- Mass Market Paperback: 321 pages
- Publisher: Leisure Books (January 1, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0843952016
- ISBN-13: 978-0843952018
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (350 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #992,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Rising Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
We learn quickly that the world went insane when some scientists working in one of those secret weapons laboratories experimented with a new particle accelerator. Whoops. The experiment had all sorts of important functions, at least on paper, but warnings that strange incidents could take place went largely ignored by the technicians involved in the project. When reports began surfacing about the recently dead suddenly reanimating and wreaking havoc, people wrote it off as nonsense. Predicatably, the problem soon proved horribly true, resulting in escalating and ever widening scenes of violent death at the hands of the hungry undead. Society went under with astonishing speed as the flesheaters promptly attacked any living creature within reach, thereby exponentially increasing their own numbers while achieving a comparative decrease in human numbers. Electric power, cell phones, the Internet, the government, and radio and television stations began to fail in various parts of the country as the zombies rampaged. This further isolated survivors, although a few stalwart souls doggedly hang on in the face of total insanity.
One of these survivors is Jim Thurmond, a construction worker living in West Virginia. Hiding away in a bomb shelter he constructed in case the world ended from Y2K, Thurmond now uses it to hold off packs of roving beasties, one of them his recently deceased second wife. Jim laments his condition, sick to the very marrow of his being that he will never again see Danny, his son from his first marriage. Thurmond's son lives in far off New Jersey, a long trip under normal circumstances but now seemingly unreachable considering current affairs. Then something amazing happens that sends Jim off on a quest fraught with peril: his nearly dead cell phone rings with a message from his son. Danny whispers into the phone that things are bad where he is at but that he and his mother are currently hiding from the zombies. Thurmond resolves to leave that very minute in order to rescue his son. Just getting out of the bomb shelter presents a host of gruesome problems, problems requiring Jim to commit violence against his former neighbors and even his reanimated wife. Thurmond learns a few other things too, namely that the zombies he encounters do not resemble the shambling creatures from horror movies. The undead in this world possess the ability to think, drive cars, use weapons, and set traps for the living. New Jersey looks further and further away with every passing second.
Other poor souls wander through the deteriorating cities and countryside of the United States. Thurmond meets Martin, an elderly black minister, soon after he leaves his house. The two join forces to find Danny and soon run into plenty of life threatening situations, everything from packs of roving zombies to backwoods cannibals seeking some extra food to undead wildlife. At the same time, Frankie, a down on her luck heroin user and woman of the night who narrowly escapes disaster in the Baltimore Zoo also begins a trek out of the cities and into the country. We also keep tabs on one of the scientists in charge of the particle accelerator as he too seeks his destiny in a world full of the undead. You know all of these people will come together at some point in the novel; seeing how Keene pulls it off is the fun part. The conclusion to the story delivers plenty of gory violence, but also gives us an ending that raises more questions than answers. Keene's story is one of the few mass-market horror paperbacks I have read in the past few years that makes you think after you finish the book.
Several scenes of contrived coincidences, a bit of annoyance concerning Thurmond's robot-like determination to save his son, and a few characters who could have benefited from some better development isn't enough to hurt this book in the least. There is plenty of heavy gore, mach speed pacing, and an imaginative plot that doesn't give you all the answers. Even better, Keene used his apocalyptic tale as a vehicle by juxtaposing unconditional love and hope with death and destruction. "The Rising" is a good tale well told, although if the author plans a sequel perhaps he should reconsider. The conclusion is more powerful left just as it is, something a follow up novel would ruin.
Then I read "The Rising".
If you are a fan of horror fiction then Brian Keene's "The Rising" is NOT unknown to you. This book is one of the most original ventures into the zombie genre you can find and I guarantee it will be emulated in the years to come. Brian Keene's zombies still hunger for the living and have the capacity to move fast after you but the worse aspect is that they think. These zombies operate vehicles, use weapons, and work together. They actually plot courses of action. How screwed is the human race?
If this wasn't bad enough, re-animation of the dead is not exclusive to the human animal. Prepare for flocks of undead birds and other forms of wildlife. Still don't think there's enough danger? Another threat in the book, probably the worst, doesn't come from the dead but from the living. There were points in the book where I was actually rooting for the zombies because the human characters were so evil.
Every great horror writer has a book that puts them on the map and "The Rising" is Brian Keene's announcement of his arrival. There are already a lot of people calling him "the next Stephen King" but I think Brian Keene stands on his own. He takes no prisoners in his style of writing and isn't afraid to take risks. If you want a "safe" read that rehashes the same old genre standards then go somewhere else. I think there will come a day when we will be calling a new horror author "the next Brian Keene". Jump on board now while the journey is just getting started. I have a feeling you won't be disappointed.
(On a side note, pick up Brian Keene's "City of the Dead"City Of The Dead which is a direct sequel to "The Rising". There are a lot of people who hated "The Rising" because of the end. The sequel begins immediately after.)