When The Walking Dead first became the country’s most popular television show, the literary world and culture in general became a plethora for post-apocalyptic theories. What they all had in common was there was a preconceived notion that once that faithful day occurred, what would follow would be nothing else but a zombie takeover.
Ethan Reid’s debut novel The Undying paints a different picture. The first acquisition for Simon451 (Simon and Schuster’s new sci-fi imprint), tells a post-apocalyptic story of two friends, who find themselves in a foreign country during the world’s end. Aside from the obvious effort to stay strong amongst their fellow man, the main characters Ben and Jeanie must also face “the undying” a.k.a vampiric beasts that were once human.
What makes these beasts so intriguing are the hold they have on the living. While zombies are just out to eat human flesh, “the undying” have strong senses, which they use to exert a powerful hold on their prey. Their dominance over Ben and Jeanie, especially when they are the most vulnerable, will have any reader simultaneously biting their nails and turning the pages.
Aside from a unique take on the world’s end, Reid makes you care about the characters. Even Ben and Jeanie’s friends, Zou Zou, Victor, and Farid, will bring about some sort of connection. Though Ben and Jeanie’s friendship is the clear standout tale, the other three are developed enough that if one were to be taken out, the story won’t go on as normal. Creating characters that are both interesting and identify with the reader is no easy feat, and it’s commendable that Reid nailed this on his first try.
But just because Reid got a lot of things right, doesn’t mean the novel was flawless. There are times where the characters are in a specific area of the plot and it almost feels like they are stuck. For skimmers, this is usually the part they gloss over, but for readers who love every detail like myself, this was agonizing. Granted these moments were few and far in between, but it would have been nice to not feel bogged down because certain areas of the plot were poorly executed.
According to Twitter and numerous other internet sources, there will be a sequel starring our heroine Jeanie. Though “The Undying” certainly posted some first novel plights, none of them will deter me from continuing the story. I am looking forward to reading what happens next.
Lauren Stern is the managing editor of Pop-Break.com and is responsible for curating the site’s content. This includes managing the editorial staff, coordinating the content calendar, and assigning publishing dates and deadlines. She graduated Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism and Philosophy. She spends her free time searching for the best gluten-free food in the Tri-State area, playing with her dogs, and reading an insane amount of books. She tweets constantly about pop culture and social issues and hopes you follow her musings @laurenpstern.