Review and Excerpt of Life Ever After by Claire C. Riley

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There is a book of short stories out called Fusion: A collection of short stories from Breakwater Harbor Books’ authorsI have not yet read the other stories, and really only got the book so I could read the story by Claire C. Riley. It is the prequel to ODIUM, the zombie themed book I reviewed a few weeks ago. You can see that review HERE if you missed it. I’m sure the other stories are lovely but I wanted to make sure you all knew about the story I read because for a limited time, Fusion is FREE on AMAZON, SMASHWORDS and B&NLIFE EVER AFTER can be read without having read ODIUM!

 

 

fusion

 

Fusion: A collection of short stories from Breakwater Harbor Books’ authors

 

Featuring gripping Independent authors from around the world, FUSION is the first collection of short works published by Breakwater Harbor Books. Contributing heart-pumping tales of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Crime are seven stories that will thrill you, rivet you and some will even make you sleep with the light on.  Authors from across a wide variety of genres, Dee Harrison, Ivan Amberlake, Claire C. Riley, Scott J. Toney, Mindy Haig, Cara Goldthorpe and C.M.T. Stibbe.

 

 

The Sliver of Abilon A Mirrorsmith Tale – ‘and you thought it was safe to look in the mirror?’

 

Diary of the Gone Without a girlfriend, bullied by the Principal’s son, and haunted by the dead, Callum Blackwell thinks his life can’t get any worse. But he’s wrong.

 

Life Ever After. Nina’s Story: Part one.When the dead begin to rise, it’s time to put your differences aside and run!

 

NovaFall When the Meteor falls, the essences will come, forging flesh and planetary souls as one.

 

Cybilla. To claim his Muse, one man must find the gate between the mortal and the immortal worlds.

 

Capturing PerfectionAn artist’s tale of love, loss and beauty in Renaissance Milan

 

Until The Ninth Hour Until a man loses his daughter to a serial killer, until he loses his best friend, until he is down on his luck, Darryl Williams must put all thoughts of retaliation out of his mind.

 

 

My Review

 

Life Ever After (Odium Prequel)

by Claire C Riley

 

Breakwater Harbor Publishing
234Pages

 

 

INTENSE!!!

 

This short story is found in the collection of short stories called Fusion: A collection of short stories from Breakwater Harbor Books’ authors. There are 7 stories by 7 authors in the book. The rest of the stories were ok, but I was really only reading it because I wanted to read Life Ever After. I read the rest of them, just because you never know when you will find a new to you author.

 

This review focuses on Life Ever After, which is the prequel to Odium . I loved Odium, and I really like Claire C. Riley’s writing style, so I knew I would at least enjoy the story. I did more than enjoy the story; I finished it within an hour because I was so excited while reading it that I just couldn’t stop!

 

While Odium is the first in the Odium series,  Life Ever After gives us a peek inside Nina’s life before we met her leaving the “Sanctuary” in Odium .Throughout Odium, we are given hints into who Nina was before the outbreak, but we don’t really get all the answers we are looking for. Life Ever After provides us with some of those answers. We find out why Nina is still so attached to the memory of her husband, Ben.

 

This story is very quick. It flows so well that it’s over before you know it. It almost feels too short, but since I read Odium first, I pretty much know what happens from the end, so I don’t feel like I was left hanging. I think the main reason I wanted to continue was because of how much I enjoy Claire Riley’s writing in general. The intensity throughout the story is insane. You can almost feel the adrenaline that the characters are feeling. There are moments of humor and sarcasm, which is something I enjoy because to me, it makes the characters feel more realistic.

 

It starts with Nina telling us about the distance that has come between her and Ben. An argument over a pair of shoes, a smart ass comment here, a  dirty look there. We’ve all been there at some point or another. When Nina goes to the grocery store to prove to Ben that her pretty new shoes are practical, she doesn’t notice anything amiss. As she is leaving the store, there seems to be some sort of disturbance, but she is eager to get home, so she ignores it and heads home.

 

Soon after, she notices that her neighbors are acting odd. So she stays inside. Ben arrives home and explains to her that there has been an outbreak of some sort and it is spreading like crazy. People are being killed so they need to get out of town and head to his family’s cabin retreat. Life Ever After follows Ben and Nina, and is told from Nina’s point of view.

