Book Title: Between Life and Death – Savannah Slays, Book 5 in the Between Life and Death series
Author: Ann Christy
Publication Date: November 4, 2018
Available on: Amazon as an eBook and as a paperback
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Savannah is a college-age student, hungover from the previous night and is late for class. That’s a bad combination to start out with when the zombie apocalypse is unleashed on the world and no one knows it until it’s too late! Working with her fellow students, she uses her skills to take charge and try to figure out just how to survive. The strategies she uses to do so and whom she allies herself with form the core of the novel and how they must navigate this new world they find themselves living in.
While observing Savannah utilize her formidable skills, we watch her develop over time as well. Her intelligent and step-by-step problem-solving skills are a boon for this dangerous new apocalyptic landscape. Yet, she is also able to drop her guard, make close friendships and develop deep trust as well. It’s these kinds of thoughtful details and more that always make me look forward to a novel by this author.
From living in a deserted dormitory to being sheltered by the military to finding their own path, each situation Savannah and her friends find themselves in is suspenseful. Each step they take could be their last if they’re not careful and smart about how they approach a problem. Over time, they learn the rules of survival and gain crucial knowledge and experience with each harrowing encounter. Their intelligence and ingenuity are some of the real highlights of the story being told. After reading this, I felt like I had learned all the necessary knowledge to survive the apocalypse!
The zombies they face are not the usual ones you might find in a typical horror novel. The origins of these are intriguing, based in science and researched impeccably to form something familiar yet different than what I’ve read before. And of course, it’s not just the zombies our main characters should be worried about, it’s their fellow humans who don’t play well with others that also present a serious threat to them.
It’s nice to see how the brother-sister relationship develops over time between Savannah and Charlie. At first, it’s is one of a more protective nature but over time, we see how they learn to operate at two equal parts of an apocalypse-surviving duo. Since the novel takes place over several years’ time, I enjoyed watching this relationship get nurtured and mature into a powerful partnership.
Every couple of chapters, the point of view switches from Savannah to Charlie and then back again. This is a wonderful narrative device that allowed me to see the story from two very different sets of eyes while also providing some great insight into who they really are. We see the different traumas they each endure and how they try to provide hope to one another.
I’ve read all of the stories in the “Between Life and Death” series and continue to be excited with how the author keeps creating interesting characters to get to know better as well as the deeper characterization she imbues them all with. This is one of her core strengths, making these characters so flawed yet so real, their humanity shines through.
I feel like I know them and have developed a real friendship with them over a period of many years. Of course, this means that if someone we care about dies in the novel, it hurts deeply too. And the author is also good at doing that, going dark and hitting me in the gut with some of what they all go through, surprising me at every turn.
While this serves as a prequel to the author’s zombie trilogy called “Between Life and Death”, it features a complete story on its own and doesn’t require any knowledge from the other books in order to enjoy this one. But fair warning, after reading this, you will be tempted to read the rest of the series (if you haven’t done so already) to learn more about the fascinating universe this author created.
Prep your zombie apocalypse bugout bag and make sure this book is in it. It’s another terrific and terrifying adventure into a zombie apocalypse unlike any you’ve ever read.
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Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about stories by Ann Christy include “Strikers – Outlands“, “The Ways We End: Six Tales of Doom“, “And Then Begin Again: Six Tales of Hope“, “Girard The Guardian – A True Vampire Novel” and “Bridge Across the Stars – A Sci-Fi Bridge Original Anthology.”