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.

This Box Set Includes:

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: Mortality

review-cover-mortality

Title: Mortality [The Hitchhiker Strain 1]

Author: Kellie Sheridan

Genre: Horror (Zombies), Young Adult, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

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.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I was a little hesitant going into Morality by Kellie Sheridan. I was just coming out of End Dayz, which was not at all what I expected, and stepping into book one of the series… I was cautiously optimistic. After all, the prequel was well written—it just hadn’t been what I’d expected. There was an audible sigh of relief when I found Mortality wasn’t another bunch of letters, but an actual narrative story.

All was not well in the world, however. The book had this odd habit of switching back and forth between present-day post-apocalyptic drama with Savannah, and then after two or three chapters, switching to Zarah, who was dealing with the initial outbreak some months before. To say that I was confused about where the story was heading would have been, to put it mildly. I was probably on chapter 15 before I realized that Zarah’s chapters weren’t written from Savannah’s POV. I honestly thought they were flashbacks to begin with. As you can imagine, this lead to all kinds of misconceptions and confusion.

My stupidity and inability to read chapter headings aside, the stories of the two girls themselves, were great. The writing was moderately well done. The sentences flowed easily, it wasn’t bogged down with a ton of exposition, the sentence construction was easy to follow, and the girls’ stories were engaging. My only nitpick would be that there were a few typos. Not big ones. Usually a letter left off a word, a space missing, or more commonly: a missing line break between actor and speaker when they were not the same individual. None of these errors were book-breaking though.

I loved the characters in this book—Zarah and Savannah especially. Each had their own very distinct set of thought processes, emotions, and personalities. Zarah was in love and a little doe-eyed about life in general, but she wisened up a lot as the story went on. She became practical, frustrated, observant. Savannah started out the story pretty gung-ho and fiery, but throughout the story learned to be more cautious and to stop and weigh her options a little. The dichotomy between the two girls and their struggles in the post-apocalyptic landscape was fascinating. I got sucked into their stories right away, and as the book wore on, I was avidly waiting to see where their stories would eventually meet up.

I really don’t want to give away any spoilers to this series—it was that good—but I honestly can’t praise it enough. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up liking this story, and I’ll definitely be moving on to read more in this series. Thank goodness the second book is already sitting on my Kindle waiting to be opened. If you’re looking for a good character-driven zombie story (and probably one of the best zombie transition sequences written) you should definitely check out this book. I highly recommend it—and it’s odd little prequel.