And they will try to find an answer to the only question that matters now: What will tomorrow bring?
Title: Z Children: Awakening
Authors: Eli Constant and B.V. Barr
Published: June 9, 2015
The second scream did nothing to calm Grandma’s nerves. I patted her arm, all the while searching the store for the source of the agonizing yells. “It’s okay, Grandma. It’s okay.” I murmured; trying to soothe my own brittle nerves as much as those of the little, white-haired lady beside me.
“Clary, Clary, it’s Momma. Sweetie, Baby, stop. Please stop.” The voice was desperate, full of fear. “Please, Baby. I know you aren’t feeling well. I’ll let you pick out any kind of ice cream you want, Baby. Just please stop.”
A woman in dark wash jeans and a burgundy blouse stumbled out of aisle five. Pasta-Sauce-Canned Vegetables. Her jeans and shirt were damp, but the dark coloring made it hard to discern the liquid on her clothes. Just marinara or maybe olive oil. Bonnie assumed. Some jar must have broken. Maybe her daughter threw a fit and tossed some things around. Brat needs a spanking. Daddy would never let me act like that, let alone offer me ice cream. No wonder so many little kids act like animals.
I was about to comfort Grandma and turn back to the bacon, when a small girl came stomping out of the same aisle. Her mouth was painted red and her face was contorted in pure hatred. I wasn’t the only person staring now. The belligerent, bloody child had attracted a crowd of store clerks, shoppers, and cashiers. “Clary, Clary… please, Baby. Baby, what’s wrong with you?”
The woman’s body was pressed up against the beef display now; her hands were behind her, pushing into packages of ground chuck as she desperately tried to get further away from her own offspring. I wasn’t sure why, but the thought inappropriately popped into my head that I could understand a mother leaving a child who behaved like that… I mean… if I had been like that, I could understand my own mother leaving.
The woman’s shrieks sliced into my thoughts, bringing me back to an unreal reality where the brunette girl Clary was mounting her mother’s body, her small face buried against delicate neck. The squelching sound that accompanied the girl ripping away a dripping chunk of flesh turned my stomach like a tilt-a-whirl on acid.
“Grandma, I think we need to go home.” I pulled on her hand roughly. She was still calling for Grandpa. I wanted to slap her, scream at her, but that wouldn’t help. For a split second, I debated leaving her. She’d lived a good long life and… well, I hadn’t! I wanted to get out of this town, do something big with my life, not get attacked in the pork aisle with a demented senior citizen.
Z Children: Awakening is a wild ride! The action begins immediately and doesn't stop until the very last page. It is a true page turner where I found myself holding my breath during the more suspenseful moments.
I like that the authors chose to tell the individuals' stories from those characters' points of view. I feel that by choosing to write in first person instead of third person, we - the readers - feel like we're part of the story too. It feels as if a friend is telling me their story, not a stranger whose life to which I am indifferent. So, I care deeply about every minute detail and what happens to them. Each of their stories is unique and seemingly separate from the others. However, we soon see that their paths begin to intersect in the most interesting ways.
What I love most about Z Children is that there was a thread of awareness in a particular group of the dead. I won't say more and spoil it for those of you who haven't read it yet, but know that these scenes are so well written that it's almost heartbreaking. Almost. They are still zombies after all.
"The thought that the mind might transcend death was
disturbing. It meant that [they] might have some
awareness as their bodies began to desiccate and rot."
B.V. Barr and Eli Constant have created a truly terrifying zombie apocalypse. It starts with children, which is heartbreaking and terrifying. When we, as adults, finally wrap our brains around the idea that zombies exist, it turns out that the most viscous and terrifying ones are children, who aren't as easy to take out as adult zombies.
Z Children: Awakening ends with a huge cliff hanger. In a matter of seconds, I cycled through several emotions. First, shock that I wouldn't know what happens to my beloved characters yet. Then came anger. How dare the authors end a book like that? But, when acceptance settled in, I was relieved to know that there is more Z Children to come, and I am anxiously - and impatiently - awaiting the next book in the Z Children series.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
About the Authors
Eli is the author of Dead Trees, Dead Trees 2, Mastic, DRAG.N, and Z Children: Awakening. She is a contributing author to Let’s Scare Cancer to Death, State of Horror: New Jersey, State of Horror: Illinois, and Fading Hope. Her books are available in eBook, paperback, and audio formats.
Members of the Rangers, Green Berets, Para-rescue, Combat Control, Navy SEALs, Air Force Crew Members and MARSOC have all been his students. Outside the military, he has taught people from the DEA, Local Law Enforcement, Department of Natural Resources, the FBI, and other Federal Agencies. With over 12 years in the disaster mitigation and security fields, his advice on the development of advanced survival systems is irreplaceable and his knowledge of the physical and psychological aspects of both manmade and natural disasters is unparalleled in the survival world.
Z Children: Awakening, written with Eli Constant, is Ben’s first official foray into fictional writing. His technical expertise has proven a valuable asset in the development of plausible situations, appropriate survival responses, and how the world would really operate at the ‘awakening’ of an apocalypse.
Check out Ben's survival company.