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Between Life and Death: Forever Between Kindle Edition
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|Length: 279 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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I like that the series continues with another strong female lead, motivated by the strong bond they share, one greater than friendship. Post-apocalyptic human nature really plays a part in this particular novel, and it's more than just killing willy-nilly like in other series I've read.
In that time Veronica has grown up - a lot - and now, at 15, she is a seasoned veteran of the zombie apocalypse, able to defend herself and others from the flesh-eating creatures roaming outside the fenced-in complex.
Also in that two-year period the population of the complex has grown with the addition of six more people that Emily has rescued.
All is not well, however, for Emily's brain tumor has returned and because she was pumped full of nanites to save her life in the past, there is every reason to believe that she will die and then become one of the undead when they kick in once she stops breathing. After all, it was a newer version of nanites that, when they went bad, caused the apocalypse in the first place. Originally designed to keep people healthy and extend their lifespans, the nanites refuse to let people die naturally. Instead, once they do, the nanites re-animate them turning the dead into the undead.
The first stage: The undead become In-Betweeners. They are dangerous because they can still run after their victims and retain enough of their primal instincts to hunt. At some point they become Deaders. They are still dangerous but - because of their deteriorating bodies - they are slow-moving creatures that can seldom catch enough prey to sustain even a semblance of life. Even the nanites cannot save them at that point and they wither and then finally die for real.
Emily does not want to become an In-Betweener but the signs are there as her cancer begins winning the battle for her life. The fact that could happen leaves Veronica and the other people in the complex with a dilemma: Can they risk letting Emily turn into one of the undead? Or should they smash her head in, thus eliminating the possibility that she can be re-animated?
It's a cruel choice they face, but they now live in a very cruel world.
There is, however, a slim chance that Emily can be saved, but it involves enormous risk and a trip through some very dangerous countryside.
Will anyone be willing to undertake that risk?
That's all of the plot that I'm going to share at this point because author Ann Christy has fashioned a white-knuckle thriller that deserves to be enjoyed without any spoilers to ruin the effect. Using present-tense narrative with flashback chapters - something very few authors can do effectively - Christy spins a tale of courage, betrayal, loyalty, and love inside a heart-pounding adventure laced with just enough horror and mayhem to keep even the most jaded reader intrigued.
Christy has a reputation for developing strong female characters and that is certainly true in this novel. Veronica is brave, smart, and loyal. She can also be vulnerable, frightened, and unsure of herself. Taken together, those traits make her seem very, very human and - as a consequence - very believable despite the fact this novel is all about the zombie apocalypse. Two other female characters also stand out: Emily, even though she is dying, remains a strong woman and Savannah, one of the newer arrivals, is as well. Savannah is an interesting character who does what needs to be done even when she does not agree with the decisions that the group makes. In that respect she demonstrates not only a strong pragmatic sense but also reveals the fact that, against all odds, there may still be room for hope in a world gone mad.
Christy writers economically, a plus in my opinion. She wastes very few words in her narrative yet still manages to put readers "in the moment." Her descriptions of people and places give readers enough information to share the adventure with her characters, but not so much that the pace of the novel slows down to a crawl. In that respect she reminds me of Australian author Mark R. Healy, whose apocalyptic New Earth trilogy is among the finest series of books I've read in a long time. Both Christy and Healy share a love of words but are not so in love with their own prose that they drag their books out to interminable lengths.
That said, let me simply add this: "Between Life and Death: Forever Between" is an excellent read, full of believable characters, and plenty of action. It touches on some important themes and, as a result, not only gives its readers a wonderful adventure story but also something to think about.
And that makes it a 5-star novel, one that I highly recommend.
To me the whole situation of them keeping Emily in hopes of possibly curing her, all the precautions taken, and the keeping of the bad guys in hopes of experimenting on them and learning more - it's fascinating! And I can't wait to see what's in store with the next book - I know I won't be expecting whatever Ann Christy writes, but I will be thoroughly entertained.
There may be possibility for a cure, but some "bumps in the road" could cause problems. Veronica is dead set on heading to the military hospital 80 miles away to find the nanites that could, maybe possibly hopefully, save Emily, and nothing is going to stop her. But what she finds there is more than she can imagine, and it changes everything, big time. Like book 1, this book is filled with amazing characters and back stories. Filled with shocking realities of what life would be like and the lows people will stoop to. Lots of emotions and plenty of laughs, which is refreshing in a story like this. Ann sure has a knack for making me love Emily even more in this one, she is simply adorable. I keep loving this series more and more!