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Friday, December 6, 2013

Review: Writing on the Wall

Title: Writing on the Wall
Author: Tracey Ward 

My review:

It has been 9 years since "the infection" began and Joss watched her parents eaten by a neighbor-turned-zombie while she huddled behind the family Christmas tree. Now, at 17, she is one of the few people living in "the wild" (Seattle, outside the strictly controlled Colonies). Most of the people in the wild have joined gangs of “lost boys” which offer strength in numbers against The Risen (aka zombies) and the elements. For women however, who are so few in the wild, to join a gang would mean becoming the gang’s prostitute. So here's Joss, a street-wise loner who trusts no one, trying to live her life in peace from zombies, Lost Boys, packs of wolves, and the Colonists who want to "rescue" orphans like her from the streets.

Everything was going so well until she meets Ryan. Opening herself up to another person feels just as dangerous to her as everything else; and maybe more dangerous.

I want to start by saying that this is the first zombie novel I've ever read. And what a book to start with! This was one of the most thrilling books I’ve read this year (and it is December, so that’s a good, solid 11.5 months of reading)! It starts out so scary, as in, the first page gave me shivers. The narrator/ main character has such a great voice, such dark humor, that it is easy to read her and believe her. Who knew you’d get such a sweet slice of romance in the midst of all this terror to boot.  At first, Joss is so calloused that it takes a while for her to soften up to Ryan. Early on, I wanted to shake her and say, "Come on, he's kind and cute, be nice to him!" But then, I've never had to defend myself on the streets and I think the author has a better sense of what someone with Joss' background would actually be like. Once it kicks in, the romance is really sweet, especially touching because of the emotional struggle to get to a point of openness.

This is clearly a survival book. But beyond that, and beyond the romance, what really appealed to me was that Writing on the Wallhad a higher-level theme to it of surviving versus living. What does “alive” really mean? Another character in the book says at one point, "Everyone has to decide for themselves how they want to handle this life. You need to choose whether you want to survive or you want to live." Joss was quite adept at alluding pretty much every kind of danger when she was emotionally closed off.  When she opens up to others though is when she begins enjoying her life (but it is also when she is the most at risk of being killed). "I'm not a survivor anymore. But I am alive."

My only disappointment was that I didn’t realize this was Book 1!  Now I have to wait until next year and the next book is out! Really good book though, I highly recommend it!

Back blurb: 
It's been nearly a decade since the world ended. Since Joss watched her parents die at the hands of a nightmare, a nightmare that stalks her even now, all these years later. That's the problem with the Risen - they refuse to die. But Joss is a survivor. A loner living in the post-apocalyptic streets of Seattle. It's a world dictated by Risen and the looming threat of the Colonists, a group of fellow survivors living comfortably in their compounds and patrolling the wild, looking to "save" the orphans of the end. Orphans like Joss. Like Ryan. As a member of an all male gang, Ryan is a threat as real as the Risen, a threat Joss avoids at all costs. Then one night their paths cross and Joss makes a choice that goes against all of her instincts. A choice that will threaten everything she has. Now a new outbreak is imminent and the Colonists are closing in. Joss' solitary, secret world is blown wide open and the comfortable numbness she's lived in for the last six years will burn away leaving her aching and afraid. And awake. *Due to violence and graphic language, this book is not recommended for readers under 17.

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