Nine years ago, Jessie was in a car crash and died. After she was buried, she awoke and tore through the earth to arise, reborn, as a zombie. And there were others-gangs of undead roaming the Indiana woods, fighting, hunting, hidden. But when a mysterious illness threatens the existence of both zombies and humans, Jessie must decide whether to stay and fight or flee to survive…
First, I want to point out that horror is not a typical genre that I read. My coworker and I were talking about book clubs and how she had tried to read this a few years back, but it didn’t work for it then. We decided we would read it together and talk about it.
While horror is not my thing, zombies have been pretty prevalent in my life these last couple of weeks. This is due to rewatching In the Flesh and watching my boyfriend play zombie video games. So I thought I’d give another zombie book a try (I say another because I have tried reading Dearly Departed and that did not go well).
Dust has an interesting premise. It’s told through the perspective of a zombie, Jessie, and she’s been a zombie for a while. She’s current in a gang of zombies that generally stick to themselves. They’ll hunt for animals and occasionally terrorize some humans, or hoos as they call them. Things start to go a little downhill for everyone when their leader, Therese who no one seems to carry for, starts to behavior strangely. She’s stronger, she’s not eating as much, and she disappears all the time. Then Jessie and a couple members of their gang notice humans acting strangely also, eating whatever they can including garbage and stumbling around. Jessie and some of the gang try to figure out what’s going on and whether it’s good or bad for zombies.
Sadly, I found the plot pretty predictable. While there were two things I didn’t see coming, I knew how the overall story was going to go. One of those two things was pretty major near the end and I’m assuming will be a continuous part of the trilogy. If it’s not, I think that would be really weird. It was weird in book one, and I didn’t really like it. It made me wonder what was going on with Jessie. Was she dreaming? Was she hallucinating? Were the people she was talking to who she thought they were or were they just one person? I’m not sure how it all connects. Maybe it would by the end of the series, but you may have already realized I wasn’t feeling this book much and probably won’t be finishing it.
With the characters, I really only liked Linc, a member of Jessie’s gang. Jessie was a little annoying in how much she hated humans. I understand she’s been a zombie for nine years, but her absolute hatred of them wasn’t sitting well. She had lost almost all compassion and empathy for anyone, including her fellow zombies. It was very much a every man for himself kind of book, at least on Jessie’s end. Linc seemed to actually care for Jessie, whether it was platonic or romantic, I’m not sure. Florian was an okay character, but I didn’t get to learn much about him. Renee, Joe, Therese, and all the other zombies annoyed me because they were all for themselves or didn’t know how to do anything themselves.
Another part of this book that didn’t work for me was how focused it was on the decaying process of the zombies. It makes sense for the plot because when Therese starts to act weird, her body stops decaying and looks like it’s healing. So yes, it makes sense that they’ll explain how their bodies are bloating, the maggots are all over their bodies, they droll and spit out embalming fluid all the time, but it just seemed over done. Or maybe it’s again, not my type of genre and it just seemed more gross than informative.
What I am happy about is, whether anyone had real romantic feelings for anyone in this book, there was no romance between the zombies. I know I mentioned In the Flesh earlier, and if you’ve seen that show you know there is romance between zombies and even between zombies and humans, but it worked in the show because I wasn’t reminded of their decaying, bug infested, rotting corpses. In this book I am reminded every other page, and if I had to read about a zombie sticking their undead tongue down a throat covered in embalming fluid, I probably would had gagged and gave up on this (sort of similar to Dearly Departed).
Overall, still not my cup of tea.
1 STAR ~ While I finished this, it was a real struggle.