Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: The First Days by Rhiannon Frater

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The First Days
Rhiannon Frater
Series: As The World Dies: A Zombie Trilogy, #1
Release date: July 5th, 2011
by Tor Books

Goodreads / Purchase

The morning that the world ends, Katie is getting ready for court and housewife Jenni is taking care of her family. Less than two hours later, they are fleeing for their lives from a zombie horde.

Thrown together by circumstance, Jenni and Katie become a powerful zombie-killing partnership, mowing down zombies as they rescue Jenni’s stepson, Jason, from an infected campground.

They find sanctuary in a tiny, roughly fortified Texas town.  There Jenni and Katie find they are both attracted to Travis, leader of the survivors; and the refugees must slaughter people they know, who have returned in zombie form. 

*This review is part of Zombies vs Unicorns month co-hosted with Literary Exploration, YA-Aholic and YA Bookmark.*

Zombie stories are my guilty pleasure. They’re exciting, full of action, gory, but they terrify me to bits. Surviving a zombie apocalypse is no easy feat. So, as expected, I read this with my heart pounding from start to finish, knowing that these people are most likely doomed no matter what, because zombies always win… always. It was such a rush!!

An incredibly frightening zombie story- The First Days, as the title conveys, starts at the very beginning of a zombie apocalypse. People are getting bitten, then turn on others to feed. No one knows what’s happening, but after Jenni sees her family succumb to this horror, she flees. This is not easy for her. Being a mother myself, that beginning is incredibly heartbreaking. I just kept imagining being in her shoes, seeing my children turn into monsters in front of my eyes. Uncomprehending. The tangible emotions in this story is a big part of why it’s such a chilling read. It makes it extremely realistic. The setting, the pace, the reactions; it’s all how I imagine it would happen if the zombocalypse were to start today. It really makes you think.

We meet a lot of different types of personalities during this story. The panicked, the determined, the optimist, and the destroyed. Rhiannon greatly portrays how society would react to such terror. Our protagonists are two strong females who go through remarkable depths to help each other, as well as strangers they meet down the road. These women are incredibly intelligent. They don’t let their emotions turn them incompetent- which is the only way you’re able to survive in this new world. I grew immensely fond of both of them. I even felt like I knew them; they were so real. We also have a band of eccentric supporting characters who make their way into these women’s lives. Each one adds a little bit of charm, even humor, to this otherwise somber story. I didn’t care much for the added romance in the novel, though. It felt a tad artificial, mostly due to its hastiness. However, I realized afterwards that people in such situations would have a tendency to develop feelings at an accelerated pace, hence making theirs probable. It also does give a nice breather from the constant anxiety and panic, so it was never seen as a negative point.

Zombie movies are all about horror and gore, but The First Days is so much more. You will grow to know and care for these people. You will see how, in a zombie world, new rules have to apply, hard choices have to be made, you can’t take ANYTHING for granted, and no one is safe, ever. It will strip you to the core!

5 Hot Espressos

As The World Dies trilogy:

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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38 Responses to “Review: The First Days by Rhiannon Frater”

  1. Amy

    I completely agree with Jennifer. Why have I not read this book?!! I obviously must read it, if you have given it 5 espresso’s! It sounds absolutely amazing. Thanks for the fab review!

  2. Giada M.

    This sounds like a great zombie read! I haven’t read many zombie books (only 2 if I remember correctly), but I’ll have to try this one. Awesome review! 🙂

  3. Giselle

    Thanks ladies! <3

    @Jennifer & Amy: It was in that pile for me too for months but it definitely does NOT belong there! Read it!

    @Gianna: I haven’t read that many either but others will have a hard time topping this one for sure!

  4. Heather

    You’ve convinced me that I have to start reading zombie books. I did love the Resident Evil series so I don’t know why I haven’t jumped into zombie books yet. Putting this one on the list!

  5. Anonymous

    I loved this series. I discovered it while searching around in the iBook store for zombie fiction during a phase 🙂

    It’s a fun, light read with great character development. Rhiannon Frater is a star waiting to happen.

  6. Karen

    Huh. I obviously need to give this another chance because I tried to read it a few months ago and couldn’t get more than 30 pages in. I must have just been in a rotten mood or something because everyone else seems to rave about it. I think I’ll try getting it from the library again.

  7. Giselle

    @Heather : I love the Resident Evil movies too! I’m pretty sure you’d really like this as well!

