Read by Cassandra Campbell
Length: 6 Hrs 39 Min
Genre: Zombie Apocalypse
Quick Thoughts: Married With Zombies may not be the most original novel in the zombie subgenre, but with it’s likable characters, laugh out loud humor and realistic romance it’s one I liked a lot more that I expected to.
I know many of you ladies out there may be shocked to learn this, but I am not married. I know, I know… In fact, I’ve always been a bit oblivious about women and romance. More than once, one of my female friends will reveal to me that someone was interested in me romantically, long after it would do me any good to know this fact. This is one of the reasons I think I have never really taken to the romance subgenre, and often find romantic subplots an annoying distraction to the overall story arch of a novel. Often the budding relationships will start with these moments of undeniable chemistry, where the two are instantly and irrevocably drawn to each other, and this is just something I never experienced. Romance and dating for me, takes effort. This week, as part of my month long celebration of Zombie Awareness Month, I decided to take on some zombie titles that I wasn’t instantly drawn to, or had an offbeat or unusual theme. One of the series I had seen at various places on the old internet was Jesse Petersen’s Living With the Dead series. I had sort of written this off as a Zombie Romance, with a comedic tilt. Now, I try to keep an open mind to various genres, but, all too often I look at Romance titles as a bit of fluff. So, based on the title of the book, Married With Zombies, I expected a cute and funny, but sort of fluffy love story between a husband and wife with some awkward martial bickering thrown in for flavor.
Married with Zombies was nothing like I expected, and neither was my reaction to it. Jesse Petersen’s Zombie outbreak novel was a fun, fast paced undead thriller full of lots of action and gore. On some levels its plot was full of standard zombie situations. You had the initial outbreak, scavenging for guns and supplies, a road trip hampered by clogged roadways, head shots, beheadings, tragic decisions, and crazy cultists. None of the situations of this novel were particularly unique. Yet, what made this novel unique for me was its likable, funny and interesting first person voice. I was instantly taken with Sarah, the main character, as she escorted us through her apocalypse with dark humor. In fact, her description of her and her husband David’s squabble with their undead marriage counselor, made me realize I was in for something a bit different. While I have read a lot of accounts of struggles with a zombie, never had the tale’s narrator pointed out to me the colors of the zombie’s nails, or the type of heels it was wearing. Most of the zombie novels I have read, even the ones told from a female perspective would find these sort of detail superfluous, yet, I though having a truly normal everyday female perspective actually enhanced the feel of the novel. Also, I actually found the romantic aspects of the novel added to the story. This wasn’t some sort of puppy dog, instant sexual tension sort of love, but a romance that took work. The concept that being forced to work together to survive a Zombie Apocalypse allowed this couple to put aside some of their pettiness, and figure out what really mattered actually worked for me. Married With Zombies may not be the most original novel in the zombie subgenre, but with its likable characters, laugh out loud humor and realistic romance it’s one I liked a lot more that I expected to.
As narrator, I though Cassandra Campbell was the perfect choice for the voice of Sarah. She reads the story with a wry, understated wit and competent sexiness that suited the character just right. She brought a blend of maturity and whimsy that allowed the humor of the novel to stand out organically, never forcing a joke. She delivers the action is an evenly paced manner that allowed us to experience the grueling, vicious zombie slaying as if we were right there with Sarah and David. Campbell other characterizations work as well, delivering the male voices in a believable tone, and giving each character their own little twist. I think Campbell is especially well suited to first person narration and I look forward to seeing what she does with the rest of the series.