AUTUMN (Autumn #1)
by David Moody
RELEASE DATE: Oct 2011
FORMAT: Paperback, 271 pages
GENRE: Horror, Zombies
In less than twenty-four hours a vicious and virulent disease destroys virtually all of the population. Billions are killed. Thousands die every second. There are no symptoms and no warnings. Within moments of infection each victim suffers a violent and agonizing death. Only a handful of survivors remain.
By the end of the first day those survivors wish they were dead. Then the disease strikes again, and all hell breaks loose… (Goodreads)
AUTUMN is another series which started its life as an online serial. This seems to be an increasing theme happening in zombie fiction at the moment. Both the excellent As the World Dies series by Rhiannon Frater and Allison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux also began their life online.
What I found really compelling about this novel is the fact everything unfolds in what feels like real time. From the very first day when the virus hits we follow the few survivors through their disbelief, anger and fear. It was refreshing to get a complete story rather than just be told that a virus caused the walking dead, but to actually live it alongside the characters as it happens was chilling.
Moody has a brilliant way of building the suspense and tension. At first the virus spreads and the descriptions of hundreds of thousands of deaths was completely terrifying and is one of the best openings I’ve read.
Another noise behind her made Emma look back over her shoulder. The other shopper had collapsed face-first into a display rack, sending loaves of bread, rolls and pastries crashing to the ground. He lay on his back in the middle of the aisle, coughing, holding his throat and writhing in agony.
Outside, there were bodies everywhere. Emma stumbled onto the street, shielding her eyes from the blinding sun. Hundreds of people had fallen around her, and every face she looked into was ashen, each person’t lips bloodied and red. They had all suffocated.
The few survivors then watch as two days later many of the decomposing bodies rise up again. As the story moves forward the zombies who are at first completely harmless begin to change…
There are many different characters we follow, and we view the world through their eyes in a third person narrative. Personally, I much prefer a first person narrative as it’s easier for me to really connect with the characters. I think this is because I get to hear their introspective thoughts. Because this is all third person, I didn’t get to know the characters as much as I would have liked, but I did enjoy reading about them.
The aspect I did have a problem with was that this seemed to be a world without any knowledge of the word zombie or what it symbolised. A world without zombie fiction or movies. And I say this because when the dead started to rise, not one character mentioned zombies, when the dead came at them in hordes, decomposing and yet animated, still nobody mentioned zombies. I appreciate that some authors may prefer not to use the “z” word, trying to create something new, but to me it felt a little strange, as though I was reading about a parallel world but one that had no knowledge of zombies what so ever.
However, I can honestly say that even with the few niggles I had with AUTUMN I found it very difficult to put down. By the midway point, I was invested in the characters and their story and wanted to know what they were going to do, how they were going to survive and why did all this happen. The climax was heart in throat stuff and I couldn’t wait to pick up book two.
AUTUMN is a really good zombie novel with a refreshing style that had me captivated. A few issues here and there, but overall a great read and one I would recommend to horror and zombie fans alike. There are lots of questions left unanswered, but that just leads us nicely onto book two, Autumn: The City.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
BUY THE BOOK