DUST (The Resurgam Trilogy #1)
by Joan Frances Turner
PUBLISHER: Berkley UK (UK) | Ace Books (US)
RELEASE DATE: Sept 2011 (UK) | Sept 2010 (US)
FORMAT: Paperback, 374 pages
GENRE: Zombie, Young Adult
Nine years ago, Jessie had a family. Now, she has a gang. Nine years ago, Jessie was a vegetarian. Now, she eats very fresh meat. Nine years ago, Jessie was in a car crash and died. Nine years ago, Jessie was human. Now, she’s not. After she was buried, Jessie awoke and tore through the earth to arise, reborn, as a zombie. Jessie’s gang is the Fly-by-Nights. She loves the ancient, skeletal Florian and his memories of time gone by. She’s in love with Joe, a maggot-infested corpse. They fight, hunt, dance together as one—something humans can never understand. There are dark places humans have learned to avoid, lest they run into the zombie gangs.
But now, Jessie and the Fly-by-Nights have seen new creatures in the woods—things not human and not zombie. A strange new illness has flamed up out of nowhere, causing the undeads to become more alive and the living to exist on the brink of death. As bits and pieces of the truth fall around Jessie, like the flesh off her bones, she’ll have to choose between looking away or staring down the madness—and hanging onto everything she has come to know as life… (Goodreads)
DUST creates an action-packed world of zombies and horror, with the author not afraid to shy away from writing scenes of extreme and sometimes sickening violence from the very first chapter. (Warning, the violence in this novel is not for the faint-hearted!)
As the first book in the series it does all it can to grab your attention from the very first page, with the first chapter throwing you straight into the action of a deer hunt with zombie gang, the Fly-by-Nights. However, by throwing you straight into the action the author tries to give you a taster of information so you want to read on, but I’m not sure she really achieves her goal. She introduces many characters and new supernatural concepts in this opening chapter, but I don’t think enough of an emotional connection was made to the zombie gang, so I wasn’t really passionate about reading on.
However, I really liked Turner’s own spin on the zombie legend, describing each gang member’s varying state of decay in graphic detail complete with bugs nesting in their skin. Turner’s zombies don’t need human flesh to survive, but can survive on the flesh of animals (although of course there are those whom prefer the taste of fresh human). I wasn’t so sure about their unique way of communication, with the zombies talking via brainwaves that are connected to music, each gang member having a different mental instrument. They refer to humans as ‘hoos’, with humans living in fear, denying zombie existence despite knowing otherwise.
The book still follows some typical zombie conventions, such as the storyline of a zombie apocalypse, but I thought the author’s plot was interesting. The apocalypse is brought about by a disease that is making the undead human again and making the humans undead. Of course our heroine is the first to figure out what is going on, becoming deeply connected to ascertaining the cause of the disease.
Jessie is a very likeable heroine, strong, confident and determined with her heart in the right place. It was easy to slip into her first person narration, and was very easy to forget that she was only 15. Her interactions with the other characters are interesting, especially when her suspicions set in and she feels unable to trust the others. I particularly loved her strength of character, as she is particularly kickass and yet still vulnerable when it comes to her family (both her human family and her undead family).
A romance plot is somewhat avoided in the novel, with Jessie trying to hold onto her relationship with her zombie man, Joe, rather than a will-they-won’t-they storyline. I didn’t find Joe to be a very likeable character, as he was very much an alpha male trying to control Jessie at every opportunity and dismissing her intuitive speculations about other members of the group. I found Linc to be a much better character, the quiet, sensitive supporter of Jessie along with new group member Renee who is placed under Jessie’s tuition. Jessie also has a particularly strong bond with the eldest member of the gang, Florian, who is very much her wise guide and whose knowledge proves invaluable towards the end of the novel.
I found the rest of the book to be intriguing, but to a certain extent the events began to feel like too much of a convenience, taking away my enjoyment of the plot twists and making them feel more predictable. There were several characters that I felt no connection with at all, as I think there were too many members in the Fly-by-Nights as some weren’t developed to the same level as others. The book still has some shocking moments, with shocking deaths and revelations that I didn’t expect, and the ending leaves you wondering what will happen after this great apocalypse and how the world will move on from there.
This book was better than expected, with the author creating an interesting change to your typical zombie stereotypes. However, some of the events were just too convenient for me and didn’t make the book flow naturally. The ending left me wondering where the series would go from there, so I definitely wouldn’t rule out reading the second in the series.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
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