People love to read about zombies.
Basically, people love zombies.
The problem is most zombie fiction is very similar to a zombie – rambling about with no clear direction, cause or goal.
This creates another problem. With so much really bad zombie fiction lurking about, the really good zombie fiction tends to get lost in the horde.
Enter The Last Bastion of the Living: A Futuristic Zombie Novel by Rhiannon Frater. (For the rest of this post I’m going to call the book The Last Bastion.)
I stumbled across this book on a “Best of 2012” lists. Most of the zombie fiction I read falls into the category referenced above, so when I saw a book from the genre on a best of list, I found myself looking forward to reading it.
Glad I did.
The basic premise of The Last Bastion is not far removed from that of many similar works. Humanity as we know it is on the brink of extinction and zombies are to blame.
The Last Bastion starts us here and quickly catches us up on the current state of affairs. The last 2 million or so people on the planet have taken refuge in a secure corner of the globe intent on rising up to defeat the undead.
However the grand survival plan has failed. The remaining humans are running out of time. So a secret, last-ditch effort is made to give humanity a chance to survive.
From her Frater takes us on a rather remarkable journey.
She creates an engaging story line with compelling characters. Her dialogue is fresh, crisp and focused. In weaving her plot Frater makes use of the most visually descriptive writing I can recall. Not only does she drop the reader into each scene, she practically reaches into your head and presses the play button. You can hear the characters in your head, you can see the action, you can sense the zombies as they move towards you. It is almost like watching a movie as you read the book.
Frater doesn’t stop here. Her plot structure naturally creates multiple levels of conflict. The tension is compelling and draws the reader ever deeper into the tale. Frater accomplishes this as effortlessly as most people will walk down the street.
The reader will find themselves heading down one path and then suddenly realizing, quite by surprise, the literary tidbits you’ve been collecting have not only enhanced the plot but have set you up for a surprise twist that makes complete sense and also unlocks a better, deeper understanding of the story.
Now, for all of you out there who say “I can’t read zombie fiction because it is too singular.” (I’m certain someone has to say that…) The Last Bastion is not just a zombie book. It has a wonderful and unique romantic component. It is also a coming of age tale and at its core it’s a page turning work of mystery and suspense. Action, oh yes, there is action. Lots of action.
That being said, while it isn’t just a zombie book, it is never the less a zombie book and Frater doesn’t let this go unnoticed. She handles the zombies in a very unique and interesting way.
For me it’s extremely rare to find a new writer with such a keen and unique voice. During the past few days, since I’ve finished The Last Bastion, I have been describing it as a fresh voice in a genre that has been sorely.
I look forward to reading more of Frater’s work – fortunately she has a number of other full length titles.
I encourage people who’ve not read much zombie fiction to read The Last Bastion; however, I make this recommendation with fair warning. Fair warning that Frater sets the bar quite high for this genre. Works of this level are the exception rather than the rule.
Fans of zombie fiction will enjoy The Last Bastion. I would also recommend it to fans of the romance, mystery, suspense and thriller genres.
While you’re here, if you would like to read an excerpt from my book do that here. You can also buy your own copy – they are available through the website with free shipping. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to canine charities.