A widespread disease has ravaged humanity—symptoms include: animalistic rage, violent outbursts, and a ravenous hunger for human flesh. Among the few people left are Asher, Wendy, and Rico, thrust together to fight for their lives and find sanctuary, before the world becomes overrun by the infected. Although fear of the infected is ever present, the group finds themselves facing some very human concerns, as well as new adversaries.
Asher is Wendy’s only friend, and she fears that she’ll lose him if he ever discovers the dark secret she’s been harboring. Reeling from heartbreak, Asher clings to Wendy as he struggles to heal. Rico is a teenaged delinquent used to ditching school and partying all night—but can he outgrow his debauched behavior in order to protect a six-year-old boy who has suddenly fallen under his care? These three will have to overcome their own demons in order to save not only themselves, but the last vestiges of humanity. – Goodreads Synopsis
Welcome to Deadland Review
Welcome to Deadland is a very well-written debut work from Zachary Tyler Linville. A story set very soon after a virus has caused the downfall of civilization, it follows two main characters (Asher and Rico), switching from past to present regularly as it weaves their story lines together. Asher is a young man who is fighting to come to terms with his sexuality, and his relationship with a college classmate. Rico is a high school student from a good family that’s struggling to keep a small boy safe even as he fights against the lure of addiction. Though she plays somewhat less of a part, Wendy is also an important character who finds herself driven towards an abandoned theme park to hopefully find something that she can’t even allow herself to think about.
There were a few things that impressed me about this book. First – whilst there is a bit of ‘humans are jerks’, the primary monsters in this story ARE the monsters. Finally!! I was beginning to think I’d never read another zombie work that kept the zombies as the primary baddies. Second – the character development and relationships. They all feel very real and are therefore extremely believable. Linville gives you a taste of each side of things. Parents that are together and fully supportive, a (basically) single mom doing her best to raise a child with behavioral problems, and parents that love their child but are at odds over their child’s revelation. The relationship between Asher and the person he loves is written with a surprising maturity, considering I’d very much label this a young adult read.
The book is thoroughly laced with a bunch of emotional drama and a heavy dose of romance on the side, but the author does a great job in balancing that against the horror of the ‘now’ world, and giving the reader plenty of adrenaline-laced encounters and escapes from things that go “Braaiiiins” in the night. Overall, I’d definitely recommend it, and hope to see many more people reading and enjoying this work from an up-and-coming young author.
Hope you enjoyed this Welcome to Deadland review, and I’m curious to hear your thoughts!