a pass. To me, it is completely believable that two people would want to validate life, erase their mutual loneliness, and live for a time in each others arms. They may not love one another yet, but they are on their way and they definitely depend on one another for strength.

I don't want to give away too much about this book or what happens. I will say that it isn't very long, and the ending is not an actual HEA or even a true HFN ending. It's more the closing of one chapter in their lives. I was satisfied with how it ended considering the length. I would've hated for the author to have packed everything into this one story. That said, I do hope that there are more books to come. There are questions that came up that need answering, I need to see them interact more in various situations, and I really want to see what lies ahead for these two. I'll mention that the characters do smoke weed quite frequently, so if that's a problem for ya then I've warned you. It isn't something that I do personally, but in the world that they live I can't say I wouldn't start!

I recommend this book to anyone who's been looking for a decent zombie romance that offers some level of believability. Although it isn't a grand romance, it is what you would expect considering the circumstances and the book length.  I give this a 4 out of 5 rating.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Released: February 25, 2014
Pages: 126

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

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