Time of Death: Induction by Shana Festa

Time of Death Induction by Shana Festa(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

When no one or nowhere is safe, where do you go to escape the monsters?

In a few short days, 37 year old Emma Rossi’s hard work will finally pay off. She will don her cap and gown and graduate with a degree in nursing, but not before she loses her first patient and is confronted with a new reality. In Cape Coral, Florida, a storm approaches. The dead are coming back to life.

And they’re hungry.

Infection ravages the Eastern Seaboard with alarming speed while attempts to contain the spread of infection fail. Within days, a small pocket of panicked survivors are all that remain of civilization. Fighting to survive the zombie apocalypse alongside her husband Jake and their dog Daphne, Emma comes face-to-face with her worst nightmare.

Relying on snarky wit and sheer determination, she is forced to commit atrocious acts to protect her family and avoid joining the ranks of the undead.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.]

I love zombie novels and I’ve read quite a few of them in the past two years or so, ever since Mira Grant’s Feed sparked my appetite for them.  Every author has a different take on the zombie apocalypse and while some are more creative than others, most of the ones I choose to read are generally pretty good.  Time of Death: Induction is no different.

What makes Shana Festa’s novel really stand out is the fact that she really focuses on the emotions her characters go through as they lose almost everything they once held dear.  Emma and Jake go from place to place, scavenging and desperately trying to find other people that can help them survive but like you’d expect, not everyone is very altruistic during the end of the world.  All they want to do is find a place where they can hunker down and survive but of course nothing is simple where zombies and people are concerned.  Seeing their emotional and psychological shifts to adapt to the harsh new world they live in was actually very fascinating.  Jake in particular took things pretty hard while Emma retained a lot of the original softness of her character until certain events forced it from her.  At times their relationship because strained—extremely strained—but you don’t really doubt that they love each other and will do anything to keep the other person alive and relatively safe.

Since Shana Festa chooses to focus on the more human side of the zombie apocalypse we never really get to see the origins of her zombies explained.  We know that the government tried to contain the spread and that things moved extremely fast with dozens of supposed patient zeroes rising from their supposed deaths in hospitals and morgues.  Since Emma was a nurse we got to see quite a disturbing scene as one such patient died before her second rising but we never really get into the science of the whole thing.  That bothers me in some books but not in Induction in part because that’s not what she chooses to focus on.  The main focus of the story is on survival and how the characters are adapting to a horrific changing world; they don’t really care about the cause of the zombies so much as how they can avoid getting eaten by the zombies.

The plot didn’t seem to be all that original at first but things quickly got going.  Wherever you see typical zombie apocalypse tropes, Shana Festa tries to invert or subvert them in order to make them her own.  This is in part because the main driving force of the novel is the characters, both main and secondary.  The actions of all the characters have consequences that are not always immediately seen but are made painfully clear given time.  Zombies are not crafty or smart but it’s the stupidity of people that allow them to overrun camps because people choose to conceal bites or don’t follow safety precautions.  Really, the one thing this book makes clear is that it’s almost safer to have a smaller band of people you can trust implicitly rather than a huge community where you don’t necessarily know everyone.  Will Emma and Jake find a small band of people they can trust?  From the huge cliffhanger ending of the book it’s really hard to tell and that’s why I am so eager to read the second book.

If you like zombies but tend to favour a more human-based approach to a zombie apocalypse, this is definitely the book for you.  The characters are believable and sympathetic and they’re not always perfect but in the end you get the feeling that everyone is just doing their best to survive.  The zombies are terrifying and there are lots of plot twists, so you really can’t ask for more in those areas.  Basically, if you like zombies, give this book a try!

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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