Title: Rise of the Corpses | Series: Undertakers #1 | Author: Ty Drago | Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky | Pub. Date: 2011-4-1 | Pages: 480 | ISBN13: 9781402247859 | Genre: Kids Horror Sci-Fi | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Triggers: Teen death, talk of paternal death | Source: Library
Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses
On a sunny Wednesday morning in October, a day that would mark the end of one life and the beginning of another, I found out my grouchy next door neighbor was the walking dead. When you turn around expecting to see something familiar, and instead see something else altogether, it takes a little while for your brain to catch up with your eyes. I call it the ‘Holy Crap Factor.’
Forced to flee his home and family, twelve-year-old Will Ritter falls in with the Undertakers – a rag-tag army of teenage resistance fighters who’ve banded together to battle the Corpses.
Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses Review
Parents who are fans of John Carpenter movies will find a familiar story within the pages of Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses. As an adult, it was an enjoyable, almost nostalgic read; as a child, I can imagine it to be a quite exciting one. Ty Drago has delivered a story filled with action, adventure, and mystery. It’s also, as a lot of middle-grade books are, about growing up a bit even if you don’t want to.
Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses is definitely meant to be the beginning book in a series. The loose ends left hanging at the conclusion of the story are big ones. (We do get a complete story arc, though. No evil cliffhangers to get you to buy the next book.) I enjoyed some of the references in the book to other well-known works. Beyond the aforementioned Carpenter movie, there’s also a Harry Potter reference, as well as The Walking Dead. (I’m sure there’s more; those are just the few that stand out.)
Drago does a good job giving us a wide variety of characters and showing how neatly each one fits into the group. It’s important to show kids that everyone has different skills and abilities and they are all equally useful. There is also a bit of racial diversity, and a good split of males and females doing all jobs.
This is one of those books that moves at such a rapid clip you want to give it your full attention for fear that you’ll miss something. The dialogue seems believable for the situation. (Some of them do speak and act a bit older than you might expect, but being forced to grow up too soon will do that to a kid.) There is some violence, blood, and one on-page death. However, while it might make you go “Eww”, it’s not excessive on any level. As usual for a middle grade books, adults rarely feature into it unless they’re the bad guys, and even then they’re only on the ‘screen’ briefly.
Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses is a good middle-grade read, and looks to be the start of a very promising series. It’s also been out for a while, so there are four other books in the series already available if your kid likes to dive in the deep end with series rather than just test the water.