Dana Fredsti’s Plague World comes on faster than a flu outbreak. Our heroine, Ashley Parker, has been through hell on earth in two previous books (Plague Town and Plague Nation). After discovering she is a ‘wild card,’ or human genetically disposed to survive the Walker Flu zombie outbreak, Ash develops super strength and speed along with only a tiny portion of the human population. For almost everyone else, however, lights are seriously out. Every country in the world rapidly becomes overwhelmed with the Walker flu and the dead rise almost instantly. Parker and her group, the DZN, have been called to help find a cure for the outbreak and use their wild card friends to help save those they can. Like so many zombie books, they must discover the evil organization behind the violent spread of the disease, as well as save those who have been kidnapped by this unnamed organizaiton. Parker’s love interest, Gabriel, has also been kidnapped. Due to the fact that he is partially infected, or a half-deader, the group feels the worst without his access to antiserum.
The Ashley Parker series is not one to read if you have a weak stomach. Constant examples of needles, violent vomiting, descriptions of entrails (and at one point in time half-deader on human sex after vomiting) fill the pages. Plague World is perhaps one of the least violent books in the series, but still had a great deal of unpleasant images, such as dying and dead children. One man cuts off pieces of live women and feeds them to half-deaders. As a reader who does not actively choose to read zombie books, I was terrified from the start of Plague Town (the first in the series) to Plague World. Truthfully, almost no one gets a happy end in this book. They are pulled apart physically, emotionally, or sometimes both. Lovers of the genre and pop culture in general will love Dana Fredsti’s constant references to film and televisions. I found myself clinging to these references as happy buoys in a storm of violent disease. Still, the series is not without it’s merits. Fredsti is a strong writer with a clear concept of where she wants Ashley to start and end up. Much of the book feels personal and many of the characters are thought out enough to feel like family.
The Ashley Parker series is one horror after another. Whether it’s preventing the undead from tearing someone apart to preventing sexual assault from the few humans left alive, the series does not let up. In an age where biological warfare is a constant threat, and Ebola is rapidly becoming a WHO concern, Dana Fredsti’s book provides a lot to think about. Just make sure you don’t read Plague World right before you go to bed at night.
Plague World by Dana Fredsti is available August 26, 2014 from Titan Books.