Book Review: The Hitchhiker Strain Box Set

cover58140-mediumTitle: The Hitchhiker Strain Series Box Set

Author: Kellie Sheridan

Genres: Horror (Zombies), Fantasy, Young Adult, Anthology

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Description:

END DAYZ

It’s month after the dead first began to walk. The miracle vaccine that was supposed to save us all has failed.

Now, four teens fight to stay alive as a stronger, smarter breed of zombie begins to appear, threatening to end humanity for good.

MORTALITY

After surviving a deadly plague outbreak, sixteen-year-old Savannah thought she had lived through the very worst of human history. There was no way to know that the miracle vaccine would put everyone at risk for a fate worse than un-death.
Now, two very different kinds of infected walk the Earth, intent on nothing but feeding and destroying what little remains of civilization. When the inoculated are bitten, infection means watching on in silent horror as self-control disappears and the idea of feasting on loved ones becomes increasingly hard to ignore.

Starving and forced to live inside of the abandoned high school, all Savannah wants is the chance to fight back. When a strange boy arrives with a plan to set everything right, she gets her chance. Meeting Cole changes everything. Mere survival will never be enough.

DUALITY

The end of everything came quickly, but the road back is endless and full of heartbreak.

After months of only death and loss, Veritas may be the answer everyone has been searching for—a cure. Savannah wants nothing more than to begin rebuilding, but with both the Initiative and the United Militia vying for power, there are no easy answers. Ending the threat for good could mean becoming something far worse than the monsters she is fighting against.

The infected will not go quietly. For Chelsea, the choice to step back into the world of the living is anything but simple. No miracle can erase the memories of the things she saw or the people she killed. While the girl she was struggles against the beast she became, Chelsea must make a choice—succumb or fight.

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Review:

This is hands down, one of the best zombie-based book series I’ve had the privilege to read. The Hitchhiker Strain Series revolves around a small group of teens that are trying to survive the post-zombie infection world. It is a tale of lost futures, lost families, and lost innocence. The stories are told from multiple viewpoints and over a series of months between the first sign of an epidemic, and a year later when the world has collapsed and the first signs of a cure are starting to surface. The books are filled with clean, YA romance (though that is by far not one of the main themes), action, adventure, mystery, and horror.

The characters are wonderfully fleshed out and very human in the way they are written—imperfect, fallible, and struggling to come to terms with the way the world has changed. The real strength of this series, however, is the way the zombies were portrayed, and the way the author used their viewpoints to show the struggle for humanity that everyone—zombies and survivors alike—had to deal with. One of my favorite moments in this series revolved around the heartbreakingly tragic moment when I sat back and tried to imagine what it would be like to be one of the second generation zombies. I sympathized with Chelsea and Zarah more than almost any other character in the series.

The writing itself was beautifully done. The narrative was engaging, clear, easy to follow, and fast paced. I never got bored or confused, and there were very few technical errors.

Overall, I loved the series. I am so incredibly glad I read it, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a good YA Zombie-based series. This box set is going on my keeper shelf.

Book Review: Duality

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This texture may not be sold without permission from the authors.Title: Duality [The Hitchhiker Strain 2]

Author: Kellie Sheridan

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror (Zombies), Apocalyptic

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

The end of everything came quickly, but the road back is endless and full of heartbreak.

After months of only death and loss, Veritas may be the answer everyone has been searching for—a cure. Savannah wants nothing more than to begin rebuilding, but with both the Initiative and the United Militia vying for power, there are no easy answers. Ending the threat for good could mean becoming something far worse than the monsters she is fighting against.

The infected will not go quietly. For Chelsea, the choice to step back into the world of the living is anything but simple. No miracle can erase the memories of the things she saw or the people she killed. While the girl she was struggles against the beast she became, Chelsea must make a choice—succumb or fight.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I’ll admit it; this is one of those books that I picked up and got so sucked into that I forgot to leave myself any notes to fall back on for the review I knew I’d be writing. It was that good.

As far as the technical side of things go, there were very few errors. I found two. Not only is that acceptable for a published book, it’s pretty damned impressive. The narrative was clear, easy to read, and moved at a pretty decent pace. I never felt like it was dragging or moving too fast. Overall? I have no complaints.

As far as the story itself goes… this was a good addition to the series, and a solid continuation of the story set up in the first book, Mortality. Once again, the narrative was split between a small cast of characters, the main two being Savannah (from the first book) and a new player: Chelsea. To be honest, I like Savannah and she works well to tie all the books together, but she definitely isn’t my favorite character. In the first book, Savannah was a bit self-centered and all-over-the-place. She got herself and a lot of other people into danger with the poor snap decisions she made. She waffled on her romances, and in the end, I wasn’t a huge fan of her. It seemed like in Duality at least, she’d settled down and found herself. There was a lot less ‘obnoxious teenager’ to her character, and a lot more of a girl who was just trying to make the best decisions she could and save as much of humanity as she could muster. I ended up liking her more in this book than the first—she’s still not my favorite though.

That distinction fell to Chelsea. One of the best parts of this book and the series as a whole, is the way the author portrayed the zombie characters. In this book, that role belonged to Chelsea Zimmerman—a sixteen year old girl who finds herself trapped and sharing her body with the zombie virus that she refers to as “the beast”. She’s completely awake—aware of what she’s doing as an infected second-generation Zombie, but can do nothing to stop it. She spends her days sitting in the backseat of her mind, keeping a running death toll on how many survivors she’s killed and doing her best to keep the zombie part of her brain from walking itself into dangerous situations. Seeing the post apocalyptic world from a tragically aware zombie girl’s point of view was both fascinating and equal parts horrifying.

And that’s the great thing about this book, and indeed, this series: it tells the very human story of what the world is like after a zombie apocalypse… but it doesn’t restrain the point of view to just the human survivors. The author delved into the heartbreaking idea of what would happen if a person became a zombie, but was fully aware… just unable to stop themselves.

If you’re looking for a good zombie series, look no further. This book was fantastic, the series is probably one of the best zombie themed series I’ve read.  There are some elements of romance (though not enough to make me squee in joy), horror, friendship, thrills, action, and adventure. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good zombie read. This one is going on my keeper shelf.