The fourth in Armand Rosamilia’s “Dying Days” series.
Dying Days 4: The Review I Didn’t Want to Write, But Probably Not Why You Think.
I’ve been called many things in my lifetime, but two of the monikers that I will attest are true are the titles of, “book snob”, and “zombie purist”. There are probably a few other choice terms that dance on the border of apt, but, I digress.
Being a, *ahem*, book snob, and a reviewer of books, I have to tell you, I read a lot of bad zombie fiction. So much of it is just, well, bad. Terrible. Atrocious. Unreadable. I’d rather watch paint dry with drool hanging from my lip than read some of these books. Some days, I’d rather get a double lip and bikini wax than read another stale, cookie-cutter genre novel. And if you think books are bad, you should see some of the movies I have to try to sit through! In the effort of saving space and time, however, I’ll save that rant for another day.
Now, about me being a zombie purist, I should state for the record that I like my zombies traditional and Romero-esque. I like mindless hordes bent only on one purpose. I don’t tend to like it when authors take the genre in odd directions. I don’t like the idea of running zombies, or thinking zombies, or even worse, regenerating zombies who talk. I turn up my nose, put on my snobbish, purist face, and poo-poo anyone who hands me such literature. For that reason, I should have absolutely hated Dying Days 4 by Armand Rosamilia. I should trash it and say awful, vile things about it. The truth is, I can’t. I am loathe to admit that I liked it. I couldn’t put it down. And I’m quite serious when I say that I actively TRIED to hate this book for at least the first 1/3 of it. This book wore me down and made me its bitch.
Having not read the first books in this series, I realize that I missed much of these character’s back stories when I began reading. No matter though, as it appears that I jumped in right when it begins to get good. Rosamilia’s zombies are anything but typical mindless flesh eating drones, they are much more, and becoming more still. He takes a note from the likes of Brian Keene in The Rising, and creates a world where a portion of the undead can talk, think, communicate, wield weapons, and oh yeah, they want to rape you while they eat you. They are also beginning to regenerate. If these facts aren’t enough to keep you awake at night after reading this book, there is also the little matter of the oldest of the former zombies, (as you really can’t call them that anymore), seem to be turning into full-blown vampires. Once again, this is a fact that I SHOULD hate, but I don’t.
The book’s strength is in its characters, particularly the female characters, who really emerge front and center as the heart of the story. Darlene is a badass chick who, *SPOILER ALERT*, has now given birth to a baby that may or may not be the undead anti-christ. Tosha has lived on her own by her own rules and is as hardened and smart mouthed as they come. Bri, the dark horse hero, is a foul mouthed teenager with wisdom beyond her years and a hidden penchant for violence.
Many characters die, but some key ones live and the structure makes for cliffhangers between chapters. The book keeps you on the hook, if for no other reason than to see how, or if, these characters make it out of these scenarios. I actually can’t wait to read the next book, as the book ends in a place that leaves you needing more.