Author: Susanne Winnacker
Genre: YA, post-apocalyptic/dystopian, sci-fi
Publication Date: May 12, 2012 (expected)
Summary: 3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world.
Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation…and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers.
When Sherry’s dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua – an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers.
But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?
☆: 3.5/5 – an entertaining new debut!
Review: While it’s not the most original of apocalyptic stories at its core (zombie-like creatures taking over after a pandemic), Winnacker adds some very interesting elements to her plot in “The Other Life” to the point where I definitely do want to read that next book. There were a few other issues I had with this one but over all, I enjoyed it and I think a lot of the YA market will, too.
Even though this book is about “The Weepers”, we don’t see them very often – not nearly enough so for my taste. What Winnacker did here was great – they’re not your normal zombie. They become animal-like creatures – with their humanity gone with their taste for flesh, they even grow fur, and some go off on four limbs (legs and arms) instead of just two legs. I don’t think anyone’s put the “they’re not just zombies, they actually start BECOMING animals” angle before on the zombie tale in the YA genre, and I loved that aspect of it. I just wish we’d seen more of them – I mean, the book takes part of its title from them, and I wanted to see more infections and turnings from human survivors into Weepers, etc. Generally? I just wanted more, period as the idea of humans not just becoming zombies but flat-out animals from infection was really pretty unique.
There’s also the aspect of insta-love with Sherry and Joshua, which was more than a bit annoying. We get enough of this in the PNR sub-genre in YA – I don’t need it in my post-apocalyptic zombie tales, too. That was possibly the most disappointing part of the book – while the relationship itself felt natural in terms of how they behaved toward each other, but the pacing was just way too fast to be believable. It felt a little too simple, a little too quickly – even for a survival-based relationship. The characters outside of Joshua and Sherry definitely needed more plumping as they felt a bit flat, even with the big reveals that happened throughout the book at the Safe-haven Winery. Otherwise, the plot was pretty solid and the arcs were well-executed, but total length for everything was too short, and too little when I wanted (and expected/hoped for) more.
Finally, the most interesting part of the book was thrown in at the end, though we had hints throughout the book that something wasn’t quite right with this apocalypse. I wish it’d been seeded a little more heavily instead of the light breadcrumbs because, quite honestly, my favorite part of the book was indeed the end. The horror of what the US government was willing to do in the name of warfare and research took my breath away, and made me more than a little nauseous. While I had the sense of the walls closing in (literally) with the scenes in the bunkers, the implications of what actually caused the Weepers to come about knocked me on my ass. And again, I wanted more of it – more possible flashbacks in terms of when the actual pandemic itself was happening and people were going into the bunkers, and so forth.
But overall? It’s definitely worth the read, and I really enjoyed it. You can bet I’m in for book 2, which should be out early next year. “The Other Life” is out on May 12th, 2012 in North America from Marshall Cavendish, and it’s already out in the UK/Europe. It’s a pretty quick read so if you need a quick relaxation break, this is definitely the book for that.