Published by Del Rey on June 28, 2011
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror
In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda — and he begins to move.
The family hides the child — whom they name Stony — rather than turn him over to authorities that would destroy him. Against all scientific reason, the undead boy begins to grow. For years his adoptive mother and sisters manage to keep his existence a secret — until one terrifying night when Stony is forced to run and he learns that he is not the only living dead boy left in the world.
In Part I, the Mayhall family find a woman long dead on the side of the road with a baby wrapped up inside her coat. Shortly after, Wanda Mayhall realizes what he really is, yet decides that they are going to keep him anyways and hide him from the world. We watch Stony change and literally grow from a baby into a young man just as any normal living human being does. We watch him become an integral part of the Mayhall family and develop into his own unique person. This was my favorite part of the novel.
Following Part I, which I was absolutely in love with, there was a major shift in the story and I wasn’t exactly on board with it. It became overly political, it became slightly philosophical, and I realize in retrospect that this was the world that the author was creating but it wasn’t exactly how I thought the story was going to go (or how I would have preferred it to go). I did enjoy the scientific aspects of the story and how the Living Dead were researching to find out what made them the way they are and what made it possible.
’Here was Thomas’s blood before he died, six hours after the bite: perfectly normal. And here was Thomas’s blood after he passed, at the 6:12 mark: dark, viscous, waxy. The transformation had occurred between observations, like the state change in a quantum particle. Like death itself.’
Many parts of this book required a certain amount of imagination. The idea behind the zombies in this book was that “Consciousness was the key.” At one point Stony explains how he once removed one of his toes and yet it still failed to decompose even though it was completely separated from his body. Once the toe was finally off his mind and he had failed to continue checking on it and thinking about it, only then did it finally start rotting and decomposing. I found this to be quite an interesting concept yet extremely hard to understand. Was that the only thing that kept these zombies ‘alive’? That if they had stopped thinking about themselves as a living dead person would they simply cease to exist?
’Where one dead thing ended and another began was largely a problem of perception and definition.’
I was overall disappointed with this book; however, I think that was largely because I was expecting something different entirely. I thought the storyline with the LD ‘governments’ and the plans being hatched by them was pretty strange and largely unbelievable. I had a hard time understanding where all the money came from… how one person could be the sole benefactor of so many. Also, the ending was inevitable but a bit too anticlimactic I thought. I loved Stony in the beginning but I was pretty disappointed at how the rest of the story unfolded.