Eat Slay Love by Jesse Petersen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the third book in the Living With the Dead series, a lighthearted look at the zombie apocalypse. This installment finds a ramping-up of the tension and stakes.
Sarah and David survived a zombie apocalypse that started where they were in Seattle, and they've made something of a name for themselves as they cut a swath through the zombie-infested countryside. In this, the third book, they're making their way to a rumored Midwest Wall, which supposedly stopped the invasion from spreading east. If it's real, it's possible Sarah's mother survived the outbreak, and that there's still a place where civilization is intact.
The vest majority of the book takes place in rural Oklahoma, where they pick up a former celebrity news reporter, barely escape an insular community of survivors, and meet a drug-addled former rock star. Both Sarah and David get a chance to show off what they've gained in the zombie apocalypse, as the threats get ever more dangerous and they're called on to tap all their resources.
All of the books are told in a self-help format. The first book is about saving their marriage with a common enemy, so the chapter headings are all themed after relationship advice. The second establishes their zombie-hunting business, so it's styled after business manuals. This one is more of a general/motivational self-help, which strikes me that the concept is running thin. It still works in this book, but I can't imagine how a future book might fit the theme.
There's a strong thread throughout this book about taking advantage of the zombie apocalypse, for better or worse. David and Sarah aren't the only couple who resolved their differences to fight zombies, and many characters tap into strengths that had been languishing in the civilized world. Obviously it's not an improvement for people turned into or eaten by zombies, and Sarah speaks longingly of the trappings of society, but the survivors are changed by the experience, mostly for the better.
I've read reviews of the fourth book that suggest stopping with this volume. It does wrap up a lot of plot threads. I'm content with where we leave Sarah and David at the end of this book. One gets the idea their story is done. There are a couple of threads still left hanging, but they don't seem they'd overly affect these two in the life they've accepted by the end of this book.
If you like humor and snark in your zombie books, I recommend this series. It's a nice change of pace from the grimdark that dominates the genre. There's still gore and death, but it's tempered well with levity.
I listened to this book on audio, narrated by Cassandra Campbell. Her voice generally captures Sarah's snark, though some of her emphasis and pronunciations are a little off. And by this third book, some of her voices for characters are indistinguishable. There were times when I couldn't tell if a character was speaking, or if Sarah was narrating.
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