Series: WHITE TRASH ZOMBIE
Plot Type: UF
Ratings: V4; S2; H3
Publisher and Titles: Daw
My Life as a White Trash Zombie (7/2011)
Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues (7/2012)
BOOK 3: White Trash Zombie Apocalypse
Angel has been a zombie for almost a year now, and she's settling into her new life as well as can be expected, given the dangerous events chronicled in the first two books. Fortunately, her job at the morgue is going smoothly, and she's about to take her GED exam, so life is looking pretty good. As the story opens, Angel is on the job, picking up a body at the local high school, where a film company is making a zombie movie. When Angel is nearly run over by a speeding car outside the school, she is rescued by Phillip, the zombie she was forced to create in the previous book. Angel is shocked to see Phillip, but he runs off before she can thank him for saving her life. Already we can guess that Phillip and the zombie movie will no doubt play key parts in the plot.
Gradually, suspicious events and overheard conversations cause Angel to suspect that the movie-making group is hiding some nefarious secrets, but she just can't figure out what they are. Then, she is attacked by zombies (one of whom is Phillip), and a woman takes a blood sample from her while Phillip holds her down. Then they tranquilize her and leave her in her truck in a downpour of rain with several broken bones and mashed internal organs.
The plot follows Angel as she gets involved in dangerous happenings, always resulting in serious injuries that require extra doses of her brainy nutritional smoothies. As the rain keeps coming nonstop, the river floods the lowlands where Angel and her dad live in their "rustic" little house—with frightening consequences for the Crawford family.
Angel's relationship with Marcus is still rocky because he won't stop trying to advise her how to live her life. Late in the story, though, Angel figures out why Marcus is acting so paternally, so perhaps their relationship will get better. Marcus had better get himself together, though, because there's another man in Angel's life who would like her to give him a chance.
This is a strong entry in the series, with a compelling story line and a great deal of character development, particularly for Brian Palmer (Pietro Ivanov's head of security) and Pietro himself, although Pietro makes a major TSTL move in this book when he continues to trust a character who has proven in the past to be completely untrustworthy and probably sociopathic. Although the mysteries in the plot are interesting and somewhat suspenseful, I was able to figure out what was going on long before Angel did. Even so, it's a good story, and I'm looking forward to more of Angel's adventures, mostly because she's such a fascinating character. Click HERE to listen to a brief audio excerpt from the book (scroll down a bit to find it).
In this world, zombies can heal themselves and give themselves super strength and speed if they regularly and frequently consume brains. If they miss a few days, however, they begin to fall apart in the familiar zombie way—strips of skin falling off, skin color turning gray, and rotting odor growing stronger and stronger. In book 1, the whole idea of the super-strength zombies and the healing powers of brains just didn’t work for me. It was as if the author took the traditional vampire mythology and forced in zombies as replacements for the vamps:
> Are created by the bite of another vamp
> Must have human blood to maintain strength
> Attain super strength through excessive blood consumption
> Become mindless monsters without blood consumption
> Are created by the bite of another zombie
> Must have human brains to maintain strength
> Attain super strength through excessive brain consumption
> Become mindless monsters without brain consumption
The idea of self-healing, super-strong, über-speedy zombies clashes with the inarguable fact that zombies are undead, rotting creatures—a reality that Rowland’s world-building absolutely denies. Another problem is that a number of upright citizens are walking around as zombies—and no one can tell that they are dead. Although she is herself a zombie, even Angel can’t tell a human from a zombie.
Note added after reading book 2: Although there are still a few points in the mythology that still need clearing up (like the zombies' inability to recognize a fellow zombie on sight—or smell), book 2 does clear up a lot of questions for me. The author builds the new information in as part of the plot, although it is presented in kind of an info-dump manner. Still, better to get all the details out there, one way or another.
This is a book that I wanted to love: great cover art and a terrifically inventive premise. Angel Crawford has always felt and acted like a loser, dropping out of school to lead a pill-popping, alcohol-fueled life. Having a mentally ill, suicidal mother and an alcoholic father hasn’t helped the situation. Currently, Angel is on parole for possessing a stolen car. As the story opens, Angel has just been picked up by the local police from the side of a country road—naked and full of drugs. She can’t remember anything about what happened that night. The next day, Angel receives an anonymous note telling her that she has a job in the county morgue and if she doesn’t show up and act right she will be going to jail. When Angel reports to work, she is surprised to find that she has no problem with the dead bodies, no matter what state of decomposition they are in. She is even more surprised that her stomach growls every time a brain is exposed during an autopsy. So…Angel seemingly has a new addiction: brrraaaaaaaains! Add in a cute police detective and a serial killer who chops off heads, and you have an imaginative new paranormal series. The major theme for book 1 is that Angel’s zombiness actually saves her life. By the end of the book, she has cleaned up her act and has become an upstanding citizen.
Click HERE to listen to a lengthy audio excerpt (scroll down a bit to find it). Click HERE to read a print excerpt.
BOOK 2: Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues