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Dying to Live: Life Sentence Paperback – March 7, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Dying to Live Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A thinking man's zombie novel. Paffenroth has looked beyond the initial bloodshed to what happens after the end of the world. He explores deep philosophical issues while never letting the horror fan go hungry for gore. --David Wellington, author of MONSTER ISLAND
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Permuted Press; First Printing edition (March 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934861111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934861110
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,639,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
After the author's impressive debut novel, DYING TO LIVE, I couldn't wait to get my hands on its sequel (but was prevented from getting to it sooner due to my ever expanding TBR pile).

LIFE SENTENCE picks up 12 years after the events of DTL. This time our survivors have cleared and fenced themselves into a large area just outside of a major city. The groups' spiritual leader, Milton, continues to use his supernatural gift to horde the undead into holding bins; the aggressive ones go to one area, the seemingly less aggressive to another. When Milton's protégé, Will, notices two zombies in the latter area behaving almost like "normal" humans, he soon befriends them.

Most of the novel is told from one of the intelligent zombies' viewpoint (we discover his name is Wade Truman, a former college professor who is slowly trying to remember his past life, and whose notes we're now reading). He meets an undead woman named Lucy, and together they spend their days and nights writing, reading, and playing the violin (but trust me . . . this isn't funny or cheesy in the least; Paffenroth truly develops his zombies as much as his human characters).

The second storyline the novel follows is Zoey, a teenage outcast who agrees to take her "vows" to the community. She's as deadly with a gun as she is with her wit, and eventually Will and her situations meet for a finale that's exciting, scary, and best of all, a HUGE cut above your standard zombie fare.

Paffenroth continues to explore zombies from a philosophical angle, this time bringing out the humanity of his two intelligent monsters: neither of them want to eat the living, despite it being a newfound instinct.
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Format: Paperback
This is a sequel to Paffenroth's 2007 novel DYING TO LIVE. I haven't read that book but had no trouble getting into LIFE SENTENCE, as its subject matter was familiar to me from the films that inspired it. The author has written a book on the cinema of George Romero (2006's GOSPEL OF THE LIVING DEAD) and clearly knows the territory inside and out.
Yet Paffenroth has used his Romero-filched elements in thoughtful and literate fashion. There is the requisite gore, of course, and quite a few nerdy movie references (including a store named Argento and a play on the classic ALIENS line about "real monsters") but the book's true aims are strictly of the philosophical variety.
The setting is a world where the living dead rule and a band of non-zombified people subside in an abandoned museum. The two main characters are Zoey, a pre-teen coming to terms with life in this nightmare world, and Truman, an "evolved" zombie who was once a university professor. In his current state Truman's memories are all-but nonexistent, forcing him to relearn everything; as his curiosity about himself and the world around him grows, Truman finds himself rejecting the anti-social activities of his fellow deaders. Along the way he connects with a fellow zombie named Lucy, and love (of a sort) blossoms.
In the meantime Zoey is maturing into a full-fledged zombie killer, having undergone an intricate initiation ceremony. She and Truman mirror each other in their inquisitiveness about the world around them, and before long Zoey, Truman and Lucy will meet...with unexpected results. The conclusion is (in keeping with the novel's overall tone) thoughtful and contemplative, playing down the expected mayhem in favor of a deeply felt, hard-won humanity.
From a writing standpoint the novel is impeccable.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was the characters who grabbed me! As I began the novel I thought, oh, great, now zombies aren't bad? They're getting well. Boo. It's not like that though. The narrator zombie character became one I was interested in and I had to see what happened to him. My fear that it mght turn out that the zombies were just misunderstood and abused by mankind did not materialize. The story of the girl Zooey is great. Again, I was not looking forward to a teenage narrator. Again, there was so much ,more to her than a stereotype. The novel does show how people have survived after the apocalypse and maybe the portrayal is somewhat optimistic, but I liked that about the book. It felt like the book opened the door to the possibility of so many other communities. I really want to know who else has survived and how. I want to watch our community discover another. Bottom line? I got about half way through and couldn't stop because I just had to see what would happen next. And now it's 1:45 am!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Horrific fiction writing. The series started quite promising, but then led in to some fake, messianic figure who could lead zombies, which led to a zombie having tangible thoughts... which isn't the worst thing IF it's done right. Paffenroth didn't. Kim's books were a complete waste of money even though I paid a total of $4 for all of the books.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I confess, I read this 2nd book last as I received the books in 1, 3, 2 order and wanted to read them right away. It was sort of like reading a prequel to the final book. I did enjoy them in the out of order sequence, so there must be substance to the three books if it didn't ruin the story to read them out of order! Moved along well and kept my interest.
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