Title: Autumn (Autumn #1)
Author: David Moody
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books 2010
Rating: 5/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Support Your Local Library; Zombies: March Fantasy Month; A to Z Titles: A
A bastard hybrid of War of the Worlds and Night of the Living Dead, Autumn chronicles the struggle of a small group of survivors forced to contend with a world torn apart by a deadly disease. After 99% of the population of the planet is killed in less than 24 hours, for the very few who have managed to stay alive, things are about to get much worse. Animated by "phase two" of some unknown contagion, the dead begin to rise. At first slow, blind, dumb and lumbering, quickly the bodies regain their most basic senses and abilities... sight, hearing, locomotion... As well as the instinct toward aggression and violence. Held back only by the restraints of their rapidly decomposing flesh, the dead seem to have only one single goal - to lumber forth and destroy the sole remaining attraction in the silent, lifeless world: those who have survived the plague, who now find themselves outnumbered 1,000,000 to 1...
Without ever using the 'Z' word, Autumn offers a new perspective on the traditional zombie story. There's no flesh eating, no fast-moving corpses, no gore for gore's sake. Combining the atmosphere and tone of George Romero's classic living dead films with the attitude and awareness of 28 Days (and Weeks) later, this horrifying and suspenseful novel is filled with relentless cold, dark fear.
One day 99% of the world's population drops dead. A few days later, about a 1/3 of the dead get up and start walking around. Ahhh... the zombie apocalypse, my favorite genre. And this book was awesome!
Told from the viewpoint of a few survivors in a small English village, they struggle to understand and then make the next move. I liked that the book was told from a limited perspective. The reader and characters have no clue if this is a worldwide phenomena or just extends to the next village. Once three of the survivors leave the village, we don't know what happens to those remaining at the community center. We only find out later when Carl tries to go back. While the characters themselves are incredibly memorable, they represent more of archetypes. Examples for the reader of how people react in extreme circumstances. We don't need to remember to the specific character because we connect to their emotions, the struggle to live or not live in this new landscape.
The book is sufficiently scary. More with the constant threat of the "undead" than any immediate attacks. That would be the worst thing about the zombie apocalypse, the constant feelings of unease. You could never feel safe, even in a barricaded farmhouse.
Overall, a very good book. I guess the book was made into a movie a few years back and I saw it from Netflix. All I remember is watching about 15 minutes, getting fed up with the horrible sound and picture quality, and turning it off. Sorry to the filmmakers, but it was a dud. Thank goodness the book was awesome.