Genre: Post apocalyptic
Publication: 2010 (first book)
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
The CoversI really like the covers of the whole series, they're creepy in a good way and quite a good representation of the books themselves. Blood, the Internet, life and death. Without any weird photos, just symbols and letters. It really works
and the fact that they used red for the text and made it seems like blood, immediately gives you an idea about the books in a good way.
The StoryWhile my review will be for the whole series, I'll just give a summary of the first books because summarizing the others would really spoil the first one.
It's twenty years after the Rising of 2014 when the common cold and cancer were cured but it came with a price, the Kellis-Amberlee virus, virus infecting people and turning them into zombies. The world as we knew it changed and people are living their lives accordingly with a lot of mandatory blood tests for example. Traditional media has basically become obsolete and blogs and other new media have taken over. Journalists consist of Newsies (they report the factual news), Irwins (they are basically entertainers that poke zombies) and Fictionals (they write fictional content).
Georgia and Shaun Mason are the founders of After the End Times, a news site; George is the head of the Newsies, Shaun of the Irwins and together with Buffy, who's the head of the Fictionals, they run the site. Trying to always report the truth, no matter the cost. They have gotten their first big break when they're asked to follow the campaign of presidential candidate senator Ryman and while on the campaign trail they end up discovering some big secrets...
My ThoughtsI started the first book in this series over a year ago and while I really liked it, I could never put myself to actually finish reading it until I finally did and got completely sucked into this world. After I finished it, I continued with the rest of the series and got seriously hooked and devoured the next two books in the series and three novellas that came after (I had read two other novellas before book one already to follow the timeline of the series). The three main books are quite long but don't be put off by that because the world building is really great and once you get into the story, you want to keep going.
As I already mentioned the world building is amazing, you can really see that the author did her research and made sure things make sense in a way that you can imagine a world after the zombie apocalypse will be. Sometimes certain things are bit exhausting because they're repetitive but in a way it makes sense because things like blood test and decontaminations are simply part of this new world. The characters have to suffer through them so we have to as well. Another complaint I have is that some parts of the books seem a bit long winded and could have been shorter, it's especially noticeable in the first book which is also the reason it took me forever to get through the first part but once things get going they're really good and luckily the second and third books are better done when it comes to this.
I really liked the characters as well, everybody was well done and they all different distinct personalities that are fleshed out in a good way. Even minor characters have their own voices and the whole staff of After the End Times is cool in their own way. I enjoyed how everybody has their own strength, be it being brave and going into the field or being good at anything technical and computer related or simply living their own kind of life. Through blog posts and some email exchanges at the end of every chapter, you really get good insides in the heads of all the people working for the site (and some not working for the site)
This is technically a zombie series but it also isn't because yes the books are set in a world that has zombies in it but as the novels are set 20 years after the Rising, people have adapted and are living with the zombies so it's not a survival kind of series. There is some gore but not too much so if that's what you're looking for in books about zombies, these are probably not what you're looking for. If, however, if you want to read a story about people, conflicts, the news, media and truth, politics and conspiracies, road trips, science, technology, and all of this set in a post-apocalyptic setting with zombies, these are something you'll really enjoy. What is really interesting is that there are a lot of ideas in these books that make you think because they ring true in a world not inhabited by zombies as well... Rise up while you can!
The whole series (including the novellas) is a solid 4 stars for me, I would have given it 5 stars at certain points but as I mentioned they are a bit long and very wordy at times, which sometimes seemed unnecessary so 4 stars it is, leaning to 5 because they are pretty awesome. You can find all the books belonging to the series here on Goodreads. The author is working on a fourth book and I for one, can't wait to get more of this world.