“State of Decay” brings something unique (and very welcome) to the zombie apocalypse genre: a kick-butt heroine who doesn’t need anyone to survive on her own. This one grabbed from the first sentence: “Despite what you’ve been told, the Apocalypse doesn’t begin with fire raining down from the heavens, nor does it begin with the human race falling down on their faces in supplication before a triumphant god. No, the sounds of the Apocalypse are much more terrifying than that, and I should know … I’ve heard them.”
That’s the tough, no-nonsense voice of Melody, who was raised by a military father and given more training on survival than most teenage girls. When her world violently falls apart, she’s brave enough to keep going, and even spends two years in the woods by herself, getting by on her strength, her wits, and her intelligence. But it’s not until she teams up with another band of survivors, especially Jude, that she’s really tested—and it’s time to venture further out into the world and see who (and what) is out there.
This is an awesome horror novel (and that’s putting it mildly). In addition to being well-written, it’s packed with action, tragedy, suspense, and even a little romance—the flirtation between Melody and Jude sizzles. The zombies become even more horrifying because the author, Peggy Martinez, takes the time to make them more than shambling monsters—through her descriptions you can’t forget that they used to be human, down to the bloodthirsty child zombies in Elmo pajamas (I also really liked how the zombie plague started in this novel—very unique). Martinez has a talent both for creating compelling, likeable characters and capturing details that put you right into the world with Melody. This is a great read for fans of the horror genre generally—even if you’re not into zombie novels, you will probably love this one anyway.