I’m excited. Earlier this week, I got to read ODIUM. It’s the new zombie apocalypse book by one of my favorite chickies, Claire C. Riley. A few months ago, I reviewed her vampire novel, LIMERENCE (you can read my review HERE). Well, ODIUM releases today! You should totally run out and pick up your copy NOW because I freakin loved this book! I don’t real a lot of zombie books because for me a lot of them feel like the same thing over and over again. This book is so not like that. I’ll include my review after the excerpt so you can see what I thought.
Also, Claire is doing a super cool giveaway. If you purchase ODIUM, and post your receipt of purchase on her author page, you are entered for a chance to win a super cool ODIUM themed bookmark. Anyone who posts a link to their review when they have read it will be in with a chance of winning the bracelet, stickers and a bookmark. Even if it’s a bad review. You will find the links to her author page and other places to stalk her at the end of this post.
ODIUM By Claire C. Riley
It’s better to die by the gun than die by the dead. Nina’s life was irrevocably changed when humanity’s dead began to rise. Now, she lives behind the walls. The barricaded cities, erected by the government to protect the remnants of civilization, have become a brutal dictatorship- causing the inhabitants within to starve, steal and claw for survival. Life behind the walls has become as terrifying as roaming the zombie-ridden landscape beyond. Citizens trade what they can to gain food, water, and shelter. Nina has only one currency—her body and she is tired of submitting herself to the greedy hands of the self-proclaimed leaders. An opportunity to escape presents itself in the fate of a young girl named Emily-Rose. For the price of a stale piece of bread, she is set for banishment from the city, and most likely a horrific death at the hands of the deaders. Nina tells herself that it is sympathy and not self-preservation that makes her follow the young girl out of the walled metropolis, and into the overgrown world beyond. Unused to fighting the deaders, Nina tries to scrounge for her survival and against her better judgment, begins to care for Emily-Rose. However, when you have a bread-stealing liability providing your only back up, survival seems even tougher. Nina is forced to fight for their lives, and with every zombie slain, she becomes fiercer, faster – a grim reaper with her not-so-sharp butcher’s knife. Along the path to a safe-haven that might not exist, Nina and Emily-Rose meet Mikey who introduces them to a new life they could not imagine, a life above the ground. However, this new world brings new dangers, and darker shadows than she knew. Nina finds out that the deaders aren’t the only thing to fear beyond the wall. And that fear will not be ignored, or Forgotten.
“Let’s go.” JD moves off round the corner, and we follow him as one and without argument.
There are stains smeared along the walls, handprints and the words help us written in dried blood. I shudder and look at Duncan. He lowers his gaze away from me and away from the words, knowing only too well that he caused this. He could have saved some of these people if he wouldn’t have been such a coward. Instead he locked them all inside and sentenced them to death.
There are the remains of a body or two on the floor, but not enough of either of them remain to be reanimated, and so JD kicks the bloody bones to the side and out of our way. We can hear more growling coming from behind a closed door; we seemed to have riled them all up, by the sounds of it.
“That’s the medic’s room,” Duncan whispers.
I want to shout out no shit, Sherlock! since there’s a big red cross on the door, but JD turns the handle before I can get my words out. I swallow them down and ready myself as the door opens inwards and reveals to us the five zombies within.
They head straight for us with long, hungry growls, as if mamma didn’t give them their last meal before bedtime. Sludge hangs from their jaws and a cold blankness fills their eyes. Their lips peel back to reveal blackened and broken teeth and they push and shove to get past each other and to their meal. Us. I shiver and swallow down the stomach acid that has worked its way up my esophagus and into my mouth.
“I got this.” Crunch steps forward, and with her two knives, she decapitates the first two zombies with relative ease (if there can be such a thing when killing the living dead). JD follows her in, and when a zombie lunges for him, he deals with it with a quick swoop of his scythe down its middle. From skull to stomach it splits, and everything left inside tumbles into a pile on the floor along with its body.
Crunch laughs as she circles another, kicking it away with her foot until it falls on its back. She stands above it, placing a foot on its chest, and drives her blade through its face slowly and with a maniacal glee that sends shivers down my spine. There is something like contentment in her expression as she pulls the blade back out, gunk spewing out of the hole left by her knife.
The last deader has reached the doorway, and Duncan takes aim with his gun.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers as he pulls the trigger and the zombie hits the floor.
Let me start by saying that I don’t read many zombie books. When I say “zombie books” I am referring to books that the main focus is about the zombie apocalypse and that sort of thing. I’ve read books where zombies make an appearance, and I have occasionally read a full on zombie book. There are only 3 or 4 so that come to mind when I think of a zombie book that I actually enjoyed and could really get into. This is one of them. To me, they usually feel repetitive and depressing. In my mind, there are only so many ways a zombie apocalypse can go. Now before you crucify me, read on.