 

 As Ben and Nina attempt to escape from the Hell that has become their town, they see just how desperate their situation really is. They are encountering zombies at every turn.  They are forced to work together and begin to recognize how much they love each other. It was nice to see a couple that can accept that they’ve each made mistakes, and remember that there was a reason they fell in love to start with instead of just giving up.  They could have just gone their separate ways. Ben could have taken off and left Nina to fend for herself, but not only did he come home, but he brought her a pair of “practical shoes, a pair of blue Doc Martins. Perfect for the zombie apocalypse!

 

Nina as a person starts out fairly shallow. She seems more interested in material things than in making her marriage work. She doesn’t seem to have the concept of teamwork. She starts out sounding pretty insecure in her general life and abilities. It almost seems like she is just going through the motions of life rather than actually enjoying what moments of joy that she can. From the beginning of Life Ever After through the end of Odium, there is an obvious change in Nina’s personality. She shows a level of maturity and growth that is very important to her character role.  Many books have characters that, to some degree, never change throughout the series. I mean, they usually change their mind about something, or are proven wrong and end up coming to terms with it, but there is no real growth as an actual person would experience. I think this is a definite strength in Claire Riley’s writing style, and I really enjoy characters that are realistic while living in a fictional or “impossible” setting.

 

Claire Riley really does just have a way with words. She makes them earn a place in her story, and shows them who is in charge. She tells a story that would give the average person nightmares, if not develop daytime fears. Her word choice does more than just tell the story, it creates a whole new environment in which they flourish and grow into a story that will make you want to bring a flashlight to bed at night. You know, just in case.

 

I absolutely recommend this story to anyone who enjoys a good zombie book, and even to new zombie readers. I’ve only recently really started enjoying zombie stories, and a big part of that is due to Claire’s book, ODIUM. You don’t have to have read ODIUM first, as long as you read both of them before ODIUM 2, which hopefully will be released soon. Never fear, dear reader, I will let you know as soon as I know when the release day is scheduled!

 

Pick up this book for a quick read if you don’t have time to really read a whole book right now. I think you will be pleasantly surprised! Then when you have more time, you can read ODIUM!

 

5 fangs

 

 

 

 

Life Ever After Excerpt!!!

 

Twenty minutes later and with my feet killing me, I push the trolley through the exit of the supermarket, glad that it’s finally over and done with. If only everything in my life was as simple as that.

A short, sharp, scream behind me makes me jump and I turn to look and see what’s happening. People are running to help a woman who’s on the floor. I’m pretty sure there’s blood around her, but I can’t be sure as a group of people have crowded around her. There’s a huge commotion with people pulling and tugging at her, they must be doctors I guess. I hate the sight of blood, and with a shrug I turn back around and carry on to my car. It’s a silly little silver sports car, and I’m not even sure how the hell everything is going to fit in it, but with a squash and a squeeze, and some precarious balancing, it finally does. Even though I probably squish some of the groceries when I close the boot lid.

I slip my shoes back on as I climb into my car, grab a bottle of water from one of the bags and take a large gulp. I look up as an ambulance turns up, and as I drive away, I see a small group of people running from the store.

What are they running from?

I stop at the lights and watch through my rear view mirror in morbid fascination. Someone’s covered in blood and another person is crying. People seem to be in a frenzy, bumping into each other and falling over.

Shit, what the hell’s happened?

The lights change, but I’m transfixed with the scene behind me. There’s a struggle between two or three people. They push and shove each other, hands grabbing at one another’s clothes. More people are running past them, but no one seems to be attempting to stop the fight. More screams have broken out and I turn in my seat to look out of the back window, my brown eyelinered eyes narrowing into slits as I watch.

A honk from the car behind me has me moving my arse, and I wave my apologies to the driver and drive.

The streets are deserted on the way home, with virtually no pedestrians about. The world seems to have stilled on its axis. I can’t explain it, but there’s something not quite right. Perhaps it’s because it’s the middle of the day and everyone is working?

Which is exactly what I should be doing, not fucking shopping, I think again angrily.

 

 

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