The Beautiful Dead (The Beautiful Dead, #1)
Author: Daryl Banner
Release Date: July 29, 2013
Genre: Post Apocalyptic Zombie
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1CzwUMp
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1C2Rkgd
In fact, the whole world’s dead. Every single person, apparently. Unburied and reimagined into a beautiful living-dead woman called Winter, she is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in a quaint, peaceful city with no hunger, no sickness and no bills to pay. Her Second Life is perfect in every way possible.
So why is she so bent on destroying it all?
After angering the mayor, befriending rebel headless teenagers and igniting romance with a dark and brooding neighbor, she finds herself wrestling madly with a First Life she cannot remember and this Second Life she cannot accept. Not to mention the maniacal army of rotting corpses who want her dead. Again.
But none of that matters in comparison to an even worse problem. There’s a guest in her house. A rude, good-looking man on the run ... a man with a heartbeat.
Holy crap on a cracker. I'm still kind of in a fog after finishing this book. First let me say that this isn't your typical zombie book. There are Undead and Deathless. The Deathless are closer to what you'd imagine a stereotypical zombie. The Undead are reanimated corpses who don't decompose. They are living a Second Life in the city called Trenton.
And humans are strictly against the law and punishable by exile
-"He will remind you of what you'll never have, what you'll never be again, what you'll forever regret losing in the first place."
My favorite part of the whole story was Winter. She was sassy and honest and real. She didn't immediately accept her Second Life. She couldn't understand why they were all pretending. And she had such a sassy mouth on her! I loved it!
-"I'm not discussing this any further," I snap, "until you are more than just a head!"
See what I mean? She's sarcastic and quick-witted. She never just rolls over and lets people walk all over her.
The world building was really great. The land of The Deathless was so macabre and morbidly fascinating. It was very reminiscent of Susan Ee's Angelfall. And the writing style! There was pretty prose everywhere! Here are some of my favorites:
-Maybe it's time I see that the people you think you can't live without can, in fact, live without you. That's the lesson everyone learns whether alive or not...Nothing lasts.
-Knowledge is not power. Knowledge is a prison. And with it now, I envy every ignorant soul in this city.
-It takes every bead of focus in my body to stay stoic, to appear strong, to not let my friends know that I am, within, a tumultuous storm of angst that can level a forest. It's so tempting to just unleash it, watch it burn.
There isn't a lot of romance, just a lot of action. Just when you think you've got the story figured out....BAM!! PLOT TWIST! I would be lying if I said I didn't have to put my Kindle down at one point because OH.MY.GOSH. I was NOT expecting what happened! I had a Hans from Frozen moment.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the banter between Winter and John. I hope we get to see more of him and his story in book 2. I don't feel like I got to know John well enough, but then again, I don't think I could ever get enough of John!
-"And if I don't get to enjoy any more of my eternity...If the Deathless catch up to us and I'm taken away and ended... I just want to say, thank you for your kindness, John."
"I made a terrible roommate."
"Yes, but you made a better one than the cockroach."
"I killed the cockroach."
There is some hinting at a budding romance between Winter and John too. *Squee* And once again, the writing just got me. Le sigh.
-I have to be alive. I have to be alive, because every part of my body is electric. The closeness of my hand to his hand. Our faces so near, our mouths so close I feel sick to my stomach with joy...like prom night. I have to be alive, because this is not what a dead person feels like."
-"You're not all dead." He doesn't look away as he talks into my eyes. "You didn't ask for this. You weren't expecting your whole comfortable second existence to be turned upside-down by my...selfish needs."
I don't know why that hits a cord with me. Probably because when Winter met John he was so closed off and snappy with her.
And of course every action-packed story comes to a head at the end, and Mr. Banner does not disappoint! I can't divulge too much because if I did it would spoil the whole story line, it is that intertwined! I will leave you with one more sassy Winter quote. :)
-I won't show the people of Trenton a weak soul. I'm going to be defiant, strong, and rude, because I'm lovely like that.
Seriously, if you're looking for a story unlike any other then The Beautiful Dead is for you!
“You’re all dead,” I whisper, like I’m just now discovering this.
“Undead. Every last one of us,” she agrees. “I doubt there’s a Living left in the world.”
Looking at each of them, it’s dawning on me what world I’ve been brought into. A dead world. Ageless. No one breathes here or ever will again. Souls being fetched from soil and made up into fake-alive people, like me. A world full of … silent chests.
“Now,” she says, gripping my foot tight, “hold still while I make you a new pinkie toe.”
I don’t remember what else she or the Roxie girl or the twelve-year-old do to me. I don’t remember having my right ear reshaped, or my nose reset, or color fused into my lips by some weird kind of gun-shaped mechanism. Even though Helena claims otherwise, I don’t remember choosing Icecap Blue for my eyes.
“And now, girl, meet Winter!” Helena’s guided me over to the first mirror I’ve seen since my Raising. The maybe-twenty-year-old face in the mirror is one I should probably recognize since it’s my own, but I don’t. She has eyes like arctic pools. Hair that falls like a soft mist, veiling half her face. Her skin is a sea of satin. Her nails are little polished glass shards. Her lips, a subtle pink, with cheeks gently blushed the same. The person in the mirror is a person I do not know.
“What do you think?” the large woman asks me, obviously proud of her work. “Can you live with this?”
My left hand falls off.
“Roxie!” the large woman yelps. “Adhesive, honey! Proper, level-four-grade adhesive!—I do swear!”
A lot of shuffling, a slight shove from my left side, and I’m whole again. I wiggle my fingers and they seem to work. For how long, who knows.
“Should we try another blush?—another eye color?” the large-in-charge offers sweetly. “We have enough time before our next appointment.”
“This is fine,” I say, defeated somehow. “Icecap Blue is fine. My name is fine. Whatever.”
Winter. I didn’t even choose my own name.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daryl Banner is a writer and composer who graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Theatre and Psychology. After writing several plays and a musical in college, he started composing for short films and websites, one of which is the Vamplets "Baby Vampyre Dolls" website: (www.vamplets.com)
Interesting tidbits: Daryl is also an obsessive piano player, video game enthusiast, and occasional actor. He's been remixing video game music for over fifteen years, and is a passionate Final Fantasy fan. You can feed your ears with many of his remixes (as well as his original music) on his YouTube page "www.youtube.com/DarylBanner". Also, he personally answers all emails he receives, so if you have some strange desire to write him, he may enjoy it. He currently resides in Texas.
Connect with Daryl