The World Without Crows by Ben Lyle Bedard, 401 pages, May 16 2017, Genre: Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.
Review by Leigh Holland.
Remember how excited we were when Hollywood started making good zombie movies and tv shows, and suddenly, we couldn’t get enough of zombies? Well, until they beat us to death with them and we were finally double tapped out on them. One morning, there we were, carrying our zombie lunchbox, wearing our zombie t-shirt, groaning at the kitchen table as we slowly raised the milk-laden cereal spoon to our lips, glancing at the zombie poster on the wall. And we realized, ironically, we’d gorged ourselves on zombies. We’d lost that excitement we felt at the beginning. We put ourselves on a diet, rationing our zombie intake.
Prepare to feel that familiar sense of excitement again as The World Without Crows raises it from the dead. I thought I could never love a serious zombie horror novel the same way again, but this book proved me wrong. For a topic that’s been done to death, Bedard reinvigorates it with complex characters in a world gone mad. This story isn’t so much about what happens to humans when there are zombies in our world. This story is about what happens to humans when there is no humanity in our world.
We follow Eric, an overweight teenage boy who has lost his parents to the Brazilian disease, Vaca B. Vaca B caused the apocalypse, the zombie scourge. Society fell apart. Once a D and D loving guy with friends and aspirations of kissing Jessica, after Vaca B, Eric is no longer as carefree. Since winter freezes the zombies, he decides to travel to Maine to an island. He meets new people on his journey. Some of them are good, some are dangerous. Some he’d die or kill for. And, of course, there are zombies. Eric must fight nature, other men, and monsters in order to survive and reach his destination. There are many characters in this tale and not all of them make it. My favorite side characters include John Martin and Birdie. John Martin is an older man who shows Eric how much people need each other and why that’s a good thing. Birdie is a little girl whom Eric looks after and grows to regard as dearer than his own life.
Zombie horror, I thought I was over you. I thought we’d broken up. But it turns out, I just can’t quit you. I’d recommend The World Without Crows to anyone who loves zombie horror and/or post-apocalyptic tales.
You can find this book at The World Without Crows.