Odium is not a book like the rest of them. Of course it is the same when it comes to the undead trying to eat the living and what is left of humanity is trying to find a way to survive. That is the very basic root of all zombie books and without those 2 elements, you can’t have a zombie book.
Essentially the story in Odium is about Nina and Emily Rose trying to make their way in the new world full of zombies and what few other survivors they can find who don’t just try to kill them on the spot. Emily Rose is a picture of purity and innocence. Nina is the woman who decided to stand up for her when she is being evicted from the so called “protection” of the walled city that shelters them from the zombies roaming the earth. Nina is who I think I would be like if I were to live this story. She is snarky, and hides behind sarcasm to protect her heart. She knows enough to get by and can protect herself in a pinch. She wants to help, but doesn’t want to become attached to anyone ever again. She’s pretty funny really. The story is told from her point of view. We are introduced to several other characters that, for the most part, are the people I would want to meet if I end up in this situation. Of course there are jerks, but life would be too easy if all the jerks conveniently got eaten by zombies. You would think they’d taste better or something and be more appealing to the zombies, but whatever. Just remember that sometimes, there are worse things out there than the zombies.
Claire Riley is a jerk. Just kidding, she’s actually pretty awesome. I say she’s a jerk because she got me so emotionally invested in her characters that I wanted to defend them myself. I wanted things to work out for some of them, and others I would love to have seen thrown to the zombies after being mildly tortured. She almost made me cry! She did such an amazing job of writing these characters that I really felt like I could feel what they were feeling and understand why they were doing the things they did. She lets us see through their eyes and feel their pain. She shows us how they have learned to adapt and appreciate the little things. She teaches us that maybe we as a people should really slow down and think about what we have and how lucky we are to have those things and the people we care about. She makes you think about how you would react and feel if you were in that situation. One paragraph will be the dark evil that is life at that time, and the next will show the light of life that still grows. Not all authors can make you feel so much in so few pages. Jerk.
Her zombie story itself is a little bit different. I don’t want to tell you how, because that will ruin it, but know that this isn’t your usual, oh I’m bitten, I’m going to turn kind of story. Nor is it, oh, I’ll just die before I turn kind of thing either. It was a nice change. Not drastic, but different enough to give it that unique spin that sets it apart from other zombie books.
Aside from loving her characterization, and liking the uniqueness of the zombie virus, something else I liked was one of the ideas for shelter. I’m not telling you what it was, but you will know it when you read it.
At the beginning of the book, Claire also gives you a quick idea of where she got her ideas for the characters. I thought that was a nice touch in giving the reader a little bit more into her head and why she did what.
My ONLY complaint about this book was the ending. It was not, in any way a bad ending. I just didn’t like the placement of the actual end. The story didn’t peter out or anything like that. It just felt somewhat abrupt. I wanted MORE MORE MORE! After I thought about this for most of today, I realized that had she not ended it where she did, she would have had to end it either a little bit earlier, or after the next conflict, and that won’t work because that will take away from the next book in the series. Which I will, without a doubt, 1000% read as soon as humanly possible. If I could stick a straw in Claire’s head right now and suck it out of her brain, I would. But I’m pretty sure if I did that she would be a little bit disappointed in my behavior.
I recommend this book to EVERYONE. Whether you like zombie books or not. This book is worth every second that you spend reading it and then some. I cannot wait for the next one! If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would.
**I was sent a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review and any opinions stated are my own and were not influenced by any outside source.**
Buy it here!
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All About Claire
Claire C Riley, is a mother first, a wife second, but a writer at heart. Her first novel Limerence is a dark paranormal romance for ages 17+ Claire likes to break boundaries with her writing, incorporating an old school style of horror and romance. Sexy and dark. (Think Bram Stokers Dracula, but for the 21st century!) Claire’s current novel is Odium. It is a dystopian post-apocalyptic zombie novel called- Odium, and it focuses on zombies, survival and how it would change us. She has also written a short story, which is a prequel top Odium called Life Ever After. Nina’s story: Part one. It is in an anthology with some other great indie authors named Fusion. So if you enjoy Odium, go and pick up Fusion and get to know a little bit more about the main character. She is currently working on the sequel to Limerence named Limerence II: Mia and a horror thriller novel titled Chance Encounters. Claire is an avid reader of all genres, a book collector, general procrastinator and has a great zombie apocalypse plan in place thanks to a questionnaire she asked her readers to fill in for her.
Stalk Claire (I do!)