    @Anonymous: She sure is! 🙂

    @Karen: I’m sure not every single person will love it, but you should give it another try if you like zombie stories. I know she self-published and then got picked up by Tor, did you maybe try the self pubbed one? Tor released this one last July, I don’t know how different they are but I imagine they were improved.

  8. Alexa

    Wow, this sounds really interesting! I’ve only started reading zombie books quite recently, and it’s a pleasure to hear about awesome books like this one!

  9. Sam

    A zombie-killing partnership? Why isn’t this book on my TBR already?! 😀 I love the sound of that and your review makes me want it even more. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I love books about zombies and this sounds like something I really need to get round to soon. Awesome review Giselle! 😀

  10. Kat Balcombe

    L.O.V.E.D this book myself (must get to second in series soon!), particularly as female protagonists are quite unusual in this genre which helped me actually imagine being in the same situation!

    Great review, exactly what I thought 😉

  11. Candace

    This book is definitely too scary for me! I’ve read some other reviews that have pretty much told me that. But I’m glad you loved it so much!

  12. Giselle

    @Sam & Alexa: If you’re loving zombie books it’s a sin to not have this one on your list missy!!

    @Kat: I haven’t had the chance to pick up book 2 yet either. But every day I want to! GAH! Darn review schedule. I have my review scheduled in March for book 2 so that way I’m SURE I’ll be getting to it soon >.< I agree though female protags are perfect for this series.

    @Candace: Haha It definitely IS scary and intense. But it’s a really great story too, it’s not one of those horrors written just to get us scared. It has a great overall story and amazing characters. Maybe on a bright sunny day you could try it? Teehee

    @Savannah: Thanks Savvy! Glad I could introduce you to it 🙂

  13. Uniquely Moi Books

    I haven’t read many zombie books but this one does sound really good. I’m not really sure as to why either. I love the idea of them. Totally into them. Just don’t read much into them.

  14. Chrystal

    I can’t believe I still haven’t read this book. It sounds so good. I love zombie books for the same reasons. I am fascinated by them actually. 🙂

  15. thekams

    I need to get my hands on this book! I’ve heard so many good things, and you can never have enough zombies. I love that the main characters are strong women fighting off the zombies.

  16. Giselle

    @Uniquely Moi Books: For me it’s the intensity and how it puts everything in perspective.

    @Chrystal, @MJ Thomas & @thekams: I hope you all love it like I did! 🙂

  17. Nina @ Death Books and Tea

    I’m with Jennifer and Amy and many others. This is one of those books where I see amazing reviews and think “I’ve not got this yet…why?”. I love the fact that in this, you get to know the characters. Then it actually hurts if they die. This really does sound good.

  18. Maja

    I agree with you about quickly developing relationships in frightening situations. That’s why that part didn’t bother me one bit. And I still haven’t forgotten those tiny fingers… *shudders*
    The second book was even more action packed and I liked it quite a bit, but I still haven’t read the third.
    Fabulous review as usual, Giselle. 🙂

  19. Giselle

    @Maja & Wendy: Omg those fingers still haunt me. It was a pretty kick ass opening, although heartbreaking 🙁 Glad you guys enjoyed it too!

    @Nina @ Death Books and Tea: oh yeah it’s definitely not easy to shrug off when a characters dies. I’m dreading who she will kill in the next book. I know it’s coming *cries*

    @Karen: Thanks Karen it’s not one I’d read alone in the dark >.<

  20. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Even though I know I would be among the first to be eaten should the zombies come for me, I still love a good zombie story. Sounds like these gals have the gumption to survive, especially since they didn’t become wailing ninnies!

  21. Rebecca (Kindle Fever)

    *whispers* You rimed!
    “Zombie movies are all about horror and gore, but The First Days is so much more.”

    Moving on! Sooooooo awesome review. Seriously, now I want to read this even more than before! Zombies creeps me out so bad, but after loving both Dearly, Departed and Dark Inside (which is kinda zombie style), I think I would enjoy it still. These kind of novels does make you think! *adds to to-read pile*

  22. Lynne

    I have “First Days” on my TBR list, but if you’re giving it a 5, then I’m going to have to move it up to “Purchase Now”!

  23. Mari

    I’m seriously struggling not to just follow that link and press order right now. This book sound so good. If my tbr pile weren’t threatening to take over our entire house I would have bought it now this instant. Have to read some of the books I own first then…